GIOVANNI SOLDINI. THE HISTORY OF A MODERN “PIRATE”
“H e was a man who must have traveled everywhere, at least in spirit”. A phrase taken from the novel “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne and which describes Giovanni Soldini as if it had been tailor-made for him. It was not only with his mind that he did his travelling, in fact this Italian skipper actually did travel everywhere, and he did it on his own boat. The Milanese mariner can boast of having sailed all (or almost all) the seas and oceans of the world and he recently set a new record for the crossing from Hong Kong to London. Other than the 80 days imagined by Verne to circumnavigate the globe: for Giovanni Soldini and his crew, aboard a Maserati Multi 70, 36 were enough. A little over a month to complete the journey, beating the previous record by 5 days: despite many difficulties (headwinds, bitter cold, high seas, thunderstorms and a broken rudder) Soldini, aboard his 21 meter trimaran, completed the trip in 36 days, 2 hours, 37 minutes and 2 seconds. He shares the record with four other crew members: an Italian, two Spaniards and a Frenchman, plus a meteorologist on land who kept in constant contact with him to advise of the weather conditions awaiting him on the open sea. Giovanni Soldini crossed the finish line under Queen Elizabeth Bridge in London on 23rd February 2018, allowing himself a celebratory moment or two at the end of the trip. “We are super happy but also tired”, the sailor announced on landing. “The last 48 hours have been very tough. In the Channel with high winds, rough water and terrible cold. The record attempt went really well, we are very happy with our voyage”. An achievement with historical significance for Soldini and his team: the route taken by the Maserati Multi 70 intersected with the historic one of the clippers which brought tea from China to England in the second half of the nineteenth century.
This is merely the latest of the adventures characterizing the career of the skipper from Lombardy: in fact Soldini has achieved, amongst his many “outings”, two solo world circumnavigations and a record time for completing the historic route from New York to
San Francisco: 13,219 nautical miles, passing Cape Horn and completed in 47 days (beating the previous record by 10 days). In 2014 another record fell, further enriching Soldini’s extraordinary list of achievements: the crossing between Cape Town and Rio De Janeiro in 10 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds. “You must admit that you’ve found a most agreeable way to show how the earth has shrunk; simply because now, one can go round the world in three months…” and nowadays, considering the achievements of Soldini, those lines, penned by Verne in 1872, will bring a smile to the lips of anyone re-reading them.