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French multihull Geronimo sets sail for the Oryx Quest 2005

by Judith Schunke on 30 Dec 2004
The maxi trimaran Geronimo leaves Brest for Doha to race in the Oryz Quest 2005 © J. M. Liot / DPPI / RivaCom

Quest International Sports Events (QISE) today announced that Olivier de Kersauson's Geronimo and her escort Ocean Alchemist have left Brest, France to head for Qatar and the start of the Oryx Quest 2005. The event, the first ever around-the-world sailing race to start and finish in the Middle East, is open to the world's largest and fastest sailing boats. Geronimo, the current Jules Verne record holder, will compete against three other giant multihulls when the race gets underway from Qatar on the 5th February, 2005.

In order to comply with the race instructions, Geronimo must reach the port of Doha, the capital of the Gulf State of Qatar, by the 26th January 2005. The 6,000 nautical mile passage will include passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, transiting the Mediterranean Sea as well as the Suez Canal, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Sea of Oman.

"We are in contact with the Egyptian authorities to negotiate the passage of the two boats through the Suez Canal," said Louis Noël Vivies, Geronimo's team manager. "Unfortunately we have been classified as pleasure craft which isn't much help because it means that we will have to stop each night as only cargo ships can sail at night. Instead of one-and-a-half days, it could take three days or more."

It's estimated that Geronimo and Ocean Alchemist will reach Port Said at the entrance to the Suez Canal in approximately ten days. The trimaran has a crew of twelve while Ocean Alchemist, a large motorised powerboat, has six sailors on board. The latter can be used to tow Geronimo in the event that there is no wind. It's estimated that voyage to Qatar will take between 23 and 25 days, depending on how long it takes to get through the Suez Canal.

In Doha, Geronimo's crew will join Brian Thompson's Qatar 2006 (formerly known as Club Med and Maiden II), Tony Bullimore's Daedalus and David Scully's Cheyenne (formerly knows as PlayStation).

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