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Rolex Middle Sea Race - Leader Phaedo3 misses mark

A navigation error has put leading multihull, Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 Phaedo 3, back behind rival Giovanni Soldini's MOD70 Maserati in the battle for line honours and a new course record.

At about 20:30 CET on Sunday 23 October, Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 Phaedo 3 rounded Pantelleria and was 11 miles ahead of rival Giovanni Soldini's MOD70 Maserati.

The American multihull looked firmly on course to repeat last year’s success and in doing so set a new course record.

But, in early hours of this morning, Monday 24 October, their assault began to unravel.

While heading towards Lampedusa, the next mark of the course, Phaedo3 surprisingly tacked north east on reaching Linosa, some 24 miles short of Lampedusa.

In the absence of news from the boat, it would be another 40 miles and around 3 hours before it became apparent that things were not going according to plan.

At around 05:00 CEST Phaedo turned around and retraced her track back to Lampedusa.

Phaedo3 Co-skipper Brian Thompson offered little insight into the reason behind the drama, merely confirming there had been a navigation error:

“Last night we scored an ‘own goal’. We have rectified our mistake and are carrying on to the finish.”

Meantime Maserati rounded Lampedusa just before dawn and instead of a deficit found herself basking in a 65-mile lead.

Phaedo3 eventually reached Lampedusa some four hours behind Maserati.

Both Maserati and Phaedo3 are expected to finish well inside present record time.

The first to finish will almost certainly be the new record holder. But, first, one of them has to finish.

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