Maserati and Giovanni Soldini have set a new record in the Cape2Rio, the longest race between two southern hemisphere continents. They covered the 3,300-mile route from Cape Town, South Africa to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in a blistering 10 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds, slashing more than two days off the previous record held by American 72’ Zephyrus IV (12 days, 16 hours, 49 minutes).
The crew of the Italian boat crossed the finish-line on the night of January 14th at 23.29 GMT (21.29 local time and 00.29 Italian time on January 15th), taking both line and handicap honors in the process.
Soldini is flanked by a nine-man international crew: Italians Guido Broggi, Corrado Rossignoli and Michele Sighel; German Boris Herrmann; Spaniard Carlos Hernandez; French sailors Vincent and Gwen Riou; Dane Martin Kirketerp Ibsen; and, for the first time, Pierre Casiraghi of Monaco.
Maserati cast off from Cape Town at 12.00 GMT on January 4th with a fleet of 34 other yachts of various sizes. The Italian boat was the only 70’ taking part this year. A ferocious storm sorely tested the fleet on the first night, lashing it with winds of up to 60 knots. Many yachts were forced to pull out and a tragic accident aboard the Angolan Bavaria 55 Bille resulted in the death of a crew member, 47 year old João Bartolomeu. Details of the circumstances have not yet been released by the organisers.
“The Cape2Rio is a race I’ve been dreaming about doing since I was a kid,” Soldini declared on arrival at Rio. “The right opportunity presented itself this year because in November Maserati was in China for several events there and we had to get her back to New York for our second attempt on the Atlantic record. The start was very tough because of a cold front associated with a deep depression. We stared off very cautiously, deliberately undersailed, and we didn’t haul at all for the first two days. Unfortunately, there was a horrible accident that really left its mark on the whole race. The minute the wind dropped we hit the accelerator, heading north to skirt the high pressure area. That put an extra 600 miles on our route but it was worth it. We managed to keep a consistently good gradient, good speed and good wind. Maserati was really at her best and we’re all very happy. Our return to Brazil closes a circle for us, one begun a year ago when we left New York to break the New York-San Francisco record. Maserati has sailed around the world and she’ll soon be ready to get going again too.”
After the prize-giving Maserati will begoing to a yard in St. Petersburg, in Florida for some maintenance work in preparation for her new attempt on the west-east Atlantic record (New York to Lizard Point).