Modena, 23 February 2018 - They did it! At 13h20'26” UTC, Maserati Multi 70 passed under the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge to cross the finish line of the Hong Kong-London Tea Route. Giovanni Soldini and trimaran crew composed of Guido Broggi, Sébastien Audigane, Oliver Herrera Perez and Alex Pella completed the 13,000 nautical mile course in a record 36 days, 2 hours, 37 minutes and 2 seconds. This was an improvement of almost a week on the previous record (5 days and 19 hours) set by Gitana 13, a 100-foot maxi catamaran that completed the route in 41 days in 2008. On the ground, the Italian trimaran travelled 15,083 nautical miles at an average speed of 17.4 knots.
After crossing the finish line, Skipper Giovanni Soldini said: "We are super happy but also very tired. The last 48 hours were very tough. Sailing in the Channel upwind with a lot of breeze, a lot of sea and terribly cold. We are very happy with how things went. The last stage was the most difficult. With more favorable conditions in the Atlantic, we could have gained another 3 or 4 days, but that's okay. In fact, it could not have gone better. Technically the boat is perfect. Since the Maserati Multi 70 last left the boat yard, we have sailed more than 19,000 miles and everything onboard is fine. Without doubt the preparation by Guido and the team made the difference. They are an excellent crew."
The challenge was supported by Maserati, as main sponsor, Aon, as co-sponsor, Ermenegildo Zegna, as official supplier for clothing.
UPDATE: The World Sailing Speed Record Council confirmed the world record on March 6, 2018.
Jibing in the South China Sea
After setting out on January 18th, for the first two days the crew took advantage of the North Easterly wind, making a series of jibes to get closer to the southern tip of Vietnam. Day 3 saw the first transition with little wind off Singapore. On Days 4 and 5, the crew still sails with light winds to pass the Sonda Strait and enter the Indian Ocean with a two-day advantage over the Gitana 13.
Full throttle in the Indian Ocean
On Day 6, the first in the Indian Ocean, the boat crosses a tropical depression located to the South West of Sumatra. From Day 7 to 9, Maserati Multi 70 sails downwind at high speed on the direct route in the south-eastern trade winds of the southern hemisphere, recording the best sailing day with 644 miles travelled in 24 hours. On Day 10, the rudder under the right hull breaks following a collision with a floating object. On Day 11, the broken rudder blade is replaced. The Maserati Multi 70’s advantage drops to its lowest point of less than 250 miles. On Day 12, the boat exits the trade winds and passes a high-pressure neck. The three following days see the passage of three cold fronts. Maserati Multi 70 reaches the southernmost latitude of the route, around 38°S. The boat passes the Cape of Good Hope on Day 16 with a five-day lead over Gitana 13.
South Atlantic along the African side
The South Atlantic climb begins downwind. On Day 19 the eastern option is chosen for the crossing over the Equator. From Day 20 to 23, Maserati Multi 70 heads for West Africa following the direct route, passing the Gulf of Guinea. The Equator is passed on Day 22. Maserati reaches its maximum lead of 2,046 miles ahead of the record.
An unusual route also in the North Atlantic
An unexpected light breeze bubble slows the landing in Sierra Leone on Day 23. The boat has to pass through doldrums and a stationary tropical depression near the coastline. An atypical high-pressure front off the Azores remains, it is impossible to avoid it passing to the West, so the boat continues along the eastern route. From Day 25 to 30, Maserati Multi 70 makes several tacks along the coast of West Africa up to the Canary Islands. The advantage remains constant at around 1,200 miles. On Day 31, the boat begins sailing upwind against a North Easterly breeze; Maserati Multi 70 is getting closer to the coast of Portugal. The boat sails very fast in the second part of the Bay of Biscay crossing.
The English Channel upwind and the Thames downwind
Maserati Multi 70 enters the English Channel before dawn on 22 February. On Day 35, the boat begins between the coasts of Cornwall and Brittany and continues towards the southern coast of England, before resuming the tacking sequence along the coastline, with freezing temperatures. The following day, early in the morning, the trimaran enters the Strait of Dover and turns the south-eastern end of England to go up the Thames estuary, then the river up to the Queen Elizabeth II bridge. The boat crosses the finish line on February 23rd at 13.20 UTC.