The trimaran Maserati Multi70 left Hong Kong crossing the starting line positioned between the Tai Long Pai and Nga Ying Pal lights, at the exit of the Tathoong canal, at 10: 43′ 24” UTC (18:43 in China, 11:43 in Italy).
To beat the record Giovanni Soldini and the crew of the trimaran – Guido Broggi, Oliver Herrera Perez, Alex Pella and Sébastien Audigane – have to complete the course and cross the finish line under the Queen Elizabeth II bridge over the Thames before the 1st of March at 8: 9′ 47” UTC.
Along the 13,000 miles course (about 24,000 kilometers) following the shortest orthododromic route passing by the Cape of Good Hope, the Hong Kong-London route begins with a run down the South China Sea. “The weather situation has been very unstable in these last days”, explains Pierre Lasnier, the routeur who will follow the record on land. “According to the latest models, it’s getting clearer. Starting today, Maserati Multi70 is almost certain to find an average wind of NE between 17 and 18 knots of speed for the next three days, enough to get down to 5°N, under the southern point of Vietnam. But, they will not be able to sail on the direct route, they will have to make several gybes downwind to go towards South.”
“Finally we are off “, says Giovanni Soldini. “It was a tough decision to make because the weather situation is not ideal but we do not see any other useful windows in the coming days. From the technical point of view, at the moment at the Equator there is a bubble with no wind that we will have to cross. We hope that the conditions change once we’ll get there and be kind to us. During the first days we will do our best to stay in deep water, but there is more wind near the vietnamese coasts, so we will try to find compromises between the need to go fast and the attention to pay at the myriad of networks and boats of local fishermen who do not even have navigation lights. The boat is ready, we are motivated and we will always try to give our best. ”
The same enthusiasm and desire to navigate in the words of the Spanish Alex Pella: “We are all super happy and motivated, the stand-by periods are always complicated and stressful, especially in Hong Kong, far from home. Now we’re going to do our best!”