Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Maserati Yacht Arrives in San Francisco Bay Video

Yacht "Maserati" Sets New San Francisco Sailing Record N.Y. To S.F
Following the Clipper Ship Era Passage from New York to San Francisco Via Cape Horn
February 16th, 2013

The 70 Foot Yacht "Maserati" sailed into the San Francisco Bay early on February 16th, 2013.  Skippered by Giovanni Soldini, "Maserati" broke the record for a single-hulled sailing vessel making the passage from New York City to San Francisco via Cape Horn in just 47 days, 2 hours and 33 minutes. The Clipper Ship era passage is a 13,225 mile voyage,  "Maserati" beat the the Clipper Challenge Cup record by 10 days which was set by French "Aquitaine Innovations" in 1998. 

The Golden Gate Bridge is the line of demarcation for record setting passages, but this historic finish line was between Alcatraz and Pier 39.  I caught up with "Maserati" and her crew just after she passed under the bridge. In 2008, Lionel Lemonchois set the world record for a multi-hulled catamaran with the "Gitana 13" at 43 days, 3 minutes and 38 seconds. I was also on the Bay to greet "Gitana 13" which was an equally flat, glassy and windless morning. The sailing passage around Cape Horn was made famous by the clipper ship the "Flying Cloud" in 1854 with 89 days and 22 hours which was spectacular for the Gold Rush days. Previously it had taken about 200 days. It was dubbed the Route D'Or. Apparently there is no established finish line for the Challenger Cup. The Gitana 13 used the line between Alcatraz and Coit Tower, Maserati used the line between Alcatraz and Pier 39. It will never make much of a difference unless it comes down to close time for the record. Some people count the Golden Gate Bridge as the line.

Skipper Giovannii Soldini let a an international crew of 9. Most of the team had sailed together in part but never as a whole. The crew included: Guido Broggio as boat captain, Boris Herrmann as Navigator, Corrado Rossignoli as watch leader, Jainghe Teng as grinder and trimmer, Michele Sighel as media-man, American Ryan Breymaier as watch leader, Sebastien Audigane as helmsman and trimmer and Carlos Hernandez. Five languages were spoken on board. 

Ryan Breymaier, the American on board, described the best of their sailing conditions to me. "The first 3 days leaving New York. You know you pick your weather when you leave and so we were able to sail very fast downwind." he explained and then added "I think we did 1200 miles in 3 days.".

The 13,225-mile voyage is considered one of the most difficult hauls in sailing, Rounding the Horn, under sail on a non-stop passage of more than 3,000 miles passing through the latitude of 50 degrees south both east and west of Cape Horn, grants sailors eligibility to apply for membership of the exclusive International Association of Cape Horners; an organization worthy of respect whose origins lie amongst those who rounded the Horn as professional seamen serving upon the tall ships of the Clipper era. There are no exceptions to the strict joining criteria. It is the 'Mount Everest' of ocean sailing.

Giovanni Soldini said the sailing conditions where next to perfect. He also added that the sailing under the Golden Bridge was "Bellisimo".

I followed the yacht Maserati on their website as they made their passage. I was not expecting them until the 19th but I woke up on Saturday and their twitter feed said "they will be here by 9 am". Paul Dines of SFBayAdventures.com provided me with a photo-boat and captain to greet her and the crew. We barely made seeing her pass under the Golden Gate Bridge with the accompany spraying fire boat, but were with her along with a flotilla of welcome wishers as she crossed the historic line. Paul Dines captaining his schooner "Freda B" was there and offered the Maseratti and her crew some beers. I delivered them and then was invited on board by Skipper Giovannia Soldini. That is about as good as it gets for me! Nothing like being on board a boat that just went around Cape Horn full of handsome sailors. I watched them celebrate, smoke cigarettes, eat, drink and take down the sail for the first time in 47 days.

Maserati, the famous luxury car maker, sponsored the 8 million dollar yacht along with BSI, Generali, Vodaphone, Bulgari and Italian Food company called Eataly. I heard specifically about the food company while on board.
Maseratti sailed into pier 39 where she and the crew were welcomed by fans on the dock and presented with the Challenger Cup. The Italian Consul General, Mauro Battocchi was there to welcome the team. Maserratti will remain in San Francisco for repairs and special events.


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