Five days after crossing the startline, the Doldrums have forced the average speed of Olivier de Kersauson’s 110ft maxitri Geronimo below 20 knots

Geronimo: Jules Verne record attempt – Day 5
1300 GMT – 22 February 2002
16.13N, 22.34W
2,151 miles covered

When Olivier de Kersauson’s 110ft trimaran Geronimo reached the Cape Verde islands off Senegal, the wind that had carried her so far and so fast backed unexpectedly, forcing the massive trimaran to tack.

“The wind that was more easterly earlier on has come round behind us,” said OdK. “If we had continued directly towards the equator, it would have made us slower. It means that we now have to tack, which in turn means we have to cover around 50% more distance, which has brought our average speed down to below 20 knots.”

An ocean-racing multihull travels fastest when broad reaching. If the wind is directly astern, it will travel more slowly than if it were to broad-reach, sailing the angles. This means sailing further but keeps the speed up and Geronimo needs speed to get through the Doldrums.

“We will be working with our weather consultant, Pierre Lasnier, to try and understand what is happening,” said OdK. “The situation is much less clear-cut now than when we left Brest.”

OdK himself is finding the wealth of contradictory weather information flooding into his laptop less than helpful. “I’m getting a bit fed up with the unreliable information I’m getting now. But that doesn’t come as any surprise. It’s like the old days when no one had any serious data. We’re going to have to manoeuvre the boat a lot before we get through this, and there’s nothing very new about that.”

Follow Geronimo’s progress over the weekend on OdK’s slightly confusing website and click on the pop-up.