MASERATI MULTI 70 SKIPPER Giovanni Soldini has been sailing since he was a small boy. Born in Milan in 1966, Soldini has over 25 years of making history in ocean racing to his credit, including two single-handed round the worlds. With over 40 ocean crossings to his name, Giovanni Soldini has set a great many sailing records. On February 23rd 2018 Maserati Multi 70 conquered the Tea Route record from Hong Kong to London.
You are the skipper of the Maserati sailing boat and have achieved several exceptional results. Which do you consider the most significant?
The record Hong Kong-London is definitely the most striking result, and it was also a wonderful adventure.
What class of sailing boat is the Maserati?
Maserati is a MOD70 that we modified by developing the foil system to make it fly. It was the first trimaran in the world that tested the foil on the centreboard, and when it is in flight is one of the most stable among the ocean trimarans of today.
Every how often do you have to change boats, and are the technological discoveries evolving very fast?
Sailing is a sport that is practiced with a mechanical machine, that’s why technology is fundamental and constantly evolving. We are implementing a very ambitious development program with Maserati Multi 70, and the evolution of the boat is continuously improving.
“Sailing, the sea and boats have always been my passions.”
What are the most important elements of a boat? Speed, stability, radar?
All these elements are important for the boat’s performance and security.
Are you personally involved in the building of the boats you skipper?
I personally follow the modifications and I collaborate with the designers and engineers in the design phase. Obviously I am assisted by a very close-knit group of people, who then often join the crew.
For many years you were a solo sailor and now you sail with a team. What is the difference?
When you are sailing alone you develop a special relationship with the boat. You learn to hear her voice, and you enter into close symbiosis with her. When sailing in a crew the same special relationship is with the crew.
What are your next projects this summer, the races, the challenges?
“In the Maserati Multi 70 team we try to be open and also to involve many young sailors.”
Why and how come did you decide to devote your life to sailing?
Sailing, the sea and boats have always been my passions. Even today, after hundreds of thousands of miles travelled, when I am in the middle of the sea I feel like a lucky man.
Since you started sailing, what has changed over the years in races, challenges and records?
In the last 30 years technology has revolutionized the way we live and also the way we sail. The great revolution was the advent of the satellites that allowed us to communicate, to know where we are and where we are going, and to have detailed weather information. Everything has changed. The last great revolution was foiling.
Is sailing now more competitive than ever?
I think that the regattas have always been very competitive, but in recent years, thanks to technology, the level of competition has risen considerably.
Which was the most dangerous race that you remember and which are the most challenging and dangerous seas and oceans?
I think that the sea must always be respected, and that on the wrong day, even in front of your house, Neptune can decide to make you pass or not. In some sections of navigation it is easier to realize its power and superiority. Certainly the southern oceans and northern seas are places where the violence of storms and the sea is unleashed more frequently.
Maserati Multi 70, Porto Cervo, July 2018
Maserati Multi 70, Cascais, July 2018
Maserati Multi 70, test days on the water, Honolulu, November 2017
Maserati Multi 70, Cascais, July 2018
Giovanni Soldini planning the navigation from Hong Kong – London, January 2018.
Maserati Multi 70, skipper and crew enjoy a shared moment of relaxation off Malta.
“When I am in the middle of the sea I feel like a lucky man.”
Are you ever afraid?
I think fear is very important and positive. Thanks to her we can see our limits and those of our boat.
You and your crew have to follow a very strict discipline. What does it take to prepare yourselves and the boat for a race?
Preparing for a navigation like the record Hong Kong-London means doing a great job of preparation, first of all of the boat, but also of the crew and the group.
At the end of the day, how much is unpredictable?
We always try to prepare ourselves in the best way, to manage the risk and the unexpected as much as possible. In the end, however, there is a part that we can neither manage nor control; as in life, even at sea we always need a little luck.
Can you be more specific about what these preparations consist of?
The preparation of the boat is a very important job. It is about disassembling and controlling all the parts of the boat. Maintenance is done to all the mechanical parts, to all the ropes, to the carbon parts that have suffered any damage. You check the hull and the shaft with the ultrasounds to verify that there are no delaminations, do ordinary maintenance, and try to improve what does not work well.
Do you teach and encourage young people to follow your steps?
In the Maserati Multi70 team we try to be open and also to involve many young sailors. In this sense surely Maserati is also a school, and a great opportunity for growth for everyone.
How many people are in the crew and how are they selected?
The crew changes according to the type of navigation, the duration and the type of route. In general we are 8 for medium-short regattas and 5 for long routes like the record Hong Kong-London. This is because on a boat such as the Maserati the weight is very important, and so we try to contain the amount of people and therefore the amount of food needed on long routes. Generally the crew is made up of people who know the boat well, who are selected during uncompetitive sailing such as transfers or promotional events and campaigns.
What do you eat when you are racing?
For us Italians food is very important, and so on board Maserati we try to eat very well. The diet is based on pasta and brown rice, all cooked in a pressure cooker.
Are you all equal on the boat or are there differences in status?
In general they are all excellent sailors so we are all on par. The final decisions and the global responsibility is my responsibility.
How many days at sea are the races you mention?
Maserati is a very fast boat. For a transoceanic we count 5/6 days, while for the record Hong Kong – London we have used 36.
How fast does the boat go on average? And what is the fastest speed you have ever achieved?
The maximum speed reached as of today is 46 knots. It is very easy with a good wind to maintain an average of 30 knots.
Is all this very expensive? How is it funded?
The Maserati budget is reasonable. We try to optimize the costs to the maximum while maintaining a good level of research and development and competitiveness. The budget is entirely covered by the partners of the boat, who are Maserati, Aon and Zegna.
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