Racing

Soldini Conquers New York-San Francisco Clipper Route Record

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On Saturday, February 16, Italian skipper Giovanni Soldini and eight crewmembers aboard the VOR70 Maserati celebrated a record-smashing victory after sailing from New York to San Francisco in just 47 days, 42 minutes and 29 seconds. They’d been sailing since December 31, 2012, on a mission to defeat the previous monohull record of 57 days and 3 hours, set by Yves Parlier aboard Aquitaine Innovations in 1998.

Maserati’s journey followed the clipper route, also known as “the Golden Route,” a historical 13,225 nautical mile journey that begins in New York, rounds Cape Horn and ends in San Francisco. The route was heavily traveled during the Gold Rush in the late 1800s and has become a coveted record challenge for both multihull and monohull sailors.

While light winds and spouts of hunger plagued the last 500 miles of Maserati’s journey, Soldini and his crew managed to maintain high spirits. Seventy miles from the finish, Soldini reported, “The wind keeps changing in direction and intensity, so it’s impossible to make a forecast. Aboard everything is fine; we try to keep our hunger at bay.”

Overall, Maserati suffered mild damage during the trip, with the most drastic repairs involving three bent aluminum stern stanchions, cracks in the rudder roll bar and damaged batten pockets. On January 24, Soldini reported that the batten pocket rips in the upper part of the mainsail “caused a hole in the mast.”

The Italian skipper describes this adventure as a “dream come true,” and is proud to have set a new record. “We are happy!” said Soldini. “The Golden Route is an historic record, a very important and challenging one. Maserati proved to be a powerful boat, a technological and reliable one. The crew has been extraordinary, [and] everyone was prepared to face even the hardest situation.” 

Photos by Bjoern Kils

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