Soldini's flying-trimaran to take on RORC Caribbean 600 and Transpac in 2017 season
After a successful first season in 2016 that included a record-setting line honours victory in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and a second-place arrival in the RORC Transatlantic Race, the Italian multihull Maserati Multi70 skippered by Giovanni Soldini will this year race in two classic offshore races - the 600-mile RORC Caribbean 600 and the 2,225-mile Transpacific Yacht Race.
Soldini and his seven-man crew will use these two gruelling events to help them further the team’s quest to perfect the art of offshore foiling.
"Last season taught us lots about how our boat behaves offshore – both on and off the foils," Soldini commented this week. "We learned a great deal about how to set the boat up and we have made a series of modifications to enhance her performance across a range of wind conditions".
First up on the Maserati Multi70 schedule is the RORC Caribbean 600 race starting on February 20.
In contrast to the straight line sailing in most other classic offshore races the course for the Caribbean 600 is a complex point-to-point spider’s web that weaves the fleet around 11 islands along the 600-mile route from Antigua and back again.
For Soldini the race is unfinished business after he was forced to pull out of the 2015 edition while racing his previous boat, the monohull VOR70 Maserati, due to problems with the boat’s hydraulic keel system.
Maserati Multi70’s performance in the Caribbean will be constrained from its full potential as it will still be racing in ‘development mode’ with a conventional MOD 70 daggerboard on the right-hand side of the boat and a custom foil daggerboard on the left. This means the Italian trimaran will be able to lift up and foil only on starboard tack.
Also taking part in the RORC Caribbean 600 is the Italian team’s friendly rival from last season - the non-foiling MOD 70, Phaedo3. In 2016 the American boat set the race record at 31 hours, 59 minutes and 4 seconds.
"For this race we will try to stay to close to Phaedo3 and see what we can learn about how the two boats perform relatively to each other," Soldini said. "We know the non-foiling configuration works better in lighter wind conditions, but it will be interesting to see how we perform next to them when we are on foils."
Sailing alongside Soldini crew for the RORC Caribbean 600 are regulars boat captain Guido Broggi, pitman and data collector François Robert, bowmen Oliver Herrera and Carlos Hernandez, helmsman and trimmer John Elkann and media man Francesco Malingri. Joining the Maserati Multi70 line-up for the first time as tactician is Italian Olympian sailor, Vittorio Bissaro who finished fifth in the Nacra 17 catamaran class at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Following the RORC Caribbean 600, the boat will be moved via the Panama Canal to Los Angeles in time for the start of the Transpacific Yacht Race – better known as the Transpac – in July. If things go to plan Soldini hopes Maserati Multi70 will by then be in full foiling mode.
More information on the Soldini Maserati Multi 70 programme HERE.