Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew are still stuggling in the light airs to reach Ushant
Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew aboard Geronimo were, last night, trying to escape from the flat calm which left them stranded near busy shipping lanes off La Coruña. News from the boat this morning shows that despite hope of an established wind system kicking in, nothing has materialised leaving the crew to slog it out on the final 150 mile stretch to Ushant.
Pierre Lasnier looked back on this unusual meteorological situation: “A small depression took Geronimo as far as the Azores, but sadly that was the end of it, since it was prevented from travelling any further north by a continental anticyclone from Scandinavia which settled over the North Sea. Having covered the British Isles, it has since spread as far south as the Bay of Biscay off Brittany. At the same time, the flow of air from the east coast of the USA has petered out at 30° West near the Azores. Geronimo was caught between the two. The interruption of this system is very unusual and has lasted a long time. The masses of air involved have totally different densities and the subtropical air that carried the boat as far north as the Azores is very different again. This is why the crew has not been able to find a way out. Every time Geronimo started to make progress, she was stopped by a ridge of high pressure, as happened yesterday evening, with the result that she has not been able to break free from these two systems. It’s been the same ever since Cape Horn, apart from a small subtropical depression between 30° and 40° South near the Punta del Este, which produced winds of 20 to 25 knots, but the rest of the time, they have had to put up with winds of less than 13 knots. In my experience, this type of situation is rare, especially the destabilisation of the normally permanent trade winds. Given the situation, the boat has made exceptional speed.”