Geronimo will be back in the race in just a few hours from now

The major repairs required by Geronimo the Capgemini/Schneider Electric trimaran will soon be finished in record time and she’ll be back in the Oryx Quest race in just a few hours from now.

Olivier de Kersauson commented: “It’s surreal. Thanks to our project director Louis Noël Viviès and the team he has brought together, we have saved a colossal amount of time and managed to build an amazing repair system. Everything was ready for us and standing by to start work before the boat was even on her mooring.

“At the same time, it’s much better for us to get going than to stay here in Fremantle – if it weren’t, then perhaps we should being looking for a new job. This crew has worked very hard to take part in the Oryx Quest, so what happened to us is absolutely mortifying at a personal level.”

Geronimo is nearly ready. Once the inner and outer skins have been resealed, all that remains is the process of curing the laminations. This is no easy task with the boat in the water. The process requires an even temperature over the entire area. Luckily the weather in Fremantle is dry and warm (30°C). De Kersauson added: “If we can get the temperature up to 80°C consistently, then it will take five hours; if we only manage 60°C, it’ll take 13 hours. Everything depends on getting this curing process right and the length of time that takes.”

Local weather conditions will not allow Geronimo to leave port during daylight hours. It was 3pm local time when Olivier de Kersauson was having this conversation with his control centre in Brest (8am French time). “There’s 35 knots of wind in the harbour, which will drop at about 8 tonight. If the curing process runs quickly, we’ll set sail at dusk, but if it turns out to be slow, we can still wait until morning and slip our moorings before the thermal wind returns.”

When asked about rejoining the race, Olivier de Kersauson sketched out three possible scenarios. “Either the weather system we get will be worse than the rest of the fleet is getting – the nearest of which is 1,500 miles away and the furthest 3,000 miles – and therefore we’ll fall further behind. Or the overall weather situation is much the same and we can catch up by a few hundred miles. Or – and this is my favourite scenario – we get better weather and can make a real attack on the number three boat.”

The crew has now completed a full check-up of the trimaran. “Once we get back to sea, we’ll probably be the best maintained boat in the fleet.” On the other hand, one crewmember will have no choice but to leave at this point. Antoine Deru broke a kneecap during a manoeuvre at sea. “He’s had some excellent medical care ashore. If he stays on board, he’ll probably have a lot of ongoing problems, but if he stays here, he’ll be fine in a few weeks. Didier Ragot will take over his watch, which will, of course, change the distribution of roles on board. We’ll now have two five-man watches, with me outside the watch system.”