PEO­PLE

GIO­VANNI SOLDINI. THE HIS­TORY OF A MOD­ERN “PI­RATE”

All About Italy (USA) - - Photoreportage - Alessandro Creta

“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.

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