The Race Update

Club Med arrives in Portugal, the sistership launches Thursday and Team Philips still examining the rig

Wednesday October 11th 2000, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Club Med on the Thames last FridayCode One, the second of the giant Gilles Ollier catamarans and the sistership to Club Med, is to be launched on Thursday 12th October. The maxi-catamaran will be skippered by Loick Peyron, brother of Bruno, the man who dreamed up The Race. The launch will take place at 1700, from the Multiplast Composite Yachts Yard in Vannes, Brittany, France. The boat should have benefited from many of the lessons learned by Club Med, launched back in May, and already holder of the fastest 24 hour distance run and the east-to-west trans-Atlantic record.
Club Med has completed the UK dates on her tour, after the 50th Birthday party for her sponsor and the appearance on the Thames sailing under Tower Bridge. The team headed out of the Thames and back down the English Channel on Friday evening last week, doubtless taking a little more care with the shipping lanes than they did on the way up. Skipper Grant Dalton had been fined in the Southampton Magistrate's Court for travelling the wrong way through the Dover Strait traffic management scheme last Thursday.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency brought the action, after a Dover Coastguard officer watched Club Med's performance on radar. The big cat was almost certainly not helped by the fact that she has an active radar reflector. We can only imagine the reaction of both Coastguard and watch officers aboard merchant shipping, as they saw a large radar beep zig-zagging its way through the shipping lanes at 20 to 30 knots. It would be like seeing someone swerving back and forth across the central reservation on the motorway at 70 mph. It's reported that several ships took avoiding action.

No such drama appears to have overtaken Club Med on the way down to Portugal. And after blasting across the Bay of Biscay to avoid the incoming depression that has been battering the UK for the past couple of days, Club Med arrived in Vilamoura in Portugal early Tuesday morning. Dalton is reportedly happy with the new bow design. Following the loss of the sacrificial crash box, the bows were redesigned and reinforced in a six week refit and repair programme in Vannes. The new more rounded bow shape is supposed to be easier to steer through the water.

Club Med will spend the next six weeks training from Portugal in the Atlantic. The team has new sails coming, including some North 3DL sails, and expect to spend much of the time testing. Meanwhile, back in Totnes, nothing has changed in the Team Philips' situation - or at least nothing they are telling us about. Following their early return from sea trials with a problem at the base of the port mast, Composite engineers continue to inspect the damage and devise a repair plan. After that, Pete Goss will announce the boat's new schedule.

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