Giovanni Soldini and his crew departed New York Harbor on a clear and cold New Year’s Eve aboard the Volvo Open 70, Maserati, in the hope of breaking the New York to San Francisco record. Soldini hopes to beat the 13,225-nm mono-hull mark set by Yves Parlier in 1998. Parlier completed the voyage in 57 days, three hours, and two minutes aboard the Open 60 Aquitaine Innovations. The original sailing record between the two cities stood for 135 years. It was set in 1854 by the clipper ship Flying Cloud at 89 days and eight hours.
As a skipper, Soldini’s credits include two solo circumnavigations and 30 trans-ocean races. For this record-breaking attempt, the multi-national crew includes Boris Herrmann, Ryan Breymaier, Sebastien Audigane, Carlos Hernandez, Jianghe Teng, Guido Broggi, Michele Sighel, and Corrado Rossignoli. Their course will take them southeast from New York, hoping for high pressure over Bermuda. Maserati will then enter the trade winds and head south to round Cape Horn, and on to San Francisco.
Other sailors who have attempted the route include Warren Luhrs whose 60-footer Thursday’s Child arrived in San Francisco after 80 days and 20 hours in 1989; Isabelle Autissier on board Ecureuil Poitou in 1994, 62 days and five hours; and in 1998, record holder Yves Parlier on board Aquitaine Innovations.
The overall speed record in the multihull category belongs to Lionel Lemonchois who completed the voyage in 43 days and 38 minutes in 2008 aboard Gitana 13, a MOD70 catamaran.