Maserati at Cape Horn

Giovanni Soldini's modified VO70 currently ahead of Gitana's outright record pace

Tuesday January 22nd 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

At 15.37 GMT Maserati rounded Cape Horn against the prevailing wind and dominant streams on her New York-San Francisco record attempt on the so-called 'Gold route', made famous by the clipper ships during the Californian gold rush.

Having left New York on New Year's Eve, Giovanni Soldini and his crew of Guido Broggi, Corrado Rossignoli, Michele Sighel, Sébastien Audigane, Boris Herrmann, Jianghe Teng, Ryan Breymaier and Carlos Hernandez reached Cape Horn in 21 days, 23 hours and 14 minutes.

Maserati managed this in record time, considering that the outright record holder, the 110ft maxicat Gitana 13, in 2008 only rounded Cape Horn after 22 days, 7 hours and 25 minutes, i.e. 8 hours longer than the Italian modified VOR 70. However this was also because Gitana was forced to stand-by for five days before rounding Cape Horn due to strong winds.

"We are really happy" said skipper Giovanni Soldini immediately after rounding the Horn. "We have made great time so far. We have been stuck in a windless area just 10 miles from the Cape. Then – a couple of hours ago – we were just in time to haul in the J4 and hoist the Code 0 and a reef when gusts of 20-25 knots suddenly arrived. We are now sailing in 35 knot gusts as expected. The wind is going to increase more over the next few hours. Our strategy will be to exploit the slightest change in the wind direction in order to head quickly towards the west and then north, parallel to the Chile coast.”

To break the New York-San Francisco, set in 1998 by Yves Parlier and the crew of the IMOCA 60 Aquitaine Innovations, Maserati must reach San Francisco in a time of 57 days, 3 hours and 2 minutes, but clearly they will also be gunning for Gitana 13's outright record time of 43 days, 3 minutes and 38 seconds.

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