Giovanni Soldini's Maserati speedster

The Italian skipper on his modified VO70 and record program
Mari Cha IV’s nine year old monohull record for the west to east crossing of the North Atlantic came under threat earlier this month when Giovanni Soldini’s modified VO70 Maserati was at one point 200 miles ahead of the pace of Robert Miller’s mighty 140ft schooner. Unfortunately Maserati's attempt came acropper when the weather failed to materialise mid-Atlantic. “When we started all the weather models showed that in the back of the cold front there was plenty of northwest wind, but when we arrived there the reality was that on the back of the front was a ridge of high pressure,” Soldini admitted to us. “We were working with meteo people and we tried to pass the ridge to the north and it was still possible to break the record even with the ridge, but the problem was we went very far north and then we caught the northwesterlies but they were only 8-9 knots. The boat speed was around 10 knots but then the pressure, instead of going down, suddenly started to go up again and the wind went down a little bit...” This was despite no shortage of input on the weather and routing from experts ashore, Soldini working as usual with Pierre Lasnier in France, but also Ken Campbell from Commander’s Weather in the USA and a new company in Belgium that runs models and routing, providing percentage chances of outcomes occurring. “It was very interesting with the ridge - that night he [the Belgum router] ran the 170 models and he said you have a 49% of a chance. And it was true. I was feeling that we were 30 miles away from the good wind. But no luck. We ended up at 57degN!” Soldini’s initial plan with the former Ericsson 3 VO70 was to compete in the present