Dalton Talks

Ed Gorman talks to Grant Dalton, the skipper of the world's quickest boat over 24 hours
Grant Dalton, the five-time Whitbread legend, believes the current generation of "maxi-cats" preparing for The Race will be superseded by even bigger boats - if and when the event is run for a second time, perhaps in 2004. Having initially approached his 110 ft Gilles Ollier-designed catamaran Club Med with understandable trepidation earlier this year, Dalton has now sailed 7,000 miles in the machine with the bikini-clad model depicted on her bow, and has rapidly come to terms with her raw power. In an interview with MadforSailing he reflected on how far he and his crew have come in a heady few months which included setting a new 24-hour distance record. "It's interesting," said the former skipper of Merit Cup in the last Whitbread, "when the guys first started at the beginning of May, we literally spent the first one or two days just looking at the boat and wandering around it going 'Holy shit'... then you get on and start sailing and doing your job and it just becomes a boat and it just becomes a programme. "My feeling is that if The Race was run in three years time these boats would be 20 ft bigger," he added. "Once you get these boats under control which will happen in time, you then move on. Club Med doesn't feel big because it's very light and very easy to sail, so we feel that if you're happy with the engineering, you'd be able to build bigger already." Dalton and his crew, which includes former Silk Cut sailors Neal McDonald and Jason Carrington and most recently Jan Dekker who has just joined the boat, set the new distance record of 625.7 miles during their first proper passage between Cadiz and San Salvador in June. But Dalton says they felt all along this was far short