Olivier de Kersauson is waiting for the wind to subside so he can bring his big tri back alongside for modifications, but solutions aren’t simple, he says

Although now back in Brest after a steering failure off the coast of Brazil, Olivier de Kersauson’s giant trimaran has been prevented from coming alongside by gale force winds. As he waits to bring the boat safely back to her marina berth, de Kersauson says that naval architects Marc van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prévost, his own project team as well as hydrodynamics engineers are working ‘flat out’ to solve the problem, aided by a video that his crew shot through an inspection hatch near the rudder stock while they were at sea.

“As soon as Geronimo can come alongside – probably before the end of this week – the rudder blade will be removed and taken to the boatyard for ultrasonic and deflection testing,” he said. “It’s not simple, because the problem occurs at moderate speeds rather than high speeds. Clearly, there is nothing very clever or safe about sailing under such conditions.

“The boat now has 20,000 miles on the clock and is fast, effective and occasionally breathtaking. Géronimo can do things far better than any boat we’ve ever come across before. Quite apart from this problem with the steering gear, which meant we could not continue in safety, I still believe that, despite all our experience on previous boats, we still have a lot to discover and learn about this one.

“If we are to continue consistently with our programme, we must pin down any modifications we need to make and conduct all the tests necessary to prove those modifications. Géronimo is a very advanced boat and although we are breaking new ground all the time, it is true to say that we still have things to learn in certain areas. This is a prototype and there will be technical solutions that can be applied within a reasonable period of time.”