Maserati Multi 70 trimaran’s dominance in the 39th running of the Rolex Middle Sea Race was such that despite a damaged main sheet’s hydraulic piston, and the right-side rudder fitting breaking, she still managed to cross the line more than an hour and a half ahead of the second placed boat.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race is 606 nautical miles long and is sailed in a closed anti-clockwise circuit around Sicily and her neighbouring islands. Starting from the Grand Harbour in Valletta, Malta, the fleet heads northwards to the Straits of Messina, then to the Aeolian Islands, the Egadi Islands, and Pantelleria before heading back to Valletta.
This year’s event began on Saturday, October 20, at 11:00 am local time. It ended 2 days, 13 hours, 36 minutes and 48 seconds later on Tuesday, October 23, at 23:22 local time when Maserati Multi 70 crossed the finish line.
The damage to the main sheet’s hydraulic piston was solved by the crew very quickly. About an hour later, while sailing close-hauled, the right-side rudder’s fitting broke. “We immediately realised the seriousness of the situation,” explained Skipper Giovanni Soldini, “the rudder burst through sideways the aft part of its location. We are sure that we didn’t hit any object and we think it’s a structural problem. After we brought the damaged rudder out of the water, we were able to restart a few meters behind PowerPlay, which regained all the advantage we had over it.”
Another pivotal moment of the regatta was during the night, between Sunday and Monday, when the decision was taken by Giovanni and tactician Vittorio Bissaro, to approach the Strait of Messina from the east, which allowed Maserati Multi 70 to extend its advantage over PowerPlay, the eventual second placed boat. This was done because of “the passage of a big squall with storms, thunders, lightning and gusts up to 50 knots,” according to Giovanni, for whom this was “the most difficult moment” of the race.
However, on Monday, PowerPlay gained on the leaders, right before the commencement of the final stretch between Lampedusa to Malta. “With the damaged rudder, we weren’t sure we could defend our position from PowerPlay’s attacks. To our surprise, we were able to find a magical asset, with the boat’s weights, the leeward foil’s rake and the mast’s incline, that made it possible for us to handle this beam reach lap at high speed,” explained the jubilant skipper.
“It was a great regatta and a great battle with PowerPlay, which we never let go until the end. I must thank everyone in Maserati Multi 70’s Team, they did an amazing job!” – Giovanni Soldini, Skipper of Maserati Multi 70