After over 30 hours of racing at speeds approaching 40 knots, MOD70 Zoulou sailed by Erik Maris (FRA) won Multihull Line Honours in the 2023 RORC Caribbean 600 by just 11 seconds. Zoulou completed the 600-mile race in just under 31 hours. Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 (ITA) endured the pain of coming second after another photo-finish; Maserati was also second last year by just two minutes from Jason Carroll’s record-breaking MOD 70 Argo.
Zoulou Crew: Erik Maris, Ned Collier Wakefield, Thierry Fouchier, Loick Peyron, Bruno Jeanjean, Bruno Mourniac, Thomas Le Breton.
“That was an incredible race with such a close finish,” commented Zoulou’s Erik Maris. “We were ahead until midnight on the first day but we lost Maserati when they were very fast on their foils going down to Guadeloupe. Maserati sailed really well on the second day but on the penultimate leg (Barbuda to Redonda), they lost themselves under a cloud, just as Zoulou had done in the RORC Transatlantic Race. We came back together and the lead changed many times on the leg to Redonda. The last leg was really tough as the wind speed and direction was very unstable, but we managed to pass them on the one that counts. It was as close as it gets; an incredible finish and great fun. I decided to get into the MOD70 Class to do all the RORC races, that was the plan and we intend to do the Rolex Fastnet Race later this year.”
Zoulou’s tactician is Thomas Le Breton who has competed in the Laser, Finn, AC45, SailGP and the GC32 Circuit, but this was Le Breton’s first RORC Caribbean 600. Le Breton described the strategy and the tactics for the last leg from Redonda to the finish.
Maserati Multi70 took the lead for the first time from Zoulou after rounding Saba at around midnight on day one of the race. Using their foils Maserati extended their lead, touching 40 knots of boat speed on the long leg down to Guadeloupe. Having built-up a 13 mile lead, Maserati then got caught under a cloud and lost the breeze after passing the penultimate mark of the course at Barbuda. Zoulou then came into Maserati with the pressure to catch up to stage the grandstand finish.