A very tough night and a tricky morning for the crew of Maserati which cast off from Cape Town at 14.00 hours local time (13.00 Italian time) yesterday from Cape Town bound for Rio de Janeiro.
Overnight the cold front proved less violent than expected with gusts of 40 knots rather than forecast 60. However, it still sorely tested both boat and crew.
Wind and waves smashed a stacking post used to support sails resting on the deck. The post then holed the deck allowing water to rush into the interior. Fortunately, the hole was repaired promptly using a plug of solid carbon-fibre affixed to the deck using a fast-acting structural adhesive and four load-bearing screws. Unfortunately, however, Maserati’s interior is drenched.
Having put the front behind them in the course of the night, Soldini and his crew enjoyed a few hours of relative peace with winds of between 30 and 40 knots, flying along through the waves at 20knots in rain and fog. However, in late morning, the southerly wind picked up once again and is now holding steady at 50 knots.
“The sea is crazy and the wind is gusting exceptionally high,” Soldini said from the boat. “On top of all, we have driving rain. We’re a little bit concerned for the other boats. Maserati is a solid, racing yacht, but there are also some smaller, ill-prepared boats taking part in the Cape2Rio. Right now we are sailing with three reef bands and the storm jib. These very challenging conditions won’t change for the next 12 hours and after that we’ll just have to see.”
At 13.00 GMT, Maserati was leading the fleet in real time 3,100 miles out from Rio (total race distance: 3,300 nautical miles), with the 52’ Australian yacht Scarlet Runner 25 miles behind her and the South Africa Open 60 Explora 30 miles in her wake.