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Maseratiís team and Giovanni Soldini prepped for the Cape2Rio Yacht Race: the crewed race from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, casting off January 4th
Maseratiís team, led by GiovanniSoldini, is ready to face the first challenge in the Atlantic Ocean of 2014. On January 4th the Italian skipper and his crew of nine will cut the starting line of the Cape2Rio Race, the longest race between the two continents in the southern hemisphere: a 3,300-nautical mile dash from Table Bay, CapeTown (South Africa), to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

Soldini will be joined aboard Maserati by an international crew of nine: Italians Guido Broggi, Corrado Rossignoli and Michele Sighel, Boris Herrmann from Germany, Carlos Hernandez from Spain, Gwen Riou and Jacques Vincent from France, Martin Kirketerp Ibsen from Denmark and, on his first outing with the yacht, Pierre Casiraghi.

The Cape to Rio Yacht Race, now at its 14th edition, was launched in 1971, was borne out of the success of South African sailor Bruce Dalling in the 1968 South Atlantic Single-handed Yacht Race, who was second across the finishing line and first on handicap. His success turned him into a national hero, and provided sailing in South Africa with a massive boost.

The first Cape to Rio saw 59 boats at the start, including an all-female crew for the first time taking part in a race across the Ocean. Robin Knox-Johnston aboard Ocean Spirit won the first edition reaching Rio de Janeiro in 23 days and 42 minutes. Pen Duick III, captained by Eric Tabarly, finished fourth.

The third edition in 1976 drew a record entry of 128 boats, including Chica Tica II (which won the race on handicap) and Guia III.

In 1979 the finish line of the race was moved to Punta del Este, Uruguay (4,500 miles from Cape Town) and only in 1993 it returned to Rio de Janeiro. In 2006 the race became known as the Cape to Bahia as Salvador de Bahia was set as new finish line. In 2011, the race returned to its roots and Cape Town was set again as start line.

Currently the race record (Cape Town - Rio de Janeiro) belongs to Zephyrus IV, a 74ft American maxi, which in 2000 made the journey in 12 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes, thanks to favourable weather conditions that allowed him to take a direct route.

Photo : Maserati/©Sharon Green / ultimatesailing.com
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