Cape2Rio, Soldini and Maserati in the lead with 730 miles to go

soldini-rioJan. 12 – Maserati continues its ride to Rio de Janeiro, pushed by the trade wind at 15-20 knots of speed. There are 730 (out of 3,300) miles still to go for the Italian crew, which departed Jan. 4 from Cape Town, SA. Match race between its pursuers-Australian 52-footer Scarlet Runner and South African Open 60 Explora-who both sail within 700 miles of Maserati, the only 70-footer in the race.

Arrival in Rio de Janeiro is scheduled for the afternoon of January 14. The Cape2Rio Yacht Race record belongs to Zephyrus IV, a 74-foot American maxi, which completed the course in 12 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes in 2000.

Watch the video from aboard Maserati

On board with Giovanni Soldini is a nine-person international team: Italians Guido Broggi, Corrado Rossignoli and Michele Sighel; German Boris Herrmann; Spaniard Carlos Hernandez; Frenchmen Jacques Vincent and Gwen Riou; Dane Martin Kirketerp Ibsen; and for the first time, Monegasque Pierre Casiraghi.

Jan. 9-Damage in the night aboard Maserati: a steering wheel broke during a gybe and shortly afterward the spi also exploded. Both the steering wheel and the spi have been replaced, and now the Italian VOR 70 has resumed its race to Rio de Janeiro.


Here is Giovanni Soldini’s account: “Tonight after a gybe we realized that the forestay did not have the normal minimum tension and after a quick check we realized that a steering wheel had broken. Fortunately, we had a spare one on board. Corrado and Guido immediately went up the tree at night to change the cable to PBO and we were off again. Since trouble always goes with company, shortly afterwards doing a gybe our new spi, admittedly a bit too light, committed suicide and exploded. We are now sailing with a spi that is not the one for these conditions, but we are still doing well. We are now flying at 20 knots.”


Breakdowns and overnight repairs slowed Maserati, which saw the gap to its two rivals shrink. At the h 9 a.m. survey this morning Maserati is 1,845 miles from Rio de Janeiro, followed by Explora (South African Open 60) at 290 miles away and the Australian 52-footer Scarlet Runner at 330 miles.

Watch the video of Maserati sailing

Antonio-joao-bartolomeuJanuary 7 – The sailor who passed away two days ago during the 14th Cape2Rio has a name. His name was António João Bartolomeu, 47, a sound technician for Angolan national radio with a passion for sailing in his blood. He was aboard the Bavaria 54 Bille (one of two Angolan boats participating in Cape2Rio for the first time) when he was tossed overboard off Cape Town on Jan. 5 during the terrible storm with 50-, 60-knot winds that hit the fleet of racing boats immediately after the start. Retrieved aboard by his companions now unconscious, he died shortly thereafter probably from hypothermia.

All of the South African boats that had launched SOS were safe: the Miura Ava, Black Cat (a Didi 38), Peekay (a Beneteau 51), the Charger Fti Flyer, Isla (Wilderness) and the Sv Avanti.

Maserati has now left the storm behind and is sailing at the head of the fleet into the trade wind with 15-16 knots of wind. In second, about 150 miles away, is the South African Open 60 Explora, and in third, about 160 miles away, is the Australian 52-footer Scarlet Runner.

“The road to Rio de Janeiro is still long, we have 2,400 miles to go,” Giovanni Soldini explains. “But the miles we have to go are many more because we have to go around the South Atlantic high pressure, stretching our course just enough so we don’t end up in the light wind or its calms. With spi in the lead and full mainsail, still shaken by the thought of the missing sailor, we gybe forward to the east.”

Jan. 6
– That the Cape 2 Rio is a challenging race was already known: in 3,300 miles from South Africa to Brazil anything can happen.

