Having now covered over half of the 608 miles of the Rolex Middle Sea Race route, including a spectacular passage past the Stromboli volcano at first light and with the Aeolian Islands now in her wake, Maserati Multi70 has just caught up with Phaedo3.
The Italian trimaran made up the ground thanks to a tactical decision by Giovanni Soldini to stay offshore as they neared Ustica to look for wind and then sail down towards San Vito Lo Capo without being slowed by the very light air along the coast which hampered the progress of Phaedo3’.
The ESE breezes encountered so far haven’t gone above 10 knot but very soon, once San Vito Lo Capo is behind them, the trimarans will run into the Sirocco (SE) which will fresh to a maximum of 25 knots.
Maserati Multi70 and Phaedo3 will have to beat all the way to the finish-line at Malta, which is now under 300 miles away. They are separated by a tiny distance of between 2 and 5 miles (depending on the angles) and are making similar speeds of between 12 and 16 knots. The two trimarans should cross the finish-line off Malta’s Grand Harbour in the late morning or early afternoon of tomorrow.
In the monohull category, American George David’s Rambler 88, the pre-race favourite and holder of the Rolex Middle Sea record, has just rounded the “mark” of Stromboli at a speed of 11.5 knots and is setting the pace for the IRC 1 class. For now the IRC 2 class is being dominated by an Italian craft, Mascalzone Latino, a Cookson 50 skippered by Vincenzo Onorato, himself a real Rolex Middle Sea Race aficionado.
“Racing within sight of Phaedo3 has kept us on high alert,” commented Giovanni Soldini via satellite. “There was a gap of about 20 miles between us but we completely made that up by looking for wind offshore. We’re now leading and trying to defend that position by beating from San Vito Lo Capo to Malta. But all is good aboard. Morale is high – despite the fact that we were more affected by the lack of wind than Phaedo3, the boat is responding perfectly. We made a tactical choice that is now paying off and we’re really giving it our all”.
The challenge is supported by Maserati which, as main sponsor, gives the boat her name, while UnipolSai Assicurazioni is sponsor.
The official suppliers to the challenge are Ermenegildo Zegna for clothing and Boero Bartolomeo S.p.A. for hull enamels and paints.