Maserati Multi 70 crossed the finish line of the Cape2Rio 2020
Monday, January 20, 2020 8:20 AM
At 12.39 34” local time on Sunday, January 19th (15.39 34” UTC, 16.39 34” Italian time), Maserati Multi 70 crossed the finish line of the Cape2Rio 2020 off Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Giovanni Soldini and his Team finished the race with an elapsed time of 8 days, 3 hours, 9 minutes and 34 seconds.
The Italian Team’s direct competitor, the 80’ trimaran LoveWater, skippered by Craig Sutherland, crossed the finish line at 5.54 2” local time (8.54 2” UTC, 9.54 2” Italian time), with an elapsed time of 7 days, 20 hours, 24 minutes and 2 seconds, setting the new race record.
Maserati Multi 70 and LoveWater set sail from Table Bay, before Cape Town, on Saturday January 11th at 14.30 local time (12.30 UTC, 13.30 Italian time), with a Westerly wind of 10-12 knots. The start wasn’t easy for the Italian trimaran: because of a problem with a pressure relief valve, the foil’s hydraulic pistons were subjected to excessive stress and, as soon as Maserati Multi 70 reached the second turning mark, they were damaged. Giovanni Soldini explained: «The pistons are used to adjust the rake, and therefore the foil’s upward thrust. We were able to make an emergency repair, using a rope system and some pieces of wood we recovered before setting sail, but every time we wanted to adjust the rake we had to stop the boat and manually move the foils, so it was difficult for us to make precise regulations and we lost a lot of time».
After the incident, the Italian Team found ideal flying conditions and was able to overtake LoveWater at the end of the first night. The second day of the race got harder and the sea and wind conditions, with gusts up to 30 knots of tailwind and big waves, favoured LoveWater, 10 feet longer, which regained the advantage. Nonetheless Giovanni Soldini and his crew kept up the fight and, thanks to the tactical choice of “skipping” a gybe, they were able to catch up with their opponents and overtake them the following day.
The two trimarans took the lead of the fleet that set sail from Cape Town on January 4th and set course to South, reaching the best stop to pass through the high pressure. Soldini explained: «We had almost 100 miles of advantage over our competitors, but the wind came from behind and played in their favour, so LoveWater caught up with us. After that the situation was hard, the waves were big and there were 20-25 knots of tailwind, ideal conditions for our opponent. We were able to achieve a nice speed anyway, up to 31 knots of average speed in 4 hours, and we reduced the distance between us and our competitors from 50 to 30 miles. At that point we were 14 miles away from Rio de Janeiro with no wind at all and we moved hardly at all for 6 hours, while LoveWater already crossed the finish line».
«It was a really great and very hard fought race! Unfortunately it wasn’t an easy challenge, LoveWater is 10 feet longer than Maserati Multi 70, so in certain conditions it’s definitely faster, but we were able to stand up to them in multiple occasions. We’re very happy about Maserati Multi 70, which proved to be doing really well: we noticed that, with the new adjustments made after the studies with the engineers from the Maserati Innovation Lab, we were able to solve some problems that we had before and the boat now is much faster. We reached peaks of 38 knots of speed!»
Aboard Maserati Multi 70, the skipper Giovanni Soldini raced with a 7-man crew: the Italians Guido Broggi (mainsail trimmer), John Elkann (helmsman and trimmer), Nico Malingri and Matteo Soldini (both grinders and trimmers), the Spanish Carlos Hernandez Robayna (trimmer) and Oliver Herrera Perez (bowman) and the French Pierre-Laurent Boullais.
John Elkann, chairman of FCA, already sailed with Soldini numerous times and participated in many races, including two editions of the Transpac, in 2013 and in 2017. After crossing the finish line, he said: «We fought like lions since the start of the race, but we’ve had many difficulties. Giovanni Soldini and everyone in the crew are very skilled, thanks to that we were able to find a solution for every setback: to fix a problem with the central rudder, we used some pieces from the engine. It’s been fantastic to see how, in times of difficulty, it’s possible to achieve results with great perseverance while keeping the spirits up!»
Born in 1971, organized by the Royal Cape Yacht Club and held every two or three years, the Cape2Rio is the Southern Hemisphere’s longest intercontinental yacht race, with a 3.600 nautical miles long course, and has always been a legendary event for every experienced sailor.
The original course starts in Cape Town and arrives in Rio de Janeiro, but for some editions the finish line has been moved to other destinations: in the years of the anti-Apartheid protests the race finished in Punta del Este, Uruguay, and, in 2006 and 2009, in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.