We interviewed Giovanni Soldini during his journey on the Maserati that set sail on 31st December and successfully beat one of the most exhilarating records in sailing history.
The challenge faced by Giovanni Soldini and his crew of eight sailors reached a triumphant conclusion. They covered the 13,225 miles separating New York from San Francisco in 47 days, 42 minutes and 29 seconds to obliterate the previous record.
The incredible feat was backed by Maserati, the main partner after which the boat was named, and the Swiss bank BSI (the Generali Group) and by Generali which were co-sponsors.
The official suppliers for the challenge were Vodafone Italia, which supplied telecommunications services and produced the official website, Murphy&Nye, the sailwear brand that kitted out the entire Maserati team, Bulgari, which was the Official Time Keeper, and Boero Bartolomeo S.p.A., which supplied enamels and paints for the hull. Other sponsors on board Maserati included Eataly, which stocked the galley, Beta Utensili, which supplied all the professional tools, Corderia Lancelin, which provided special ropes and cables, FPT Industrial, which offered technical support for the engines, Jeppesen supplied the maps, B&G Navico ensured instrumentation support, and Cantiere Picchiotti in La Spezia was the Maserati’s home while on dry land and the port authorities in La Spezia provided the Maserati’s home once in the water.
“We’re delighted,” said Soldini upon arrival. “The Golden Route is an historic, very important and particularly challenging record. Now it will bear the colours of the Italian flag. Maserati proved to be a powerful, technologically advanced and very reliable boat. The crew has been extraordinary; they were all very well equipped to tackle even the toughest situations. I would like to thank all my companions in this adventure and my partners – Maserati, BSI and Generali, who enabled all of us to make our dream come true.” The 13,225 miles of sea that separate New York from San Francisco when sailing around Cape Horn represent an historic route that was widely used by clippers during the gold rush in the mid and late 1800s. One of the most famous clippers is an exceptional ship from the Boston shipyards called Flying Cloud, which took 89 days and 8 hours to reach San Francisco in 1854, a record that remained unbeaten for over 130 years. After numerous attempts by many different boats, Warren Luhrs’ 60-foot Thursday’s Child docked in San Francisco in 1989 after 80 days and 20 hours.
Then Isabelle Autissier made the journey in 62 days and 5 hours on board Ecureuil Poitou in 1994.
Yves Parlier got the record down to 57 days, 3 hours, and 2 minutes with Aquitaine Innovations in 1998. This was the record that Giovanni Soldini and his crew were trying to beat with the Maserati VOR70; and they succeeded. Maserati was taken to the KKMI shipyard in Richmond, San Francisco, two days after their arrival for the maintenance required after covering more than 14,000 miles. Giovanni Soldini and the entire Maserati team will take part in the Transpac Race (www.transpacrace.com) from Los Angeles to Honolulu in July, which is open to monohulls and multihulls, with a delayed start from 8th July, depending on the classes participating. Maserati will set sail on 13th July. The race starts from the lighthouse at Point Fermin, San Pedro, Los Angeles, and ends in front of the Diamond Head volcano, Oahu, Hawaii (not far from Honolulu).
Cosa la spinge nella sua passione per la navigazione?
I’ve always loved travelling and sailing, so long trips on a sailboat combine my two main passions in life.
What’s your diet like during the races?
Eating properly is very important when sailing; it gives you energy. And of course eating nice things is also good for the soul.
What’s your favourite dish when sailing?
I usually eat pasta and brown rice but we also have couscous, vegetables and dehydrated meat on board prepared by the great chef Ugo Alciati.
How is food stored in the galley?
We don’t have a refrigerator because it’s too heavy. Cooked meals are dehydrated using a special colddrying process by chef Alciati and stored on the boat.
Why did you choose Eataly to supply your galley?
Eataly guarantees the best quality ingredients, and Alciati did an excellent job cooking and dehydrating the delicious dishes for Maserati.
Do you miss anything about your life on dry land?
Yes, loads of things, such as a refrigerator with a nice cold beer or a good wine.
Chef Ugo Alciati – My freeze-dried dishes
“Due to weight restrictions the boat doesn’t have a refrigerator and so I tried to find a way to make up for this. During Soldini’s race we reproduced a diet that had already been successfully tested, and worked out a correct daily diet that was divided into lots of small meals containing the right amount of calories. These meals were made with top-quality ingredients and then dehydrated. Industrial foods containing preservatives and artificial colours are usually used in these types of situations. They are dehydrated using heat which creates a granular product that tastes a bit like “chicken food” when rehydrated. So we got together with Criofarma, a company from Turin, which uses a pressure-based freeze-dying process that enables cooked food to retain its aromas and flavours as well as its colour and shape. This technology means that food can be stored at room temperature for more than two years. Starting with top-quality ingredients but without using additives or preservatives is what made this the winning solution, and thanks to our work with Eataly, the galley supplier, we succeeded. We prepared a range of different dishes for the race that were organised into a series of three menus which were alternated.”