Maserati abandons 24 hour record attempt
Last night, sailing toward Cape Hatteras, Maserati's windward rudder was seriously damaged after hitting a chunk of wood in the Atlantic. The crew has returned to Charleston where Maserati's rudder will be immediately replaced with a spare.
The boat set off yesterday at 01:30 local time to make an attempt on the 24-hour monohull record. They were sailing offshore to place themselves in the perfect conditions ahead of a cold front, which looked to be an excellent chance for high speeds. The record attempt has been postponed due to the rudder damage and the opportunity to reach the best weather now gone.
Giovanni Soldini explained: "It was night and we couldn't see anything. We hit a chunk of wood with the windward rudder. Air bubbles formed along the side of the rudder: it doesn't work any longer and suffers from cavitation. We are forced to return to Charleston as we have no possibility of attempting the record in this condition."
The crew returned to the Seabreeze Marina in Charleston early this morning. A diver will inspect the hull and ensure there is no additional damage from the incident. The Maserati crew will analyse the weather once again to investigate another possible weather window for taking on this challenging record. This ambitious race against time is one of several records that Giovanni Soldini and his international crew aboard Maserati will attempt in the months ahead.
"We are all pretty disappointed," said American crew member Brad Van Liew. "It is frustrating because the weather system looked like a good opportunity for the record and these ideal conditions don't come along very often."
The 24 hour record is currently held by Maserati's sistership the VOR 70 Ericsson 4. Between October 28 and October 29 2008, during the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, Brazilian sailor Torben Grael and a crew of ten people on board of Ericsson 4 sailed 596.6 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of 24.85 knots. Maserati, the former Ericsson 3, should be in better shape to get the record if the right conditions materialise as she has been lightened and is no longer in VO70 trim.