Transportation to Sardinia was a more straight forward exercise compared to the beginning of the season. Our logistics expert Keith Fear made the journey in three days from our base in the South West to Poltu Quatu on the North coast of Sardinia. Arriving ahead of schedule Team Silverline was the first of the Teams to arrive and took the prime spot in the dry pitts. The remainder of the team flew from London and upon our arrival we had the luxury of the whole Silverline camp having been established and set up for us by Keith.
Having travelled from Malta to the UK for an engine rebuild, following the Malta Grand Prix, we had also had the opportunity of a days testing in Torbay two days before everything left for Sardinia. The testing went well so our arrival in Sardinia we were all set for practise on the race course at the first opportunity.
The weather in Sardinia was 40 degrees Celsius and conditions in the cockpit were extremely warm with race suits and life jackets. Some teams used ice filled waistcoats and others water cooling suits, we settled for Skins cooling vests with ice spray which helped a little.
Friday was Power Pole day and team Silverline achieved the 5th fastest lap due to a complication with planing the boat on the start run, to which we have now designed a modification to aerate the super cavitation propellers for faster acceleration from a standing start. In the Supersport class team Rotary Watches nose dived in a patch of rough water resulting in the front 3 metres of the boat being broken off. The crew were taken to hospital and remained there for the week end. The throttleman suffered a dislocated shoulder, fractured leg and head injuries while the driver suffered a broken nose and black eyes. The remainder of the boat was badly damaged from the impact and soon sank in 80-90 metres of water and is feared lost.
The remainder of Powerpole ran with out incident.
Saturdays racing was in the continuing heat of 38-40 degrees and on route to the racecourse just off the town of Porto Cervo there were many pleasure boats between the islands which held up Team Silverline. A radio message was sent to the start boat informing them of our delay and confirmed, however when we had cleared the spectator boats we found that the start had already commenced. We continued along the start run but were almost half a lap behind. We pushed hard to try and make up ground which was successful however as this was the sprint race we had insufficient time to make up sufficient ground. We successfully finished in fifth place. Following the race we made our representations to the race committee however the start official thought we had made the start line and had difficulty looking into the sun towards the fleet with all the spray. Apologies were made by the start officials but unfortunately we had no recourse. First place went to Italian team Mettamarine, second to Lucas oil and third to Ukranean Spirit. Upon examination of the lap times our times were similar to the Ukranean Spirit with some very close to Lucas Oil.
Sundays race was in the same conditions as Saturdays race, this time a false start complicated procedures resulting in a poor starting position for Silverline, however by the first buoy we had caught the fleet and heading down the straight section of the course we had moved into fifth position with the fourth place very close by. Hitting 104mph at the end of the straight we had a hydraulic steering junction failure resulting in a rapid loss of hydraulic steering fluid and consequently no steering. We managed to bring the boat to a halt without incident but unfortunately our race was over. First place went to Belgian team Furnibo, second Mettamrine and third Ukranean Spirit.
Team Silverline is now back in the UK and making preperations for the Marathon Series World Cup, starting with the Needles trophy off Bournemouth Bay 14th August, won by Team Silverline in 2009, followed by the Cowes Torquay Cowes race and the International Harmsworth trophy on August Bank Holiday week end.
Pictures by GrandPrixoftheSea.com - Karel Overlaet