Published: Tuesday, 02 June 2015

In 21 days, 19 hours, 32 minutes and 54 seconds Giovanni Soldini and his Maserati crew covered the Tea Clipper Trade Route – more than 7,300 nautical miles between San Francisco and Shanghai. 

New Record Set On San Francisco Shanghai Tea Route 1

Soldini and his crew – including Chinese sailor Jianghe “Tiger” Teng – completed the endeavour aboard Maserati VOR70, casting off from San Francisco at 1:52:50 GMT (3:52:50 CET) on the night of May 10 and then sprinting 7,392 real nautical miles at an average speed of 14.1 knots.

“As always, Maserati proved what an excellent craft she is and the crew made an efficient and very tight-knit team,” Soldini says. “Twenty-one days from San Francisco to Shanghai is a very impressive time and we will be requesting certification from the World Sailing Speed Record Council (the international body that certifies the best travel times of modern boats on historical clipper routes).

“Conditions were good almost the entire way and the first part of the route was very fast: it took us only six days to reach Hawaii. Then we had a good old gallop through the Trade Winds. The final section, as we neared China, was the trickiest as winds were light, but we were expecting that.” 

New Record Set On San Francisco Shanghai Tea Route.

Maserati, the main sponsor after which the yacht is named, congratulated Soldini and his international crew of eight:  Italians Guido Broggi, Andrea Fantini, Francesco Malingri and Marco Spertini; German Boris Herrmann; Chinese sailor Teng; Spaniard Oliver Herrera Perez; and Swede Andreas Axelsson. 

New Record Set On San Francisco Shanghai Tea Route

The cutting-edge and adventurous clippers of the 1800s plied the Tea Route from San Francisco to Shanghai (a parallel route compared with the more classic London-Hong Kong one). The clippers competed to set new speed records on the spellbinding and historic 7,315-mile dash across the Pacific Ocean. 

The fastest of them all, however, was Swordfish, commanded by Charles Collins, which in 1853 completed the passage in 32 days and 9 hours, an average of 225 miles a day, slashing two days off the previous record set by Romance of the Sea.

“Retracing the historic routes of the great navigators of the past is incredibly fascinating,” Solidini says. “We did it three years ago with the New York-San Francisco Clipper Route.” 

Aboard Maserati he set new Cadiz-San Salvador and Gold Rush Route records, sailing 13,225 nautical miles from New York to San Francisco in 47 days, 42 minutes and 29 seconds.

Soldini, 49, has more than 20 years’ experience in ocean regattas, including two single-handed around-the-world races (one victory and one second place), six Québec-Saint Malos (one victory in the monohull category), six Ostars (two victories in the 50ft class and in the 40ft class), three Jacques Vabres (one victory in the 40ft class), and more than 40 transoceanic races.

The Maserati VOR70’s next event is in Australia, where in late-December she’ll take part in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, one of the world’s most famous and challenging regattas.