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Giovanni Soldini and Maserati Multi 70 set sail for the 16th edition of Cape2Rio Soldini

by Team Maserati Multi 70 12 Jan 09:48 PST
Maserati Multi 70 start Cape2Rio 2020 © Alec Smith

They're off! At 14.30 local time (12.30 UTC, 13.30 Italian time) Giovanni Soldini and Maserati Multi 70's Team crossed the starting line of the 16th edition of the Cape2Rio, the 3.600-mile-long historical transoceanic race from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro.

In Table Bay's waters, before the South African city, Maserati Multi 70 and the competitor LoveWater set sail with 10/12 knots of Westerly wind. After a few minutes Maserati Multi 70's Team, on the wake of their competitor, reached the second turning mark, to the North, where the wind dropped abruptly to 3 knots, making the manoeuvres very slow and difficult. Having cleared the obstacle, the Italian trimaran was forced to sail with just the main sail to solve a technical problem: after twenty minutes Soldini's Team was able to unfurl the headsail and started chasing their competitor, a few miles ahead, at top speed.

The weather conditions expected are typical of this region, with a high pressure zone situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean: for the first 36 hours there will be a Southerly wind, that will then get lighter and turn more South-Easterly first, and more Easterly later. The Italian Team will have to find the ideal route to pass the high pressure without sailing in the middle of it and without extending the course too much.

Aboard Maserati Multi 70 the skipper Giovanni Soldini is sailing with a 7-man crew: the Italians Guido Broggi (mainsail trimmer), John Elkann (helmsman and trimmer), Nico Malingri and Matteo Soldini (both grinders and trimmers), the Spanish Carlos Hernandez Robayna (trimmer) and Oliver Herrera Perez (bowman) and the French Pierre-Laurent Boullais.

A few moments before setting sail, Giovanni Soldini commented: "I'm very happy about the great job we did in the last month and a half in the boatyard in Cape Twon, the boat is ready and the crew is super experienced. We are quite confident that we will be able to sail a good race, it will be a great challenge to hold our own against a big boat such as LoveWater, but we'll give it our best!"

LoveWater, direct competitor of Maserati Multi 70, is a 80-foot-long ULTIM trimaran, with a very skilled crew, including the skipper Craig Sutherland and the English Brian Thompson. The trimarans' start was the last one of the race: thirteen smaller boats set sail on January 4th and the big monohulls started today at 14.00 local time.

Born in 1971, organized by the Royal Cape Yacht Club and held every two or three years, the Cape2Rio is the Southern Hemisphere's longest intercontinental yacht race and has always been a legendary event for every experienced sailor.

The original course starts in Cape Town and arrives in Rio de Janeiro, but for some editions the finish line has been moved to other destinations: in the years of the anti-Apartheid protests the race finished in Punta del Este, Uruguay, and, in 2006 and 2009, in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

The current record belongs to Soldini himself: in 2014, aboard the monohull VOR70 Maserati, he won the race with an elapsed time of 10 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds.

The challenge is supported by Maserati, Main and Title Sponsor and Aon as co-sponsor, along with the official supplier for the clothing, Ermenegildo Zegna.

A special thanks also to Boero Bartolomeo S.p.A., Garmin Marine and Tarros.

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