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27 February 2003, 09:42 am
Geronimo Expects Difficult Approach to Equator
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Jules Verne Trophy
East Coast of Brazil

Geronimo, in her 47th at sea, could at last benefit of stronger and more consistent winds, allowing her to cover 412 miles, averaging 17,16 knots.
Despite these rather good conditions of navigation, the crew expect a very difficult way to the Equator, as a large zone of calms is closing Geronimo's route.

Geronimo was this morning 1848 miles from the Equator (by 30°w), this is 424 miles ahead the current record held by Bruno Peyron.

Geronimo's position at 03:00 TU
· 28°40S - 41°48W
Distance covered in 24h : 412 miles
Average speed over the last 24h : 17,16 knots

After an average day yesterday, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran has been averaging nearly 20 knots off the Brazilian coast for the past few hours, making the most of some reasonably sustained westerlies.

"It's allowing Geronimo to get a little further east. The waves are disgusting, but at least we're making good headway. The trouble is that there's an enormous area of calm to our north. There may be a tiny mouse hole that we can get through, but we're not entirely certainly where it is. We're wondering how we can get out of the bloody awful position we find ourselves in. Nevertheless, when I look at the route to the east that I we could have chosen, I can see that we couldn't have got through, so that makes things a little easier to accept, but it still comes down to a choice of two poor routes and let's hope that we've chosen the least bad. We're pretty certain that we haven't missed any potential opportunity and that there's really nothing else to be done.

Making for Cape Town to pick up the St. Helena high along the coast of Africa would have added around 2,000 kilometres to the route. It's true that what we have isn't great, but it could have been worse. It's really making the best of a bad job, but we're doing everything we can to keep our spirits up. Thank goodness that the boat is really fast in these slack winds and filthy sea conditions. Geronimo has a lot of talent, which comes from a combination of here elegance and sophistication. This trimaran can succeed where other boats would be in trouble. But for all of that, we are not travelling at the speed we would like",
comments the skipper.

Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew are having to make many manoeuvres to cope with frequent wind changes and the arrival of storm systems. "Sail changes are being made quickly and with good humour. We're in a very precarious weather system. Geronimo still has some good wind at the moment, but it's impossible to say if that will hold. We hope that we can stay in this small thalweg which is heading east. It's good for us, because it allows us to set a heading 25° off the route and get further east. We've already managed to stay with it for about fifteen hours and make some pretty good progress.

You get the impression of gliding on a current in an airless pocket. It's a pretty good feeling to be able to strike the right balance in this small wind system, but I don't know how long it is going to last",
concludes Olivier.
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