Maserati ahead of Mari Cha IV's record pace

Giovanni Soldini's modified VO70 passes Newfoundland

Friday May 11th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Since setting sail from the Ambrose Light, off the entrance to New York Harbour, at 0720 UTC on Wednesday, so Giovanni Soldini and the crew of the modified VO70 Maserati were trailing the pace set by Robert Miller's mighty Mari Cha IV in their bid to beat the 140ft schooner's record time for the west to east crossing of the North Atlantic. However at 1748 GMT last night, Maserati changed a gear and slipped by Mari Cha IV's relative position and at 1136 GMT this morning has extended her lead to 186.4 miles.

At this point Maserati was just passing the southeasternmost tip of Newfoundland, some 36 miles offshore, and was making 22 knots in 25 knots southerlies between an intensifying depression over Canada and the giant zone of high pressure that is currently straddling the North Atlantic.

Giovanni Soldini writes: "I am very pleased with the new crew that is getting along really well, more than I expected. Just after a few hours, it looked like we had been sailing together for years! We have finally caught the wind we were expecting and we are keeping a southern route so that when the wind increases we will be able to move quickly east. Heading north will be easier this way. I hope we don't come across too many floating icebergs tomorrow."

Weather-wise Maserati is looking to be in good shape. In 24 hours time the centre of the high is shifting towards Southern Ireland, although its western lobe continues to extend out into the Atlantic and Maserati will be sailing along the northern edge of this. As a result over this period she will see the wind veering from the south into the southwest. Also good news is that she should be able to stick pretty closely to the great circle and as a result won't have to sail any needlessly excess miles. Over Saturday to Sunday the wind will soften to around 15-20 knots but still enough to keep the boat going at pace, and it will continue veering which will probably require a gybe. Later on Sunday they should start feeling the effects of the depression to the north of the British Isles when the wind will back into the southwest. Come Monday the high's centre eases back to the west causing the wind to return to the northwest for Maserati and while the high does move east with them on Tuesday, with any lucky they will be far enough ahead of it to stay in pressure.

So watch this space.

Chart above courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and GRIB (GFS model) from PredictWind

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