Maserati on the Home Stretch

For most sailors, 900 miles of offshore sailing is a substantial distance. But for legendary Italian ocean racer Giovanni Soldini and his international crew aboard the VOR 70 Maserati, that distance is merely the final sprint of their 14,000-mile Clipper Challenge Cup attempt. Having departed New York on New Year’s Eve, they are expected to cross the finish line off Pier 39 sometime before the weekend. And if they do, they will have shattered Yves Parlier’s 1998 monohull record (57d, 3h) by more than 10 days.

Although Soldini has seen his fair share of adversity during a lifetime of ambitious offshore racing, Lady Luck seems to have been riding with him during almost all of this romp around South America. While Parlier faced 40-knot headwinds for 500 miles on the approach to Cape Horn, Maserati slipped around that notorious headland with relative ease. And she also got through both the Atlantic and Pacific doldrums without major slow-downs — New York to San Francisco voyages during the Gold Rush area, by the way, averaged about 200 days.

Currently positioned at 23.35° N (approaching the latitude of Baja California’s Mag Bay), Maserati is working through an area of 6- to 12-knot  winds. “We are heading toward the center of the high pressure area positioned northwest of San Francisco,” Soldini explained this morning. “Then we’ll tack toward the land. We are already dreaming of drinking an ice cold beer.” No doubt.

We hope you’ll join us in welcoming Maserati as they pass through the Golden Gate — especially if it happens during the daylight hours. Cheering previous record-setters has become a proud tradition within the San Francisco Bay sailing community, so stay tuned for updates here and at the official website. (If the team enters at night, they may do a re-enactment or ‘trophy run’ the next day for the benefit of adoring fans and the press corps.) With any luck, it will soon be time to ice down the champagne.

Courtesy of www.latitude38.com

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