Grands Records: Geronimo and the crew are both running like clockwork
At 1 p.m. today (French time), Geronimo was approaching the Cape Verde islands on her way to the equator. “Everything’s going very well on board. The boat and the crew I have the honour to captain could hardly be running more efficiently. The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Schneider Electric watches run like clockwork every six hours” said Olivier de Kersauson in his latest radio message. For the past fifteen hours, Geronimo’s crew have been kept fully occupied changing course. “Conditions are not clear-cut and rather slack. The wind is making between 16 and 21 knots, but it’s blowing from the north north-west, and is therefore right behind us. We’re having to tack, which means that we’re also having to travel half as far again as we should”. It’s a rather frustrating situation for Geronimo’s skipper. “I’mspending a lot of time analysing rather imprecise weather data. Pierre Lasnier is doing an enormous amount to help and is sending us all the data he can, but it can be 10 or 15% adrift of the actual conditions here. So, we continue to check the boat’s heading and speed, but the conditions are extremely variable and aren’t at all easy to read”. Olivier might complain a bit about the temperamental wind, but he can also see the funny side of it. “Despite all that, it’s quite interesting. We’re having to sail the old way… when the wind turns, we gibe. It’s not possible to have a fixed strategy. The faster the boat, the more skill and helmsmanship are required, especially in variable winds. With the consistent easterlies we would normally expect in this region at this time of year, we would be averaging over 20 knots. But we’re 3 to 4 knots slower than that and having to travel much further”.
Nevertheless, the captain’s voice cannot conceal his good mood. “We’ve all sailed at least 14,000 miles together on Geronino. We had a small lull of a few hours during which Xavier Briault climbed to the masthead to change a halyard and check the mast. The whole thing was done without slowing the boat, which shows just how efficient this crew is and how well its members are working. We hardly need to speak when we change course, because everything’s working so well”.
The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Schneider Electric trimaran will have passed the Cape Verde islands by this evening.