The Multi 70 Maserati takes line honours in the RORC Transatlantic Race after a tense head-to-head battle between three 70ft trimarans

First home in the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race was the Multi 70 Maserati, skippered by Giovanni Soldini.

Maserati finished this morning, Saturday 15 January, at 05:51:41 UTC, to take Multihull Line Honours. The Italian modified MOD70 overhauled the more conventionally set up Powerplay, which led for the majority of the 3,000 race, and Argo, despite suffering damage to its port rudder.

The three 70ft trimarans developed an intense mid-Atlantic match race over the final 500 miles of the transatlantic, the front runners frequently sailing in sight of each other as they raced to Grenada. 

Giles Scott and Miles Seddon study the weather at the nav station on PowerPlay. Photo Paul Larsen/Powerplay/RORC

Having initially headed far north of the rhumbline in order to navigate a low pressure system tracking from Nova Scotia, the three leading trimarans engaged in a straight-line downwind speed contest over the final few days of the race, flying down to the Caribbean at speeds topping 30 knots and matching each other gybe for gybe. 

Powerplay was first to concede the lead to Argo, the pair initially duelling on a slightly more southerly line, but Maserati was sailing at 25-27 knot averages to overhaul them both in a well timed run for the finish.

As PowerPlay’s Paul Larsen reported from onboard: “We’ve effectively got a new race start with around 500 miles to go. Everyone’s pumped and Powerplay is at 100 percent. This has already been a belter of a race. Looking like it’s going to be like that all the way to the end. The blue bus is the hunted, but the hounds are all around!”

Damaged port rudder on the Multi 70 Maserati. Photo: RORC Transatlantic Race

Maserati is the more heavily modified of the three MOD70s, having been fitted with foils. However, Soldini reported that Maserati had damaged, then lost, its port rudder, so was unable to foil on starboard gybe. Argo had also suffered rudder damage during the race.

Second to cross the finish line off Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada was Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 PowerPlay at 0646 this morning.

Double-handers lead IRC 1

This eighth edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race has attracted the strongest fleet yet.

Behind the three 70ft trimarans, the 100ft Maxi yacht Comanche is chasing monohull line honours and course record and looks set to achieve both. This morning it is leading both IRC Super Zero and IRC overall on handicap, although the Volvo 70 L4 Trifork is challenging hard for the IRC Super Zero win. It won’t be a new record eastbound transatlantic time however – Comanche already holds that at 5d 14h 21m 25s.

Comanche at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race off Lanzarote. Photo: James Mitchell/RORC

The RORC Transatlantic Race will be a very different experience for the double-handed team on the 32ft JPK 10.10 Jangada. Richard Palmer and Jeremy Waitt are leading IRC 1 overall but still have over 1,600 miles to go.

Richard Palmer reported from onboard: “Jangada is performing well so far all systems are running as expected. With only satellite data systems to get weather updates on we are always needing to ensure our small crafts systems work, it’s taken a huge amount of preparation to be ready to race. It’s getting exciting as we close up to the top of the leader board and we hope we can continue to push for a top spot. The level of competition is immense racing against ocean going machines like Comanche and Volvo 70s makes the task a tough one.”

Jeremy Waitt said: “It’s such a privilege to be racing in the ocean like this, the moonlight dancing of the wave tops and vast expanse of this ocean is stunning. As I write we are surfing down large waves at high speeds with the spinnaker and the conditions have been tough.  

“Being two handed makes things pretty tough and sleep deprivation can make it really hard. Alongside lack of sleep each of us must manage the boat for long periods whilst the other is asleep effectively single handed, there’s no doubt we have to compromise at times compared against the fully crewed boats with 6-14 people aboard. 

“We will soon be passing the place where two year ago I fell off the boat and thankfully was retrieved by Richard, it’s a reminder of the risks involved in ocean racing.”

Thomson retires from RORC Transatlantic

Two boats have had to stop racing following damage. Alex Thomson, who was making his first competitive outing since announcing his retirement from IMOCA 60 sailing, was racing with Ken Howery on Tosca, a newly launched Gunboat 68 catamaran. 

Howery reported that Tosca had been taking on water which meant the team “could not run the basic electrical systems necessary for the safety of the crew.” The Gunboat diverted to the Azores, and intended to set off for Grenada after making repairs.

On Day 6 the Botin 56 Black Pearl reported that they had been dismasted. All crew on board were unhurt and the boat is making its way back to the Canary Islands under jury rig.

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