Geronimo arrived back in Brest Harbour, France yesterday having been forced to turn back on their Jules Verne Trophy attempt. Geronimo will undergo repairs to rectify the mecnhanical problem that forced them to turn back.
As he waits aboard Geronimo for the bad weather to subside enough to come alongside, Olivier de Kersauson is fixing no dates. "We have a problem involving the ventilation and cavitation of the rudder. Geronimo is an exceptional boat and must be treated as such. What we have is a complex problem with the steering gear, and this is no time to apply temporary solutions or DIY botches that could risk much more serious damage in the future".
The naval architects, hydrodynamics engineers and the entire Geronimo team are working flat out to solve the problem, aided by a video shot at sea through an inspection hatch near the rudder stock.
As soon as Geronimo can come alongside - probably before the end of this week - the rudder blade will be removed and taken to the boatyard for ultrasonic and deflection testing. "It's not that simple, because the problem occurs at moderate speeds rather than high speeds. Clearly, there is nothing very clever or safe about sailing under such conditions. The boat now has 20,000 miles on the clock and is fast, effective and occasionally breathtaking. Geronimo can do things far better than any boat we've ever come across before. Quite apart from this problem with the steering gear, which meant we could not continue in safety, I still believe that, despite all our experience on previous boats, we still have a lot to discover and learn about this one. If we are to continue consistently with our programme, we must pin down any modifications we need to make and conduct all the tests necessary to prove those modifications. Geronimo is a very advanced boat and although we are breaking new ground all the time, it is true to say that we still have things to learn in certain areas. This is a prototype and there will be technical solutions that can be applied within a reasonable period of time".