Olivier de Kersauson’s 110ft trimaran Geronimo has slowed as she nears the Equator

After a fantastic start to her Jules Verne record attempt, Olivier de Kersauson’s 110ft trimaran Geronimo has slowed. She covered an incredible 2,210 miles in the first four days of her attempt, more than twice the distance achieved in the same time by OdK’s previous trimaran and the current Jules Verne record holder, Sport Elec.

She passed the Cape Verde islands yesterday and is now less than 400 miles from the Equator. Late yesterday, the breeze dropped to 13 knots from just east of north, slowing the giant tri to a mere 13 knots. At 0200 this morning, she was making 17 knots in 20 knots from the northeast and OdK can expect the breeze to continue to veer and drop as he approaches the Doldrums.

OdK has opted for a dual watch system with longer shifts: “We decided that each watch should be on deck for six hours and then have a six-hour rest period,” said OdK. “This is a much more effective rota than the more usual two or three-hour watches. With six hours rest, you can actually sleep for at least four hours, which means eight hours sleep in every 24.”

The skipper works outside the watch system, spending much of his time poring over weather files and consulting with his router. “Working this way means there are always six of us available for any manoeuvre, which should be sufficient.”

With router Pierre Lasnier’s advice, OdK will look for the narrowest section of the Doldrums, usually further west, before heading southwest towards the Brazilian coast. This will keep him out of the Benguela Current, which flows north along the western coast of southern Africa, and drop him into the south-flowing Brazil Current. It also takes him into more reliable southeasterly tradewinds and will help to speed his track round the honeypot of the South Atlantic high pressure system in the Horse Latitudes.

Once past the mouth of the River Plate, Geronimo will start to make some easting while heading south to find the strong westerlies of the Roaring Forties where her speed record-breaking potential will finally be revealed.

Follow her rapid progress over the weekend on OdK’s slightly confusing website www.grandsrecords.com and click on the pop-up.