One of our favorite all time skippers is about to go flying. Giovanni Soldini is in the process of purchasing the MOD70 Edmund de Rotchschild from Gitana team. Soldini will continue testing the foil configuration of the boat, and is expected to repaint her in Maserati colors. Where he shows up after that is anyone’s guess, but it is presumed he will continue to attempt to chase new records as he has with the modified Volvo 70 Maserati.
Presumably Gitana has learned all they care to learn from the foiler (remember one side had a C-Foil and the other a J) and are incorporating the data in their new Ultime.
This is an interesting development for MOD70’s. Immediately we wonder if a foiling Maserati may line up against Phaedo and Concise? Will either of those two boats take the plunge and retrofit foils? And what of Spindrift 2 MOD70 (currently repaired and for sale for a cool 1.7 million). If someone gets that boat and starts to campaign her, we could see four of the 7 MOD70’s back in action against each other. Oman could also easily come into the mix, as well as Orion from San Francisco. We presume Race for Water is under repair. It certainly seems that a new “organic” MOD70 race circuit may develop on its own as the various new owners of these boats begin to enter existing events around the globe.
In other news – Giant trimaran Macif is undergoing her winter refit after her trip around the Atlantic as a result of the Transat Jacque Vabres. The Macif team is working to improve the already impressive reliability of the trimaran including re-doing her electronics. They are also re-designing the cabin to improve ergonomics and lessen the strain on skipper Francois Gabart. They too have made a decision regarding foils and are adding a Port side foil identical to the existing Starboard foil – tho the exact configuration is not known exactly. The foils and rudders will be equipped with fiber-optic cables for real time observation. Gabart was out and about on the teams Diam 24 recently smoking along at 30 knots with J foil on one side and a C on the other! While the exact foil and rudder configuration remains a bit of a mystery, we can be assured Macif will be terrifyingly fast.
To fly and control such oceanic trimarans was preposterous even two years ago – and yet, here we are with two top racing programs skimming the surface. It is yet to be seen if flying trimarans will be more structurally reliable than their IMOCA60 monohull cousins. We hope that the lessons learned by the IMOCA designers have found their way to the trimaran projects. Regardless, it is a spectacular achievement.