Yesterday, on Friday May 13th, at 7.00 pm, on the eve of the regatta, Giovanni Soldini stopped in Procida, where the awarding ceremony of the Sports Ethics Prize instituted this year by MARetica took place. MARetica is the event that proposes four days of sport and culture in Procida to “rethink mankind starting from the sea” and that this year will return to the island from 8th to 11th September with a programme full of events as part of Procida Italian Capital of Culture 2022.
The sailor arrived on the trimaran Maserati Multi70 and was welcomed by Alessandro Baricco, president of the MARetica Award, the organisers Domenico and Gianni Scotto, and also Eugenio Michelino and Renato Marconi, president and CEO of the Marina di Procida, as well as the island’s mayor Dino Ambrosino, tourism councillor Leonardo Costagliola and the director of Procida 2022, Agostino Ritano.
To Soldini, the MARetica jury recognised the essence of its inspiring principle, “rethinking man starting from the sea” with the following motivation:
Soldini has dedicated 20 years of regattas, more than 40 trans-oceanic races, and two solo round-the-world races to going to sea, but not in solitude: the first ethical value recognised by the jury is precisely that of having rejected the egoic extremism always on the alert under the heroic guise of Odysseus or the tragic one of Ahab. Whether this refusal manifests itself in his preference for sailing with a crew because it is ‘more fun’ or in his constant concern for the environment, it is certainly his focus on the sea as a manifestation of the other that in 1994/95 led him to undertake his first solo circumnavigation of the globe on a boat called ‘Stupefying,’ built by former drug addicts in the Saman community facilities in Latina. And it was the help of an endless number of friends, acquaintances and professionals that got him to the starting line of that regatta. It is therefore no surprise that the figure of Soldini will forever be linked not only to his many victories but also, and above all, to the memory of that 16 February 1999 when he astounded the entire world by not hesitating between responding to the ‘law of the sea’ to the detriment of the ‘law of the race’, coming to the rescue of the French sailor Isabelle Autissier, shipwrecked in the South Pacific.
Since then, Soldini’s name has continued to be linked as much to the quest to surpass himself as to the scientific-environmental quest, aptitudes that have already earned him awards such as the Navy Cross of Merit, the appointment as Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and the French Legion of Honour. And it is precisely the latest commitment taken on by Soldini at the dawn of his last victorious transatlantic regatta (Rorc) in January this year that convinced the jury to award him the MARetica prize. Without interrupting his racing activities, Soldini has put his trimaran Maserati Multi70 at the disposal of the UNESCO Decade of the Sea and is turning it into an oceanographic laboratory for the analysis of carbon dioxide in the sea surface.