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16 March 2003, 10:35 pm
Heartbreak at the Final Stretch
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Jules Verne Trophy
Round the World

Geronimo continued to make slow progress in the Atlantic today and as the record time set by Orange expired at 1136GMT today, she was 680 miles shy of the Ushant finish line drifting in near calm conditions.
Olivier de Kersauson commented: "We're completely taken aback by the extent of this meteorological catastrophe. On any voyage around the world, you can expect to have periods of calm lasting 20 or 24 hours and, of course, it's normal in the Doldrums… but at this point of the course! There's not a breath of air. Our anemometer shows 3 knots, and then only just, and that's only because it's at the mast head and therefore more affected by the swell than it would be anywhere else!"

Having set sail with 60 days' of food (including five of them fresh food days), their supplies are beginning to let them down. "There's not a great deal to eat, but we still have our survival rations. It's not terrible... it could be worse!".

Some reactions on the achievements and problems of the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric crew:

Florence Arthaud, co-founder of the Jules Verne Trophy competition: "Whatever the result, Olivier will have completed a magnificent round-the-world voyage and demonstrated his usual mastery over every technical and human issue".

Bruno Peyron, holder of the Jules Verne Trophy: "I share their disappointment, because I know only too well the amount of energy, effort and investment that goes in to a project of this scale. They really don't deserve it, because they've had a fantastic voyage and one of the best performances ever seen in the Jules Verne Trophy. They've also demonstrated the huge potential of the trimaran".

François Cuillandre, Mayor of Brest: "The city of Brest is one of the oldest and most loyal supporters of Olivier de Kersauson's record voyages. But this loyalty goes beyond the actual results of his record attempts. Brest has a long tradition of welcoming great navigators and I've no doubt that the people of this city will be giving a unanimous, passionate and heart-felt welcome to the eleven warriors of Geronimo".

Geronimo is expected to arrive in Brest on or after Tuesday 18 March, since the current weather position seems unlikely to change significantly before 20 March. News Editor
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