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12 March 2003, 09:49 am
Day 60 - The Final Countdown
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Jules Verne Trophy

In the 24 hours to 03:00 GMT on day 60, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran had covered just 278 nautical miles; an average speed of 11.60 knots point-to-point.
Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew have used the time spent in this new area of calms to make a few running repairs: "We've replaced part of the mainsail runners and cut bit of the rail to release the bearings. Didier directed operations like a genius. These are the kind of jobs it's fairly easy to do while there's no air," explains the skipper stoically.

But since early yesterday morning, Geronimo has managed to break free from this area of slack winds and has picked up speed again by catching the south-western edge of the vertical anticyclone now blocking the Atlantic at between 25° and 55° North (from Mauritania to Norway). The wind blowing clockwise around this anticyclone should, together with the slow eastward movement of the high pressure area, help the trimaran make good progress in the coming hours. Her average point-to-point speed has now risen to over 16 knots, thanks to between 16 and 18 knots of north-westerly wind. This is accompanied by a long swell from the North, right on the track of the trimaran.

At 03:00 GMT today, the trimaran was 540 nautical miles from waypoint 2, at 35° North, 36° West. On her 59th day at sea, Orange was 445.57 sea miles from this point, at the end of an excellent day in which she covered 518 nautical miles. The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric crew are therefore slightly behind Bruno Peyron and his men, but hope to take a more direct route than Orange. Weather forecasts are changing radically every half day as analysts struggle to anticipate the movements of the three anticyclones and three depressions now making their erratic way through the North Atlantic. So it remains as impossible as ever to forecast the date or time when Geronimo will pass the Créac'h lighthouse at Ushant. News Editor
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