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Giant squid slows Geronimo

Geronimo lost about an hour while the squid clung on.

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BREST, France (CNN) -- A giant squid entwined itself round the rudder of the trimaran Geronimo, forcing an unexpected slow-down for the crew.

Geronimo is attempting to win the Jules Verne Trophy for being the fastest non-stop yacht around the world.

Crew member Didier Ragot said the crew were prepared to fight the squid if it had managed to climb aboard.

It appeared to be about 10 metres long with tentacles as thick as Ragot's arms -- "plus the waterproofs," he said.

"We were all ready to do battle with boathooks and knives, but as soon as we slowed the boat down, it obviously decided that it would be better to let us go while it had the chance."

The squid was "jammed between the top of the rudder blade and the hull and then it sent two of its tentacles down to the base of the rudder blade and grasped it," Ragot said on the team's web site.

"It shook the whole boat and it was rather worrying at the time. If it had managed to climb on board, we'd have had to offer it lunch or something to keep it from lunching on us."

There was minimal damage to the boat but the crew lost about an hour when they had to slow the boat down.

"We were doing 24 knots at the time, so we probably lost at least 30 miles by slowing down to just 11 knots," Ragot said.

Geronimo is into its fourth day of the attempt. The current record stands at 64 days, 8 hours, 37 minutes and 24 seconds.

Meanwhile, British skipper Ellen MacArthur is less than 24 hours away from officially putting her crew on standby to begin their own attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy.

MacArthur's 14-member crew will sail Kingfisher in the bid which could start as early as Thursday morning from France, weather permitting.

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