Olivier de Kersauson and crew believe they made the right decision to skirt the high pressure zone. They are now in building winds on course for South Africa
News from Olivier de Kersauson’s Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran this morning shows that by the end of last night, they had gybed once more and were on a heading towards South Africa.
The wind had finally moved round to the north-north-west as predicted by the forecasting models. Now sticking rigorously to one particular isobar to skirt around the high-pressure area, the 11-man crew found the southerly edge of the anticyclone and were on their way to the Southern Ocean.
Day 13 was spent rounding the high-pressure area, the point-to-point distance covered was only average (368.55nm), not helped by the progressive shift and slackening of the wind. The current record holder (Orange I) covered only 277 nautical miles on her day 13, leaving Geronimo still significantly ahead.
In the early hours of today, the northerly wind picked up a slight easterly component and a few extra knots, allowing the trimaran to make for the south-east at over 20kts. Despite the extra distance involved, the decision to keep outside the high-pressure area seems therefore to have been the right one and has been rewarded with a higher average speed.
The forecasts as far as the Cape of Good Hope are good. Only the wind direction, which will continue to move round to the west, offers any threat to Geronimo’s progress. A following wind full astern would mean continual gybing to avoid being forced too far south and into the threat of ice, which can occur as far north as 40° south on the same longitude as South Africa. The challenge will therefore be to maintain the best possible point-to-point speed within a narrow corridor between the anticyclone to the north and floating ice to the south.
33°20S – 30°59W
368.55 nautical miles in 24 hours, at an average speed of 15.36 knots
Distance to Waypoint 1 (35°S-24°W): 360 nautical miles