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Multihulls return. mostly in one piece

Jan 1, 2003

The monster multihulls that alternately blazed and stumbled around the earth over the last few months returned to the finish line in the Mediterranean - Club Med having won The Race in 62 days for an average speed of roughly 18 knots. Club Med stomped up the Atlantic for a finish in March, apparently coming close to breaking apart in the last few thousand miles of the race because one of the hull's cores collapsed near the main crossbeam. The cat Innovation Explorer was second across the line and was the only other vessel to finish The Race at press time in late March. The three remaining yachts, Team Adventure, Warta Polpharma, and Team Legato, were still more than 2,000 miles from finishing.

Club Med, which is now credited with the fastest circumnavigation for a sailboat, was routed by the Aussie Roger "Clouds" Badham, who was well aware of the vessel's thin parameters for efficiency. Strong winds were needed to keep the vessel moving swiftly, but a breeze blowing long enough from a given direction would build up too much of a sea. The best conditions, therefore, involved finding breezes that were fresh out of a low pressure system, which would propel the boat at maximum speed with limited hull stress.