French skipper Olivier de Kersauson and his crew aboard the 90-foot trimaran, Geronimo, were expecting to pass Hawaii Monday on an attempt to set a new record for the 4,481-mile passage from San Francisco to Yokohama, Japan.
Geronimo crossed the start line under the Golden Gate bridge just before 8 p.m. Wednesday in 5- to 10-knot southwesterly winds, the team reported on its Web site. De Kersauson is attempting to beat Steve Fosset’s May 1997 record of 19 days, 15 hours, 18 minutes, 9 seconds, for that passage.
“It’s a complex course, and therefore an interesting one,” de Kersauson says on the site. “The Pacific is governed by three or four different weather systems, making some passages rather challenging. Unlike the Atlantic, we aren’t very familiar with these waters.”
Barreling along at about 20 knots Sunday, Geronimo was about 200 miles off Hawaii, Larry Rosenfeld, the team’s navigator, reported on the site. De Kersauson hopes to shave about a week off Fosset’s time.
Last November de Kersauson set a new Los Angeles-to-Honolulu, Hawaii, trans-Pacific record, making the passage aboard Geronimo in 4 days, 19 hours, 31 minutes, 37 seconds. The previous record was set by Bruno Peyron in July 1997 aboard the 86-foot catamaran, Explorer.