Grands Records: The Geronimo Express
At 2 p.m. (French time), a little under 60 hours after crossing the start line, Geronimo had reached Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.
This express trip to the equator has delighted the crew of the giant trimaran. “It’s been a fantastic trip so far, with winds between 30 and 37 knots. Geronimo has been making between 23 and 27 knots without us having to drive her hard at all”, said Olivier de Kersauson in his latest radio transmission. “We’re going to wait until tomorrow before putting on any more sail. After three days, the crew will be completely organised and able to give their maximum performance… there’s no point in piling on the stress too quickly, because they have to find their own feet. At the moment, the Schneider Electric watch is taking over and the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young watch is going below. There’s a bit of a traffic jam, but everyone’s in great spirits”. It’s a comment that comes as no surprise when you compare Geronimo’s time with that of Sport Elec in 1997. At the moment, Geronimo is travelling twice as fast!
“The boat handles well on the wind, but her acceleration demands careful helmsmanship and anticipation – she reaches 30 knots in no time at all. At the moment, the wind is coming and going as we pass the islands and the sea’s a bit unpredictable, but we’re still driving well. Last night, the sea was incredibly beautiful as the moon rose. There’s always something magical and fascinating about the way the sea shimmers on such nights. Now though, we’ve got blue skies, sun and it’s warm”, said Geronimo’s obviously delighted skipper.
“The days ahead are going to be busier for us. There’s already a race within a race developing between the two watches, with each trying to outdo the other. The current score shows Yves Pouillaude’s team (the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young watch) ahead, with 8 miles more than Didier Ragot’s (Schneider Electric) watch”, laughs Olivier de Kersauson with obvious pleasure. “You’ve got to make the most of the moment”.