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23 February 2003, 01:54 pm
Geronimo Passes the Falklands
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Jules Verne Trophy
Round the World

The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric crew passed the Falkland Islands yesterday morning. After a day of transition for Geronimo with little sustained wind (blowing between 10 and 12 knots), resulting in just 349 nautical miles covered.

Still driven by an irregular breeze, Olivier de Kersauson's trimaran is now back on the direct route making an average of almost 15 knots. The weather pattern in the South Atlantic remains complex and as Geronimo's skipper explained during yesterday's bulletin: "It means we have to pay close attention to every aspect of boat trim to get the most out of conditions that are not good by any stretch of the imagination".

The new "Cape Horners" haven't yet had the time to celebrate their rounding of the famous cape, but for Yves Pouillaude (the Cap Gemini watch captain), this was the third time and for Didier Ragot (the Schneider Electric watch captain) and Marc Le Fur their second. For Geronimo's skipper, this was the sixth rounding of Cape Horn.

The Falklands' group covers an area of 12,170 km2 and is made up of two main islands and innumerable smaller ones. The totally uninhabited archipelago was (re) discovered in 1690 by English navigators, who claimed it for the crown and gave it the name of the Falkland Islands. The first permanent settlers arrived in 1764, in the form of a French garrison and a group of fishermen from St Malo, who preferred the name of Malouines for their home. Although the Falklands became an English colony in 1892, Argentina continues to claim the islands as national territory.

Olivier de Kersauson has already rounded Cape Horn on five previous occasions:

· 1973: The Whitbread Round the World race on PendDuick VI with Eric Tabarly.

· 1975: The FT Clipper Race on Kriter II

· 1988: The single-handed Round the World race for multihulls on Un Autre Regard

· 1994: The Jules Verne Trophy on Lyonnaise des Eaux

· 1997: The Jules Verne Trophy on Sport Elec

· 2003: The Jules Verne Trophy on Geronimo
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