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14 March 2004, 07:49 am
A Stealthy Approach
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Credit: Geronimo Media

Jules Verne Trophy

The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran is now closing on the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope, which she should cross on Sunday.
Day 16 ended with a total of 523 nautical miles covered at an average speed of 21.80 knots, putting the 11-man crew 657 nautical miles ahead of Bruno PEYRON'S record.

After averaging over 25 knots on her first full day in the Southern Ocean, her speed has now stabilised at over 21 knots. The decision to stay north of the Antarctic convergence for reasons of strategy and safety is having its effect. Geronimo is now inside the high pressure region, where wind speeds are falling. The trimaran's average speed for Day 17 will therefore be significantly lower, but Olivier de Kersauson is holding firm to his resolve to avoid seeking speed at the risk of finding himself amongst icebergs. Many of the crew still have clear memories of when the trimaran Charal lost a float in a growler field in 1993 not far from their current position. And anyway, sailing amongst such hazards means reducing speed to such an extent that any advantage is lost. Wise counsel therefore prevails and the hierarchy of priorities remains unchanged: bring home the men first, then the boat and, finally, the trophy.

The anticyclone they have skirted around through the Southern Ocean is not expected to move any further south; its edge is currently at between 42 and 43° South, just north of the trimaran's track. The high pressure area should move off east towards the Indian Ocean, where it is forecast to split in half and disperse.
Geronimo Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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