(FORTUNE Magazine) – Club Med celebrated its 50th anniversary in an unusual fashion, winning a sailboat race with a record circumnavigation: 62 days, six hours, 56 minutes, and 33 seconds.
The company's 110-foot catamaran, Club Med, left Barcelona Dec. 31 with five other giant cats to compete in a sprint around the South Pole (See "Racing to the End of the Earth," in the fortune.com archive). It crossed the finish line at Marseilles two days before the second-place boat, a sister ship called Innovation Explorer.
A third sister ship, Team Adventure, was still at sea at press time; the cat had to stop twice to repair hull damage. Two other teams, Warta Polpharma and Team Legato, also were still sailing. The sixth and largest cat, PlayStation, dropped out early when its sails tore and a daggerboard snapped.
Besides smashing the round-the-world record, Club Med captured the record for distance sailed in a day: 655.2 miles, for an average speed of 27.3 knots, or 31.4 mph.
--Timothy K. Smith