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14 January 2003, 09:57 am
Giant Squid Attacks Geronimo
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Geronimo's Crew© DPPI

Jules Verne Trophy
Round the World

The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Schneider Electric trimaran had a most unexpected encounter off the Straits of Gibraltar when a giant cephalopod became tangled up around the rudder blade.
It took over an hour before the creature released its grip and allowed Geronimo to resume her rapid progress south.

Didier Ragot aboard commented"It was a giant squid. The tentacles were as thick as my arms plus the waterproofs. Amazing! To begin with it was jammed between the top of the rudder blade and the hull and then it sent two of its tentacles down to the base of the rudder blade and grasped it right the way around at fence level. I saw it astern after it had let go, and I reckon it was about 10 metres long: absolutely enormous. It's the first time I've ever seen one so big: it shook the whole boat and it was rather worrying at the time. If it had managed to climb on board, we'd have had to offer it lunch or something to keep it from lunching on us.

"We were all ready to do battle with boathooks and knives, but as soon as we slowed the boat down, it obviously decided that it would be better to let us go while it had the chance and that's exactly what it did. Our first concern was whether or not it had damaged the boat. We slowed the boat immediately to check for damage, but luckily, the only problem was a small amount of water in the bearings.

We lost about an hour, or maybe an hour and a quarter. We were doing 24 knots at the time, so we probably lost at least 30 miles by slowing down to just 11 knots".

The wind moderated in the middle of the day, but didn't prevent the giant trimaran from maintaining an average speed of 20 knots… and covering 485 nautical miles on day 2.

At 03:00 GMT today, Geronimo's position was 27°07N, 19°13W. At that time, the Schneider Electric and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young watches had covered a total of 503 nautical miles in 24 hours at an average speed of 20.96 knots, taking them just south of the Canaries. The world's largest trimaran continues to make for the Equator at 22.4 knots. News Editor
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