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New York to San Francisco sail record attempt.
Giovanni Soldini leaved New York leaved New York on a Volvo 70 (Maserati) and seems to have a good head start over the 15 year old monohull record of Yves Parlier. Should not be difficult given the advancements in boat design but I don't think he can beat the absolute sail record from Lionel Lemonchois in a multihull, 5 years ago.
13225 nautical miles separate New York from San Francisco via Cape Horn, a historic route, widely travelled by clippers (huge and fast sailing ships with three or four masts and square sails used for ocean voyage in the second half of the nineteenth century) that were involved in the gold rush.
In 1848 the discovery of gold deposits in California led the American colonists living on the east coast of the United States to start long journeys towards gold. They had to choose between two possible routes: cross the country by land with the danger of Indian attacks or sail around the South American continent against the waves and winds of Cape Horn.
This mythical cape lies on a long continental shelf where the seabed suddenly falls down from less than 100 metres to over 4,000 metres. This extraordinary difference in depth creates huge waves in the current clash between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Hard conditions for those who travel from west to east, much harder for those who try to do it the other way, challenging the headwinds.
As a consequence of the gold rush, San Francisco Port recorded an amazing increase of the incoming ship traffic: from only 2 boats between April 1847 and April 1848, it received up to 800 ships in 1849, with a total of 91.400 passengers. Between 1850 and 1854 American yards built 160 clippers. Those who managed to get to San Francisco were making the journey in about 200 days.
In 1850, the first real competition between clippers saw Samuel Russel running the route in 109 days. From that time on, the records were gradually recorded. The best result of the time was set in 1854 by Flying Cloud, exceptional vessel from the Boston shipyards, that reached San Francisco in 89 days and 21 hours, a record that stood for more than 130 years. The success of Flying Cloud was due to a well-matched crew: Captain Josiah Perkins Creesy and his wife, Eleanor Creesy, a scholar of ocean currents, meteorology and astronomy.
After several attempts by many boats, the 60-foot Thursday’s Child of Warren Luhrs arrived to San Francisco after 80 days and 20 hours in 1989. Few years later, in 1994, Isabelle Autissier on board Ecureuil Poitou took 62 days and 5 hours. Then, in 1998, Yves Parlier on board Aquitaine Innovations has dropped to 57 days, 3 hours, 2 minutes. This is the reference record for Giovanni Soldini and his crew who will try to beat it aboard the VOR70 Maserati, from the end of December 2012.
The overall record in the multihull category belongs to Lionel Lemonchois that made the journey in 43 days and 38 minutes aboard catamaran Gitana 13 in 2008.