After 24-hours of racing in the RORC Caribbean 600 Race the Maserati Multi70 trimaran skippered by Italian ocean racer Giovanni Soldini is locked in a fierce struggle for the lead with the race record holder Phaedo3.
Despite being hampered by lighter winds than are optimum for their state-of-the-art flying multihull to perform at its best, Soldini and his seven-man international crew have been trading the lead back and forth with the non-foiling American MOD 70 since the race started yesterday afternoon, European time.
Wind conditions early in the race were considerably better than the flat calms forecast for the 600-mile race around 11 of the Caribbean islands. The Maserati Multi70 crew took full advantage on the first northerly stage of the course up Barbuda, putting their boat into flying mode to blast spectacularly past their American rivals at speeds over 25 knots.
There was nothing between the two multihulls at the Barbuda turn and the pair maintained this close formation as they scorched their way around the first half of the complex racecourse.
When they reached Saint Martin, the most northerly extreme of the course, around midnight it was Phaedo3 that held the advantage, exiting the Anguilla Channel with a lead of around 10 minutes over Maserati Multi70.
Since then the gap between the two yachts has been expanding and contracting in synch with variations in the undulating breeze. The lighter spells favouring the leader and the windier moments benefitting Maserati Multi70.
«The first half of the race was in 13 to 15 knots of wind and we were competitive with the other guys», Soldini reported from his boat shortly before dawn this morning. «They are sailing very well and have not made any mistakes. The breeze is up and down and in every light spell they can extend a little on us. Now and then it comes up enough for us to make gains back on them».
«Generally the wind has been stronger than the forecast suggested so we are hoping this continues and we can get into some stronger winds that will suit our flying boat better».
This morning (early afternoon in Europe) Maserati Multi70 was slowed significantly for a while by super light winds on the approach to the western side of Guadeloupe, allowing Phaedo3 to quickly pull away.
The Italian boat was soon back up and running again, however, with the crew making the most of fresh breeze to achieve spurts of speed up to 26-knots. By the time they reached Iles des Saintes island and started to turn north the gap between the boats was down to four miles.
The Maserati Multi70 crew continued to make gains and at midday local time (17.00 in Italy) Soldini’s men trailed Phaedo3 by less than half a mile with 185-miles to race until the finish in Antigua.
credit@RORC/Tim Wright photaction.com