Maserati and Soldini crossed the finish line of the Rolex Middle Sea Race
At 21.46 UTC on Sunday October 24th, Maserati Multi 70 crossed the finish line of the 42nd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, off Valletta, after 1 day, 12 hours, 36 minutes and 7 seconds from the start. Giovanni Soldini and his crew came in second in elapsed time: their direct competitor, the American Argo, skippered by Jason Carroll, crossed the finish line at 18.39 UTC, setting a new race record, of 1 day, 9 hours, 29 minutes and 28 seconds.
Maserati Muli 70 and the other 4 competing multihulls set sail from Grand Harbour, Valletta, at 9.10 UTC on Saturday October 23rd, and headed towards Capo Passero. Just 9 hours later, Maserati Multi 70 came out of the Strait of Messina in the lead, at close range with her direct rivals, MOD 70s Argo and Mana. A head to head duel began with the American trimaran north of Sicily, and Giovanni Soldini and his crew were able to gather a few miles of advantage. Once the multihulls arrived off Trapani, the situation became complicated: «The weather got really unpredictable» explains Soldini, «we would sail from violent storms and squalls to zones with no wind at all within minutes». During one of the wind holes, on Sunday morning, Argo was able to take the lead, just before Pantelleria.
A few hours later, off Lampedusa and only 6 miles behind her competitor, Maserati Multi 70 was forced to slow down. «We suffered damage to the mast's control system that allows us to move it left and right through hydraulic cylinders: suddenly, the mast was free to move and dropped downwind, stopping at a 45-50 degrees angle with the deck. With an extreme effort from everyone aboard, with sheaves and ropes, we were able to take the sails down, to straighten the mast and secure it with a temporary system. At that point we were almost two hours behind Argo, and Mana was getting close, so we took off again and were able to come in second, it was quite a venture! ».
Aboard Maserati Multi 70 with Giovanni Soldini: Guido Broggi, Vittorio Bissaro, Lorenzo Bressani, Francesco Pedol, Oliver Herrera Perez, Matteo Soldini and Thomas Joffrin.
During the night between Sunday and Monday, two more multihulls finished the race, the Italian Mana, skippered by Loick Peyron and Jeff Mearing, with an elapsed time of 1 day, 13 hours, 59 minutes and 16 seconds, and Antoine Rabaste's maxi 80' trimaran Ultim'Emotion 2, with an elapsed time of 1 day, 16 hours, 13 minutes and 53 seconds. One multihull is still racing, Aldo Fumagalli's 47' Minimole.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race, organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, had 114 participants for this edition, most of them are still racing along the 606-mile course: from Valletta, anticlockwise around Sicily, passing north of Stromboli, west of Favignana and Pantelleria and south of Lampedusa, before heading back to the finish line, off the Maltese capital.