To the sound of the guns of the Saluting Battery, an international fleet of 140 yachts crossed the start line of the 43rd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC). The MOCRA class, which this year counts on the unprecedented participation of no less than five MOD70 trimarans, in observance of the starting procedures, opens the 606-nautical mile anti-clockwise round trip of Sicily and its islands, with round trip to La Valletta. A race that promises to be long and hard-fought, in very light winds due to high pressure over the Mediterranean. And while normally the fastest yachts sail two days to finish the course, according to today’s models, the challenge could last four to six days.
Competing with Giovanni Soldini and the crew of the Maserati Multi70, which is sailing in a flying trim, are Axciss (ITA), owned by Cosimo Malesci and skippered by Eric Defert; Mana (ITA), owned by Riccardo Pavoncelli and skippered by Paul Larsen; Snowflake (USA), formerly Phaedo, owned by Frank Slootman and skippered by Gavin Brady from New Zealand; and Zoulou (FRA), formerly Powerplay, owned by Erik Maris and skippered by Loick Peyron. Also racing in the MOCRA class are Dakota (NOR), Kia Ora (FR) and Minimole (ITA).
“Unfortunately the weather for us is not at all favourable. We are expecting a very slow race, with very little wind and with our foils in the water we are certainly not the favourites,” says Giovanni Soldini, as he sets sail: “However, there is great enthusiasm: there are five MOD70s and it is the first time that five boats like this are competing in the water all together, so morale is high and as usual we will sell our lives dearly, even if it will be a challenge”.
On board the Maserati Multi70, Giovanni Soldini sails together with eight professional sailors: boat captain Guido Broggi, Matteo Soldini, Francesco Pedol, Oliver Herrera Perez, Frédéric Le Peutrec, Alberto Riva and Francesco Malingri (media man).
Photo © Thomas Joffrin