Maserati record attempt thwarted

Maserati Challenge 2012
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The Maserati crew have returned to Charleston after their rudder was damaged while sailing toward Cape Hatteras last night. Maserati's windward rudder sustained significant damaged after hitting a chunk of wood in the Atlantic. Once in Charleston, the rudder will be immediately replaced with a spare.

The boat set off yesterday at 1:30 a.m. local time for a 24-hour monohull record attempt. They were sailing offshore to place themselves in the perfect conditions 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 missed opportunity to reach the best weather.

Giovanni Soldini, reached on the phone, explained: 'It was night, 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 analyze 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 record attempt, monitored by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, is currently held by the VOR 70 Ericsson 4 for monohulls. 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.

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