Geronimo crosses the Equator
LONDON, England -- Geronimo, the world's largest trimaran, has crossed the Equator into the South Atlantic after 9 days and 7 hours at sea.
Geronimo picked up a 14 to 15 knot breeze as soon as she passed into the Southern Hemisphere and is making much faster headway in her record attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy.
French skipper Olivier de Kersauson has had a depressing four days trying to break free of the windless zone of the Doldrums that trapped the 34 metre (110 ft) trimaran.
During this time, the four-day advantage the crew had built up over the current record in the early part of the attempt dwindled down to just two after covering just 79.9 miles at an average speed of just three knots in the last 24 hours.
Kersauson is trying to break his own non-stop round-the-world 1997 record -- 71 days, 14 hours and 22 minutes.
Geronimo's difficult passage through the Doldrums could provide another challenger the opportunity to snatch the record.
Bruno Peyron's catamaran Orange suffered a mast breakage just 28 minutes after she set off, forcing him to delay the start of his attempt.
The delay means Peyron will face rougher weather when he does start but with Kersauson's attempt suffering in the Doldrums his final time may be beatable by Orange, a 33 metre (110 ft) catamaran.
Peyron needs to start again by early March if he is to avoid the worst of the Southern Ocean winter. Kersauson left on the March 6 in 1997 when he set his record.
For his latest attempt, Kersauson set out on February 18 from Ushant, off the coast of Brittany in France and in the first 24 hours, he and his 13 crew covered 511 miles at an average speed of 21.29 knots, putting them well ahead of schedule.
Kersauson's 1997 Sport Elec was considerably smaller than Geronimo at 27 metres and even at this early stage of the race, Geronimo has a speed advantage that could significantly improve on the 71-day record.
Despite losing time in the Doldrums, the French skipper told CNN he expected to pick up the south east trade winds once Geronimo moved south of the Equator.
The Jules Verne race is an open challenge involving a non-stop dash round the world from the English Channel, round the Cape of Good Hope, through the seas around Antarctica, past Cape Horn and back to the English Channel.
To beat his own Jules Verne record, Kersauson must cross the finish line off Ushant before 15.46 GMT on April 30.
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