The maxi-catamaran Club Med (33.50 m) was launched on May 8 in front of the Multiplast yard in Vannes, France after a period of construction that lasted 12 months. Philippe Bourguignon, CEO of Club Méditerranée, officially launched this new giant of the seas that will be at the start of the crewed, non-stop race around the world, The Race, which will start on December 31, 2000.

Club Med is the biggest racing catamaran ever built in France. She will start her working up and development program in the next few days in La Trinité-sur-Mer, before heading for Spain at the beginning of June in order to qualify on her first transatlantic, between Cadiz and San Salvador, Bahamas. She will then head for New York in the beginning of July to attack the legendary West-East Atlantic crossing between New York and the Lizard.

To win “The Race”!

During his introductory speech, Philippe Bourguignon defined Club Med’s objectives: “Club Med entered The Race with a triple challenge: to build the fastest boat, bring together a top level international crew, and finally to qualify for and win The Race. The first objective has been achieved thanks to the team of the Multiplast yard. The cosmopolitan and multicultural crew is now in place with no less than nine nationalities represented on board. All that remains is to announce the name of the second co-skipper who will be French and a multihull specialist. Finally, we will attempt to qualify as early as the month of June on the Atlantic and continue to train with the objective of winning The Race.”

A challenge on the move!

The Race is a unique opportunity for Club Med. First of all, because the values of Club Med are close to those of this extraordinary race: pioneering spirit, human adventure, and universality, but also because The Race is an event on a planetary scale. This boat will illustrate the spirit of reconquest and the new adventure of Club Med. It will symbolize its new lease on life and its capacity to innovate.

The construction of this new giant of the seas has just been completed after more than 60,000 man-hours of work. As planned, the crew has been recruited at the highest international level uniting 16 people from nine different nations (France, USA, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Spain, Austria and Canada). It is now up to this multicultural crew to qualify, then to beat the legendary Atlantic crossing record, before confronting the best crews in the world on December 31, 2000 in The Race.

Club Med wishes to renew with the spirit that symbolized the great sailing ships of the 18th century which set off to conquer the world on epic voyages of exploration showing off, with pride, their generous figureheads. This figurehead, which has been a little overlooked by “modern” 20th century vessels, is symbolized by a young girl swimmer, projecting values of regeneration, dear to Club Med. The aquatic image of this young woman will appear on the headsails of Club Med and also on the boat’s bows, so that just like a mermaid she will bob through each wave around the world. The overall decoration of the boat is naturally inspired by the turquoise color of the South Seas, complete with multicolored fish, symbolizing the theme of protection of the environment.

Designed around the world’s wind charts

On the one hand, the design of a racing boat traditionally relies on statistics and data from preselected transoceanic routes and, on the other hand, on the know-how of the architects in the area of hull design, sail plan, performance polars, etc.

The advance of meteorological and strategic knowledge allow much finer studies linked with real situations that Club Med will meet on her voyage around the world. Using meteorological and oceanographic data, relative to the winds and state of the sea, meteorologist Jean-Yves Bernot has been able to collect pertinent information for optimizing the work carried out by Gille Ollier’s team. On determining the direction and strength of winds to be encountered, and their frequency, he has been able to isolate trends influencing the shape of sails and the body plan of the hulls. Once the parameters were compiled around these initial results, different designs were tested in classic weather situations.

On studying the performance and on reiterating the operation, the results converged towards an optimum design. Consequently, the analysis was able to highlight the critical points of the course, the optimum routes and the duration expected on each point of sailing, to help refine the first designs produced by the Multiplast architects. By dint of studies and consultation, the choice of design options was narrowed down with realistic criteria, supplying as a bonus precious information on strategies to be used during the race.

The Race: a “no limits” race around the world.

Born out of the passion and determination of French yachtsman Bruno Peyron, The Race is a yacht race around the world with crew, non-stop and without assistance. It will start from Barcelona on December 31, 2000, symbolizing the advent of the Third Millennium.

The course of The Race will circumnavigate the world via the three Capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn). The crews must previously qualify on the basis of the best times recorded on the Atlantic and/or Pacific crossings. The ambition of The Race is to assemble together the best mariners in the world, sailing on the biggest multihulls ever built. An extraordinary challenge combining the extreme quality of the sport with a strong human and cultural dimension.

With no constraints of size or rule in the design of the boats, the intention of The Race is to promote innovation and the spirit of freedom, thereby favoring creativity in the field of naval architecture.

One of the major objectives of The Race is to interest people from all horizons and all nations and enable them to dream. Also and for the first time, a system for the transmission of TV images will allow the race to be followed on television and the Internet. The event’s potential audience in the world is 6 billion TV viewers and 400 million Internet surfers.

The prize money allocated to the winners will be $2 million. The major partners of the event are to date: France Télécom, Disneyland Paris and La Mission 2000 en France. For more information, see their website: