Sailboats can conjure up images of relaxing afternoons with friends out on the water or a dedicated group doing hard work on the jib.
That’s to say, they’re smaller and more accessible than some of their larger, sea-faring counterparts.
Well, people who think that have never seen the Wind Surf and Club Med 2 ships.
These originally French-owned sister ships were christened Club Med 1 and 2 in 1989 and 1996, respectively. The Club Med 2 continues to operate as a cruise ship under its original name, while the Club Med 1 was sold to Windstar Cruises in 1998 and now operates under the Wind Surf name.
The two ships together are the longest sailing ships afloat, with a length of 187 m (613 ft).
Both ships have five aluminum masts and 2,800 m² (30,100 ft²) of computer-controlled polyester sails. Each one caters for around 400 passengers, with roughly half as many crew members. With their relatively small sail area and powerful engines, they are strictly motor-sailers.
Wind Surf was launched as Club Med 1 by the Société Nouvelle des Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre in Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre, France. After being ordered in 1986, it took its maiden voyage in 1990. The 8-deck ship with a height of 80 m (262 ft) operated out of Wallis and Futuna until 1998. After the sale to Windstar Cruises, the ship has continued to operate out of Nassau, Bahamas.
Club Med 2, meanwhile, was constructed and laid down by the same group as its brethren. Registered in Wallis and Futuna, the Club Med 2 sails in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea seasonally, and then cruises the Caribbean in the winter. It boasts a sailing speed of 10-15 knots.
Comments below may relate to previous holders of this record.