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Maserati Heading for Trade Winds

Skillful navigating and a good measure of luck allowed the VOR 70 Maserati to approach and round Cape Horn with relative ease — at least in comparison to some such adventures. But their good luck changed after rounding, as they were forced to battle headwinds for five consecutive days.

The ultra-fast offshore racer is skippered by Italian Giovanni Soldini, who, along with an international crew of eight, is attempting to break the New York-to-San Francisco sailing record, now called the Clipper Challenge Cup.

In a satphone call this morning Soldini reported that they’d found a 20-knot south wind and were sailing north at 17-20 knots. "We will meet the actual tradewinds from 30° S. On board everything is fine, both the crew and the boat are in good shape." With roughly 4,800 miles to go before reaching the finish line between Alcatraz and San Francisco’s Pier 39, they must arrive before midday on February 26 to break Aquitaine Innovation‘s record of 57d, 3h (for which they will have to average 7.14 knots) and before February 12 to break Gitana 13‘s multihull record, 43d, 38m (for which they’d need to average 14.2 knots). Follow the action here.

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By all accounts, this Saturday’s Three Bridge Fiasco was a hoot. In a normal year, the Singlehanded Sailing Society’s annual melee typically features boats drifting haplessly around the Bay en masse, but this year winds in the mid-20s delighted racers, allowing the great majority to finish.
Around 3 p.m. on Saturday, in the midst of the Three Bridge Fiasco, an unidentified sailboat collided with a tug or its tow just outside the Golden Gate Bridge, sinking the sailboat.