After leaving on 18 January to attempt to break the sailing record between Hong Kong and London, the trimaran Maserati Multi 70 is now located between the islands of Borneo to the West and Sumatra to the East. The Sunda Strait, gateway to the Indian Ocean, is now less than 300 miles south.
Giovanni Soldini and Maserati Multi 70's crew - Guido Broggi, Oliver Herrera Perez, Alex Pella and Sébastien Audigane – crossed the Equator this morning at 03:13 UTC. After almost four days of navigation, today at 07:04 UTC, the cartography indicates they have travelled the first 1,408 miles of the theoretical route at an average speed of 16.2 knots. A total distance of 1,635 nm at an average speed of 18.9 knots, gaining a 468 nm lead over the reference time set by Lionel Lemonchois, Gitana 13's skipper.
“The spirit is high on board. We are all concentrated and motivated”, says Giovanni Soldini, skipper of Maserati Multi 70. “Compared to the routing simulations we made at the start, we gained about fifteen hours. We passed the worst area of the light winds bubble yesterday. Then, in order to stay in the pressure, we had to keep on jibing towards the Sunda Strait where we should arrive in about 15 hours (around 22:00 UTC on 22 January).”
“Then, after the Strait”, explains Soldini, ”we will have to see how we will manage to catch the south east trade winds in the Indian Ocean. We know the route is still very long but it would be an ideal situation to get there with a lead on the record, because we also know that Lionel Lemonchois pushed hard on the first four days across the Indian Ocean.”
Alex Pella explains: “Navigation on board Maserati Multi 70 is continuing across the incredible China Sea. It is a real slalom between islands, reefs, atolls, merchant ships and fishing vessels, which are not always well marked. It's fun from the point of view of pure navigation but it's not always easy. We still have two difficult passages to deal with before entering the Indian Ocean. We crossed the equator last night and we are going on with super conditions, stable winds from the north, a flat sea and summer heat.”
To beat the record set in 2008 by Lionel Lemonchois on board of the 100 footer maxi catamaran Gitana 13 (41 days, 21 hours and 26 minutes), the 21.20 metre trimaran Maserati Multi 70 must complete the 13,000 nautical mile route and cross the finish line under the Queen Elizabeth II bridge on the Thames before 1 March.