The Race reviewed


Innovation Explorer finishes and Mark Chisnell takes a step back
Innovation Explorer safely crossed the finish line just before midday yesterday, completing The Race in 64 days, 22 hours and 32 minutes - 2 days 15 hours and 36 minutes more than Club Med. These are the only two boats that will complete the course in line with Bruno Peyron's original concept - non-stop. All those behind them have halted for one reason or another, although in the case of Warta Polpharma it was only to repair failed satellite communications equipment that had been provided by the Race Office. But the ability of this boat to do a non-stop circumnavigation was never in doubt - it set the original Jules Verne Trophy mark at a wafer under eighty days. What was raising such an air of anticipation before The Race started was the performance of the new maxi cats - the three Gilles Ollier boats, Club Med, Innovation Explorer and Team Adventure; and the Morrelli and Melvin designed PlayStation. With PlayStation retired hurt and Team Adventure trailing in over five thousand miles behind her sisterships after two major repair stops, this is probably as good a time as any for a first review of Peyron's baby - so how did The Race do? No questions on the performance side - Club Med and Innovation Explorer have set a new standard for ocean passage making. Bruno Peyron has done us all a favour in creating the environment that got these boats built. Although not fitting the current speed record rules for a non-stop circumnavigation, Club Med's time will be the mark when the next round of Jules Verne Trophy attempts begin - the race is now on for the first to complete a 60 day circumnavigation. Many of the doubts about the reliability, safety and sea-keeping abilities of this new generation of maxi cats

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