But this time things went worse than expected: during the first night of the regatta a storm with winds between 40 and 60 knots and six-meter high waves hit the 36 competing boats, causing damage, injuries but most importantly the death of one person. It was a crew member of the Bavaria 54 Bille: they had reported from aboard that they had problems with their mainsail and were on their way back to Cape Town, then came the other message, where they explained that they had dismasted and that the accident had caused one death and several injuries. Support has received numerous requests for help: between breakdowns and injuries, there will be a lot of work to be done.

tracking-cape-2-rioMASERATI IN THE LEAD

The VOR 70 Maserati captained by Giovanni Soldini is firmly in the lead of the race and is sailing upwind off the coast of Namibia. The rest of the fleet is quite lagging behind (almost everyone is still in South African waters), but the Maserati boys will have to watch their backs against Scarlett Runner, Australian Robert Date’s Reichel Pugh, and South African Craig Sutherland’s Open 60 Explora. Then compensated times will have to be calculated: after the first day of racing, Maserati was given second position behind the aforementioned Scarlett Runner. Currently the Italian VOR 70 is 2,810 theoretical miles from Rio de Janeiro, 83 miles ahead of its direct pursuers.

Watch the video of Maserati in the storm

Jan. 5 – A very hard night and a difficult morning for the crew of Maserati, which left yesterday at 2 p.m. local time (1 p.m. Italian time) from Cape Town bound for Rio de Janeiro. In the night the cold front was fortunately less violent than expected with gusts to 40 knots instead of the expected 60, but it put a strain on boat and crew.

Wind and waves broke a stacking pole, which is used to support the sails lying on the deck. The pole broke through the bridge causing a hole from which a lot of water entered. The hole was promptly repaired with a carbon monolithic cap attached to the deck with some structural pre-sarapid glue and four load-bearing screws. But Maserati’s interior is soggy.

After the front passed in the night, John and his companions savored a few hours of relative calm, with wind stretched from 30 to 40 knots, flying at 20 knots of speed through waves, rain and fog. But by late morning the wind had regained strength and settled at 50 knots from the south.

“There is a crazy sea and very strong gusts of wind,” John says from aboard. “On top of that it’s pouring. We are a little worried about the other boats; unlike Maserati which is solid and racing, there are also small, unprepared boats participating in Cape2Rio. We are now sailing with three hands and the storming. These tough conditions will remain stable for the next 12 hours, then we will see.” At h 13 GMT Maserati is in first position in real time 3,100 miles from Rio (out of 3,300 total miles), followed 25 miles behind Australia’s 52-footer Scarlet Runner, and 30 miles behind South Africa’s open 60 Explora.

Jan. 3 – Giovanni Soldini is ready for yet another adventure aboard the VOR 70 Maserati together with a top international crew: he will leave tomorrow for the Cape2Rio, a 3,300-mile non-stop offshore race from South Africa to Brazil (specifically, from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro). His teammates are Italians Guido Broggi, Corrado Rossignoli, and Michele Sighel; German Boris Herrmann; Spaniard Carlos Hernandez; Frenchmen Gwen Riou and Jacques Vincent; Dane Martin Kirketerp Ibsen; and for the first time, Monegasque “prince” Pierre Casiraghi.


They have a no easy task ahead of them: to break the current regatta record, achieved in 2000 by the 74-foot American Maxi Zephyrus IV. The U.S. took 12 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes, thanks to particularly favorable weather conditions (the South Atlantic anticyclone positioned far to the south) that allowed a direct route.


The Cape2Rio Yacht Race, now in its 14th year, is a regatta that began in 1971, in the aftermath of South African sailor Bruce Dalling’s success in the 1968 South Atlantic Single-handed Yacht Race, which took second overall and first on handicap. Dalling became a national hero, and ocean sailing began to be increasingly followed and practiced in South Africa. The first Cape to Rio saw 59 boats at the start, including an all-female crew participating in a trans-ocean race for the first time. Robin Knox-Johnston on Ocean Spirit won the first edition with a time of 23 days and 42 minutes. Pen Duick III, captained by Eric Tabarly, finished the regatta in fourth place. The third edition in 1976 saw as many as 128 boats participating, including Chica Tica II (which won the race on corrected time) and Guia III. In 1979 the finish of the race was moved to Punta del Este, Uruguay (4,500 miles from Cape Town); in 1993 it returned to Rio de Janeiro. In 2006 the name of the regatta (Cape to Bahia) and the port of arrival (Salvador de Bahia) were changed, but in 2011 it returned to being the Cape to Rio.



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