Giovanni Soldini and Maserati Multi 70’s Team are ready for a new big challenge, the Cape2Rio 2020, 3.600 miles from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro. The start is a little more than 24 hours away: tomorrow January 11th at 14.30 local time (12.30 UTC, 13.30 Italian time) Maserati Multi 70 and their competitor, the 80’ LoveWater, will cross the starting line in Table Bay, before Cape Town, and will head North West towards the Island of Trindade, before setting course to the finish line in Rio de Janeiro.
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 weather models show conditions that are typical of this region, with a high pressure zone in the middle of the Atlantic ocean: for the start is expected a Southerly wind between 15 and 20 knots, that will then get lighter and turn more South-Easterly first, and more Easterly later. Giovanni Soldini comments: «The weather we’re expecting for the first half of the race seems ideal. We will have to find the right balance to sail around the high pressure without extending our course too much».
Aboard Maserati Multi 70 skipper Giovanni Soldini will sail with an international 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.
Maserati Multi 70’s direct competitor, LoveWater, is a 80-feet French-owned trimaran of the ULTIM class, the giants of the sea: it is 10 feet longer than the Italian trimaran, so it is potentially faster. Aboard LoveWater, alongside skipper Craig Sutherland, there is a skilled crew, including Brian Thompson, expert of ocean mutltihulls. 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.
The only other Italian entrant of this edition is Federico Borromeo’s Southern Wind 102 Almagores II, skippered by Andrea Henriquet.
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 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.