There has been no let-up in the relentless pace being set by Giovanni Soldini and his crew aboard the Italian offshore foiling trimaran MaseratiMulti70 on the way from Los Angeles to Honolulu in the 2017 Transpac Race.
Yesterday (July 7) Italian and Spanish crew overtook the 60-foot American tri, Mighty Merloe, to take the lead on the water in the five-boat multihull division. Today the two boats are locked in a head-to-head scrap for the overall line honours lead in the 55-boat fleet.
Westerly trade winds blowing across the Pacific at 13 – 16 knots have enabled the MaseratiMulti70 crew to put the 70-foot boat’s hydrofoil dagger boards to good use. With the boat in flying mode, the three hulls are lifted completely clear of the water, resulting in speeds up to 30 knots at times.
The intense tactical battle between MaseratiMulti70 and the smaller and lighter Mighty Merloe looks set to rage all the way to the finish line at the Diamond Head buoy off Hawaii. The pair have been trading the lead between them since the Italian boat opted to be the first to gybe to the south to stay in the strongest winds.
The Mighty Merloe crew – which includes legendary French ocean racers Loïck Peyron, Jacques Vincent and Franck Proffit – opted to hold their westerly track which gave them the race lead, at least in terms of distance to finish.
At 17.00 Italian time this afternoon (Saturday July 8), 05.00 in Hawaii, MaseratiMulti70 had gybed back towards Hawaii and was sailing north west (288 degrees) at 23 knots, with 1346,9 miles to go. Further north and yet to gybe, Mighty Merloe was sailing at 24 knots on a parallel course, 1341.9 miles from the finish. Meanwhile, third placed Phaedo3 was sailing at 22 knots and had 1370.9 miles to go to the finish.
Time will whether MaseratiMulti70’s southerly route will pay dividends as later today the two leading boats pass the halfway distance point in the 2,225-mile race.
Follow the boat’s progress here: http://maserati.soldini.