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5 March 2003, 10:02 am
Day 53 - Geronimo Falls Slightly Behind
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Jules Verne Trophy
Round the World

On her 52nd day at sea, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran covered 402 nautical miles at an average speed of 16.73 knots.

Now though, Geronimo has reached an area of ocean where the winds are uncertain in strength and direction, the sky is full of black clouds and violent squalls are interspersed with lightning flashes: this is the Doldrums, also known as the intertropical convergence zone. This is the place where the trade winds from the Northern Hemisphere meet those created by the tropical high pressure areas of the Southern Hemisphere.

Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew are now having to cope with some very challenging sailing conditions. Although the easterly wind is well established, it fluctuates between 6 and 10 knots in strength and is regularly crossed by northerly squalls travelling at between 35 and 40 knots.

These 45° swings in the wind mean that the crew is constantly having to reduce and increase sail. This situation is due partly to a relatively low airflow, resulting from the fact that the trade winds are not fully established.

Nevertheless, Geronimo should cross the Equator tomorrow morning, at which time she will undoubtedly have fallen slightly behind the current record. Last year, Orange took 11 days, 3 hours and 48 minutes to cover the distance between the Equator and Ushant. News Editor
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