It's game on in the thrilling race for multihull line honours in the RORC Transatlantic Race, with Giovanni Soldini's Maserati Multi70 and Peter Cunningham's MOD70 PowerPlay expected to arrive at Camper & Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina in the early hours of Saturday morning – and with 400 miles to go, it is impossible to predict the winner.
The Italian trimaran, Maserati Multi 70, has reported surfing at 30 knots of boat speed: "The swell is gentle and long and we're able to skim over the waves. PowerPlay has been chasing us for days without giving an inch; it's going to be like this until the finish line," commented Giovanni Soldini.
International Maxi Association member Pier Luigi Loro Piana, racing super maxi, My Song, is also locked in a battle with a 'virtual rival'.
With 1,300 miles to the finish, My Song is estimated to be just seven hours behind the monohull race record set by Jean-Paul Riviere's French Finot-Conq 100, Nomad IV in 2015.
In the Class40 division, Catherine Pourre's Eärendil has stretched out a substantial lead after Henrik Bergesen's Hydra suspended racing in the early hours of Friday 30th November to effect repairs in the Cape Verde Islands. Eärendil was over 200 miles ahead of Stephane Bry's French-Finnish team racing Sirius. Hydra is expected to resume racing today.
"Just when we were at our most vulnerable, three days out and starting to think we were in control, the Atlantic rose up and reminded us of who was boss," commented Pip Hare from on board Hydra.
"It started with a tack line slipping and ended with one of our team in the water cutting shreds of spinnaker from around the rudders. Two hours later we had taken our medicine and Hydra was flying south again.
“On deck, the plumes of spray sparkled silver in the moonlight, which made them look very pretty before they slapped you in the face. Our eyes are red with saltwater, foreheads are crusty with salt.
“But we are smiling. Below decks the noise is a cacophony of swirling and slapping, amplified and in stereo, but it doesn't matter because when you fall onto that bean bag, nothing will stop sleep from coming. Hydra has been down, but she is not out, and there are over 2,000 more miles to battle it out," Hare finishes.
Franco Niggeler's Swiss Cookson 50 Kuka 3 was the most southerly of the RORC fleet, some 600 miles below the rhumbline and over 1,700 miles from the finish. A close battle is developing between Arto Linnervuo's Finnish Xp-44 Xtra-Staerk and Trevor Middleton's British Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep.
Xtra-Staerk was just nine miles ahead on the water after six days and nights of racing. However after IRC time correction Black Sheep was estimated to be leading their rivals. Swiss First 47.7 Kali, skippered by Corinne Wirth was going well. Surfing down Atlantic rollers at double digit speed, the Corinthian team will be celebrating racing through the 1,000 mile barrier later tonight.
Race Minisite: http://rorctransatlantic.rorc.org