Sailing Club Med

Mark Chisnell blagged his way aboard Grant Dalton’s maxi-cat, and this is what happened
Club Med announced their arrival in UK waters by storming up the Solent last Sunday, 1st October. Picking their way through the crowd on a glorious sunny afternoon - one hull in the air and over 30 knots on the dial. Not a bad way to arrive home for Brit, Neal McDonald, and UK-resident Kiwi, Ed Danby. After relaunching Club Med a couple of days earlier, they barely had time to get into their stride on the 350 mile trip across from Vannes, France, covering the last 130 miles in about five hours - as skipper Grant Dalton put it, ‘She’s quite a toy.’ But this is nothing less than we’ve come to expect from this latest generation of offshore maxi-cats. Both the 24-hour distance run record and the east-to-west trans-Atlantic record fell to Club Med on her first major offshore trip. That was before three feet of bow - the sacrificial crash box - fell off on the way back to Europe from New York. After six weeks in the yard, during which time they have undergone a complete refit as well as had the bow redesigned and rebuilt, these boys are back in business. And you could be forgiven for expecting this account of a day sail in the Solent - in 20 knots of breeze - to be a white knuckled, raw nerved tale of adrenaline rush. In fact, it’s nothing of the sort. I wouldn’t say steering a 110 foot catamaran at 30 knots plus was exactly dull, but .... Sailing Club Med in these conditions of beam reaching in flat water is a serene experience. There’s a gale of apparent wind - when is there not at 30 knots - but there’s no spray and very little noise. The motion is easy, the fine bows