Time is running out for Olivier de Kersauson's crew as the tradewinds continue to elude them

This is the final section of their circumnavigation, but for Olivier de Kersauson’s crew on the 110ft trimaran Géronimo, the Jules Verne record is in grave danger of wriggling out of reach. Frustratingly elusive winds continue to plague them as they sweat towards the deadline. Today they are 900 miles south of the Equator and to beat the record must re-cross the line at Ushant before 1136GMT on Sunday 16 March.

For now, they are 400 miles ahead of Bruno Peyron’s time in Orange which is, in theory, a day, give or take. But the story is a bit more complicated. De Kersauson’s crew have been straining to make 300 miles a day for the last week, and the immediate prospects don’t look any better. This is in an area where they could have expected some of their highest speeds and where Bruno Peyron was making 500-mile days. With those differences, the margin between the two times quickly becomes paper-thin.

All Géronimo’s crew can do is concentrate on coaxing every fraction of speed from the boat and hope for better luck at the Doldrums and in the North Atlantic, where Orange was handicapped by a fractured mast step bearing. But there is noticeably less confidence in the reports from Géronimo and more emphasis on the ‘exceptional existing record’.