Tomorrow January 11th 2020, at 14.30 local time (12.30 UTC), in Table Bay – the bay before Cape Town –, Maserati Multi 70 and Giovanni Soldini will cross the starting line of the 16th edition of the Cape2Rio.
After the record set by Giovanni Soldini in 2014 aboard the monohull VOR70 Maserati (10 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds), the Italian Team is back to sail the 3.600 miles from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro aboard the trimaran Maserati Multi 70. Their direct competitor is the maxi 80-feet trimaran LoveWater, skippered by Craig Sutherland.
There are three different starts for the 25 boats entering the race: thirteen smaller boats started on January 4th, the bigger monohulls will start tomorrow at 14.00 local time and the two faster multihulls at 14.30 local time.The competing boats will head North West towards the island of De Trindade, from where they will then set course towards Rio de Janeiro.
The only other Italian entrant is Federico Borromeo’s Southern Wind 102 Almagores II, skippered by Andrea Henriquet.
Soldini explains: «LoveWater is a super trimaran of the ULTIM class, the giants of the sea: it’s 10 feet longer than Maserati Multi 70, so it’s potentially faster. Our strong point are the foils, that allow us to fly over the water, waves and wind conditions permitting. It will be quite a battle, we will do our best!»
Aboard LoveWater sails an experienced crew, including the English Brian Thompson, great sailor and expert of ocean multihulls. Among his significant results, worthy of note are the victories in the 2006 Volvo Ocean Race aboard Mike Sanderson’s ABN AMRO ONE and in the 2012 Jules Verne Trophy aboard Loick Peyron’s Banque Populaire V. Thompson is also former skipper of MOD70 Phaedo3 and crewman of the trimaran Argo, both of which have been challenged many times by Maserati Multi 70.
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 race historically attracted many Italian participants: the only other Italian winners besides Maserati are Giorgio Falck’s Guia III and Carlo di Mottola Balestra’s Chica Tica, respectively winners of handicap honours and handicap Trophy in the 1976 edition. The same year also the great sailor Ida Castiglioni participated aboard Kiaola II with an all-female crew.
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 protests against the Apartheid the race finished in Punta del Este, Uruguay, and, in 2006 and 2009, in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.
Maserati Multi 70’s crew is made up of 8 sailors:
- Giovanni Soldini (IT), skipper – he has 25 years of ocean racing experience, including two single-handed round the worlds, six Québec-Saint Malos, six Ostars, three Transat Jacques Vabres and more than 40 ocean crossings. Aboard VOR70 Maserati he achieved many victories and major records, including the Cadiz-San Salvador (2012) and the New York San Francisco Gold Route (2016). In 2016 he started the new challenge at the helm of Maserati Multi 70, aboard which he set the record for the Tea Route, from Hong Kong to London (2018), as well as winning many ocean races. In 2019 he crossed in first place the finish line of the RORC Caribbean 600 setting the new race record.
- Guido Broggi (IT), mainsail trimmer – he is Maserati Multi 70’s boat captain, has thousands of miles of ocean sailing under his belt and has been working alongside Soldini for many years, since he was team leader in the building and in the racing preparation of 60’ Fila in 1998. He is a permanent member of the crew and he participated in all the races aboard the trimaran, including the Tea Route record.
- John Elkann (IT), helmsman and trimmer – Chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. He is a sailing enthusiast and has sailed extensively with Giovanni Soldini since 2009. He participated in many races and record attempts aboard VOR70 Maserati and, aboard Maserati Multi 70, he participated in the Transpac in 2017.
- Carlos Hernandez Robayna (ESP), trimmer – he has many years of sailing experience, has raced in various classes and has sailed alongside Soldini in several regattas and ocean crossings, including the Cape2Rio 2014, setting the record aboard VOR70 Maserati. In 2019, aboard Maserati Multi 70, he participated in the RORC Caribbean 600 and in the Transpac.
- Oliver Herrera Perez (ESP), bowman – throughout his career he raced aboard Ims 500s, Swan 45s and Rc44s. He was part of Soldini’s crew for all the deliveries and races in the past few years, including the Tea Route record.
- Nico Malingri (IT), grinder and trimmer – he has conquered two double-handed records with his father Vittorio Malingri aboard a 20-foot-long catamaran: the Marseilles-Carthage in 2016 and the Dakar-Guadeloupe in 2017. He first raced aboard Maserati Multi 70 in 2018 for the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
- Matteo Soldini (IT), grinder and trimmer – Giovanni’s nephew, he has many transoceanics under his belt and has participated in many races, including Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Swan Cup and Mini Fastnet. He has been part of Maserati Multi 70’s Team for all the deliveries and the boatyards and, since 2018, he is permanent member of the crew for the races aboard the trimaran.
- Pierre-Laurent Boullais (FRA) – he is a sailing enthusiast. He already participated in ocean races with the Italian Team, among which the 2013 Transpac aboard VOR70 Maserati.
Maserati Multi 70’s crew arrived in Cape Town in mid-November, after a quick delivery from Singapore, and started working in the boatyard right away. Giovanni Soldini explains: «After many miles of sailing we had to do ordinary maintenance work aboard, but most important of all we’re very happy that we were able to implement some of the improvements to the aerodynamics, studied with the Maserati Innovation Lab’s engineers. It’s a long process that will last for some time and we can’t wait to test the latest developments in a regatta!»
The Cape2Rio is the first regatta in Giovanni Soldini and Maserati Multi 70’s 2020 racing season. After arriving in Rio de Janeiro, the Italian Team will sail first to St. Maarten for the Caribbean Multihull Challenge (14th-16th February), then to Antigua for the RORC Caribbean 600 (24th February). Next Giovanni Soldini and his crew will try to beat two important records: the Atlantic Record, from Bermuda to Plymouth, and the Channel Record, from Cowes to Dinard. Finally, Maserati Multi 70 will participate in the first edition of the Super 8 Race, which starts and finishes in Genova, and the Rolex Middle Sea Race, in October 2020.