Line honours, overall victory and a new record
Giovanni Soldini and his crew aboard their modified VO70 Maserati have set a new record in the Cape2Rio race. They covered the 3,300 mile route from Cape Town, South Africa, to Rio de Janeiro in 10 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds, slashing more than two days off the previous record of 12 days, 16 hours, 49 minutes held by the American Reichel Pugh 77 Zephyrus IV .
The crew of the Italian VO70 crossed the finish line on last night at 23.29 GMT (21.29 local time), taking both line and handicap honours in the process in the Cape2Rio.
Soldini was sailing with an impressive 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 from Monaco.
Maserati set off from Cape Town at 12.00 GMT on 4 January in a fleet of 34 other yachts of various sizes. The Italian boat was the only 70 footer taking part this year. A ferocious storm sorely tested the fleet on the first night, encountering winds of up to 60 knots. Many yachts were forced to retire and there was tragedy 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,” said Soldini upon his 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 under sailed, 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 stay in consistently good gradient wind making good speed. Maserati was really at her best and we’re all very happy. Our return to Brazil closes a circle for us, one that 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 prizegiving Maserati will set sail for a yard in St Petersburg, Florida for some maintenance work in preparation for her next attempt on the west-east transatlantic record from New York to the Lizard.