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11 March 2003, 10:42 am
Geronimo Holds On - For Now
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Jules Verne Trophy
Round the World

In the 24 hours to 03:00 GMT on day 59, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran covered 340 nautical miles at an average speed of 14.18 knots.
Geronimo retains a lead of 91 nautical miles over Orange, but as they approach the Tropic of Cancer, Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew have run into the slack winds characteristic of the tail end of the trade winds. Worse still, forecasts of the weather now awaiting the crew are not hugely encouraging either.

Here's what the skipper had to say on the subject:

"There's no way through. We're in the calms and in front of us we have an anticyclone and a depression. If we skirt around the first, we'll find ourselves in the head winds of the depression. Instead of helping us, it'll block our way. If we leave the anticyclone to port to find the best route to the depression, the whole of it will be against us. Today, there's been no feasible opening to the north-east. It's impossible to leave it to port by heading for Spain. The only other option is to leave it to starboard, even though we know that that's not much good either. As long as we've had some margin in these hostilities, we've been able to get out of it pretty well, but that way offers no margin for manoeuvre at all. We must make it to a given point, and whatever we do this will be very difficult if things stay as they are. In the North Atlantic, the weather coverage is very comprehensive. We're in a very heavy traffic area, both for aircraft and shipping. The inescapable conclusion of all this is that the meteorological information we're getting is pretty reliable. Going around the outside of the Azores lengthens the route, but we don't have a choice. Once we've taken that route, a small northerly depression would block us there too. To find the right winds, we'd have to go as far north as Ireland. So the question doesn't arise, this isn't a good route. The result is total blockage. It's been the same story all the way from Cape Horn. Nothing's changed, but we're excelling ourselves in this depressing situation. It's more like a lottery than sailing!" News Editor
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