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Libby Greenhalgh reviews the Rolex Middle Sea race on Maverick

Libby Greenhalgh reviews the Rolex Middle Sea race on Maverick

Just over a month ago I joined Team Maverick on their Infiniti 46 with DSS Foils for the Middle Sea Race. This 600 mile race typically provides all weather conditions and as always an absolutely stunning backdrop to the race.

This year was no exception the forecast was for a strong NNW winds, in the region of 35+KT from a little over 24hours into the race, it was enough or  some to consider not starting and overall resulted in a war of attrition during the race with roughly only half the fleet finishing.

We had a couple of days of light to moderate wind training before the start. Allowing me to get up to speed with the boat and understand how and where the performance of the boat changes with the deployment of the foils.

We started amongst all the big boats in the small and beautiful Valletta harbour looking like a fly buzzing around the bigger animals. A short sprint downwind and we are all heading off to Sicily just cracked off the wind. As the breeze pushes above 8-10 KT and the boat reaches maximum power the foils can be deployed on both sides, to act as righting moment to windward and to provide lift and stability this is particularly beneficial as the sea state worsens.

With the bright orange aeroplane wing foils deployed the boat sits at an optimal heel angle of about 10 degrees and sounds like a rocket trying to take off.
— Libby Greenhalgh

The boat is responsive and light on the helm and with the foils deployed we powered upwind in the building breeze once past Stromoboli. The effect of the foils on the stability and reducing the pitching of the boat in a big sea state makes going upwind almost a pleasure.  As you gradually bear off as always you eventually hit the power zone and from a True Wind Angle of 070 or wider you feel the boat accelerate and you need to level her off to keep her quick, it can be fairly easy to over trim in this situation.

The real fun with the boat started when we turned the corner and headed downwind and the boat lit up. With the bright orange aeroplane wing foils deployed the boat sits at an optimal heel angle of about 10 degrees and sounds like a rocket trying to take off. The aeroplane like foils self adjust the lift, as the boat lifts and the foil comes to the surface then the lift reduces which means despite it being howling winds the  foils can still be used. The water piles over the deck like fireman’s hose blasting at you which does at times make it pretty hard to stay on the side of the boat, but with boat speeds in excess of 20 KT an peaking a 27+KT is pretty impressive for a 46 footer.

Under three days to complete and we drying out back ashore as the 4th boat to cross the line behind largely 100 FT boats. All in all a boat that is a lot of fun, a team that is a lot fun and I am looking forward to sailing this boat again in 2018.

Libby Greenhalgh

#BeaMaverick #FollowTheStory

Experiencing foiling for the first time...

Experiencing foiling for the first time...

Joining us for a delivery Hannah Diamond talks foiling for the first time and all things Maverick!

A few hours after landing from my own Middle Sea Race Experience I was hurriedly re-packing my bag to head back out to Malta to deliver Maverick to Palma en route to the RORC Transatlantic start. I had been following the boat as I knew a couple of the team and saw their great result in the Middle Sea Race and jumped at the chance to have a go with the DSS foils - there’s not too many boats out there yet with these revolutionary appendages so it was definitely an experience to go for!

Fortunately all of the boats from the race had finished when the storm hit Malta with up to 50 knots which delayed the departure of many boats back to their home ports but it meant that I had a chance to fly out and jump on board literally as the boat was leaving the dock on its way to Palma. After a quick run through from Nikki, she threw us our lines and we headed off into the sunset for 750 nm of sailing North. The first night was pretty light winds with a bit of swell which was perfect for getting used to where everything was led to on the boat - no sail changes in the dark! From there we had a bit of everything weather wise, I woke up during my off watch to water screaming past the hull and footsteps up and down the deck as a second reef was put in, it sounded very wet but I jumped into my kit for my watch and had 4 awesome hours sailing between 12 and 14 knots of boat speed in ‘throttle back’ mode - it would definitely be cool to see what the boat can do in race mode! The foils made it so easy to just sit on the back of a wave and hold speed for miles and miles!

After a quick pit stop in Sardinia to refuel ourselves and the boat we headed back out and onwards to Palma, enjoying some awesome sunrises on my watch, a few dolphins as well as the amazing 3 in 1 coffee sachets which have revolutionised my offshore coffee drinking!

We arrived in Palma and it was straight into mini-refit mode for the boat, Kees and Eric had been compiling a jobs list throughout the delivery and the four of us got to work. It was really cool to be part of Team Maverick for the week and see how much effort everyone is putting in to make sure the boat is in the best possible place to put in a good result in the Transat!

Hannah Diamond