With the illusive Trade Winds, and Doldrums on the horizon Olivier de Kersauson and crew have a tricky time ahead
After 47 days at sea, Geronimo has finally succeeded in crossing the 30°South parallel, off the coast of Brazil, and has passed the anticyclone now covering the Atlantic at this point.
The crew’s next objective is to reach the permanent Trade Winds as quickly as possible, although these do not seem very active at the moment. Much attention is also being paid to the Doldrums, the extent of which looks worrying between now and Friday, although they are forecast to disappear almost entirely after that. This strange area of nothingness expands and contracts like a breathing lung, but since Geronimo suffered from an expanded Doldrums on her southward passage, she should, statistically at least, have a better experience on this return leg.
The loss of their solent means that the crew must avoid sailing close-hauled and search for better angles to the wind that will allow them to use their still-serviceable gennakers. Since this morning, these large downwind sails have allowed Geronimo to travel faster than the wind speed after a night spent tacking upwind under staysail alone. If the Doldrums really have shrunk to nothing by the end of the week, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric crew may find themselves clocking up fast days of surfing driven by the trade winds – something they have not been able to do since the Indian Ocean.
32°52S – 42°35W 200.25 nautical miles in 24 hours, at an average speed of 8.34 knots
Jules Verne Trophy holder
37°29S – 25°31W 298 nautical miles in 24 hours, at an average speed of 12.41 knots
Distances to the Equator
Geronimo: 2,096 nautical miles
Orange (Jules Verne Trophy holder): 2,272 nautical miles
Cheyenne: 1,331 nautical miles