Colour portrait of world famous sailor Giovanni Soldini

World record-breaking sailor Giovanni Soldini

Giovanni Soldini is one of the world’s most famous sailors, most recently setting the Tea Route record sailing from Hong Kong to London in 36 days on the Maserati Multi70. LUX Digital Editor Millie Walton caught up with the sailor at the Italian Embassy in London to hear about his most recent adventures

1. Why sailing?

I had always been interested by the ocean, being out on the water and sailing in general from a very young age. However, the defining moment when I knew sailing is what I had to do for the rest of my life, came when I was 17. I managed to convince an old American captain to take me on his boat, sailing across the Atlantic. We sailed from Palma De Mallorca to Antigua and I’ve never looked back. Not only did I pick up an incredible amount of sailing know-how on that trip, but I also learned to speak English from the captain – it really was a defining journey in my life.

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2.What’s it like sailing alone compared to sailing with a team?

People think that sailing alone must be an incredibly lonely experience, but in all honesty, you don’t have time to be lonely. Your mind is racing at 100mph at all times. There’s so much to consider when sailing solo, so you are constantly focused on not capsizing, maintaining speed, checking directions. I’d love to say that it’s therapeutic and you get a lot of time to think but the reality is that you don’t. Sailing with a team is a different experience – especially when you have such a great bunch of guys as we had in our last adventure. The little interactions with each other keep you going.

Maserati Multi 70 sailing boat pictured in action on the ocean

The Maserati Multi70 in action during the Tea Route race from Hong Kong to London 2018. Credit: Team Maserati Multi70

3. What makes the Maserati Multi70 Trimaran exceptional?

It’s just such a fantastic boat to sail. The combination of cutting-edge technology, beautiful design and performance engineering mean that I have the best possible trimaran at my disposal – much like you would have when driving a Maserati car. It is a truly unique boat for ocean racing, with its ‘Manta’ foil that keeps the boat horizontally stable when we are up at speeds of over 40knots out of the water. The adrenaline you feel at these speeds, when you are virtually out of the water flying apart from the rudders is incredible and is a feeling I haven’t been able to replicate elsewhere – except from maybe on a racing track in a Maserati.

4. What’s been your most challenging race to date?

Definitely the two Round Alone races because they were just so hard on the mind and the body. Each regatta has its own challenges anyway, they are all different and unique. The last record, along the Tea Route was very difficult because there were so many unknown factors to take into account and no matter how well you plan in advance, there is always something unforeseen happening and you just have to react as best as you can. When we broke one of the rudders we immediately went to change it (luckily we had decided to take a spare one on board) in the open sea. But not for a moment we let ourselves go, we had to find a way to carry on and beat the record and thankfully we did.

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5. You’ve broken so many records — what’s your ultimate ambition?

When I am doing something I am fully dedicated to it. So with Maserati we are currently doing a lot of research and development with the ultimate goal of creating the best trimaran for the Ocean. In the Autumn, after spending the Summer doing Drive&Sail Events we will start racing again.

Maserati sailing boat with maserati car parked in front on the road

Maserati Multi70 on the Tea Route from Hong Kong to London 2018

6. How do you relax when you’re not at sea?

I am always thinking about sailing, even when I am not on the water. I constantly imagine my next challenges or when I can next get out on the water. My family would tell you I never think about anything other than sailing. When we like to relax or go on holiday with my children, it is usually a sailing holiday – although definitely more relaxing than my cross-channel sailing challenges.

For updates on Giovanni Soldini and the Maserati team visit: maserati.soldini.it