One of Italy’s favourite sailing sons, Giovani Soldini, is best known for his single-handed sailing successes, winning and placing second in two around-the-world races. He has contested six Ostars (two victories in the 50ft class and in the 40ft class), three Jacques Vabres (one victory in the 40ft class), and more than 40 transoceanic races. This will be his and the boat’s first Rolex Sydney Hobart. He says: “It is a race at the highest level. Maserati will have to deal with true racing yachts.” The yachtsman’s main aim has been to capture race records with the yacht that started life as Ericsson 3 and finished fourth overall in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race.
In 2013, crew Soldini shaved 10 days of the 13,225nm New York to San Francisco record, in 47 days 42mins. In January, they set a new Cape2Rio record, the longest race between two southern hemisphere continents, covering the 3,300 mile route from Cape Town to Rio in 10 days, 11hrs 29mins 57secs, slashing more than two days off the previous record. And in May, set a new Pacific Ocean record of 21 days, 19hrs 32mins 54secs for the 7,000 mile route between San Francisco and Shanghai. She will provide great competition for the newer V70, Black Jack, and others. While the Aussies may have the local knowledge, the Italian entry has put in serious miles, including sailing the boat from the USA to Australia. Pierre Casiraghi – the son of Caroline Princess of Hanover and the late Stefano Casiraghi, will be aboard, adding a touch of royal glamour to the race.
|C Castellano, P Casiraghi, F Malingri (6), L Wadley, C Rossignoli, C L Hernandez Roba (1), N Vindin, T Brown, S Goodchild, M Herrera Perez, G Broggi