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Club Med enjoys first 24 hours ashore

by Club Med on 4 Mar 2001
The crew of Club Med enjoyed their first day ashore today after their mammoth 62 days at sea during The Race.

After a few hours sleep after the celebrations last night, the day was mainly filled with media interviews, photo opportunities and phone calls to media back home for those international crew not from France.


Following are quotes from skipper Grant Dalton and some of the crew.

Skipper Grant Dalton:

On the finish:
It was an amazing sight coming into Marseille last night. We just weren't expecting it. I had spent the last
three-quarters of an hour of the race down below. I came up on deck only expecting to see a few support boats and
here we were confronted by a sea of green and red lights. There must have been 200 boats out there.

You're only as good as your last race ­ and a win always helps you get another race. There's a sense of relief that
you made it, and you didn't let anyone down, didn't let your sponsor down.

On the competition:
62 days around the world can be beaten. Loick Peyron (Innovation Explorer) pushed us all the way. If circumstances
had been different it might have been him here today ­ not us.

Cam Lewis was very fast and our biggest threat. If they'd had a bit more time to prepare he could have been here in
front of us as well.

We entered the Southern Ocean with a 140m lead on Team Adventure and neither of us were ever going to make it to
New Zealand the way we were both pushing the boats so hard. We knew one of us would crash. We're sorry for them
but we were relieved it wasn't us. There's a saying we have that close races are great for the press but they're tough
on the boat.

It was disappointing to lose PlayStation. I was surprised at their speed out of the start line ­ they were on fire and
would have been a big threat.

The work we did in preparing Club Med was incorporated into the other two Gilles Olliers designs, Team Adventure
and Innovation Explorer. To say we had more time in preparation because we were the first boat is wrong because
we effectively gave them three months advantage.

On the team:
The crew is just a small tip of the iceberg. Behind us are the shore crew, Gilles Olliers and his team from Multiplast
who designed and built the boat all our familes and our amazingly supportive sponsor, Club Med.

People make the difference and we had the people.

The Three Man Army ­ Neal MacDonald, Ed Danby and Jan Dekker kept the boat together when anything was
broken. They were amazing ­ they could fix anything. It could have been a crystal glass and you'd look at it thinking
it had never been broken.

Having 13 crew felt about right ­ sometimes you needed 20, sometimes you only needed 5 but 13, on balance, was a
good number.

Mike Quilter and Roger 'Clouds' Badham (weather router) placed the boat perfectly. We had on average 20 emails
from Clouds per day, 1952 Sat C messages and 659 Sat B messages. The guy got only four hours sleep a night ­ he
was absolutely invaluable.

The French way of sailing multihulls is to sail the boat a lot hotter ­ get the sails up and sail faster. We learnt that
early on in our first transatlantic. However the problem is you can end up sailing angles all over the ocean - there's no
point in going fast if you're not going in the direction you want.

However we learnt a lot about sailing and steering multihulls from the French guys we had on board. They were a lot
more conservative than I was expecting ­ they were throttling off the pace a lot earlier. We (the Anglo-Saxons) were
the crazy ones. However they know there is an edge of no return on these boats. Fred Le Peutrec said to me 'I've
lost a lot of friends who've lost their lives in these boats' and so we respected their understanding of the limits.

The race:
The South Atlantic High was crucial ­ both times. We have always sailed that in the past ridge or high pressure your
course is always to the wind, which normally means you head South. We got into the West and we were gone.

Our plan was always to have the lead into the Southern Ocean and then be pursued, rather than have to be the
pursuer. Then we wanted a good lead in the Atlantic on the way back up so we could slow down if we needed to.

Everything went quicker than I was expecting ­ doesn't seem like 62 days.

We were good in the light and we worked hard on that. We knew from the last Whitbread that this is an important
factor.

We made a lot of decisions early on ­ in design and engineering - that flew in the face of multihull experience. But we
had a very supportive sponsor so we managed to make it work, and the result is it was successful.

On the comparison with the Volvo Ocean Race:
The Volvo is more intense and a lot tougher. You can't compare the two or say one is better. Both events have their
place. If you can survive in that playground you can survive race.

For my project with Nautor Challenge for the next Volvo we're about six months late ­ and I have a huge mountain to
climb. But I want to be sure we do a good job ­ I don't want to go out on a bad one.

On the future of The Race:
I hope Bruno Peyron (the organizer of The Race) says let's do it again. I think this event has great potential. It has all
the elements of a great event ­ the boats are big, fast, there are no rules, it doesn't take forever and there are great
images for TV.

The only dangerous thing is that if it is so open and with no rules someone could come in with a huge budget and
blow every one away.

On having sailed around the world 6 times:
It doesn't feel like six times. I've been lucky ­ I've kept in good physical shape which meant I could keep going, and
have had great supporters to do these projects with, and I like the lifestyle ­ having a gap between projects.

When you win a race like this you have 24 hours of fantastic celebration after 3 years of hard work, but I can't see
any reason to stop.

QUOTES FROM SOME OF THE OTHER CREW

Ed Danby ­ UK (Boat Captain)
On comparison with his time sailing on Enza:
It was an adventure then, not a race. We were just racing against the clock. The difference this time was that it was
a full-on race. It was hard even from the very beginning when I got the call early one morning from Dalts saying I had
got the job. We had a lot of work to do and set ourselves a grueling programme but it was good. It was a full on
assault at the world and the boats we had to race.

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