Sailing Maserati to the Starting Line

CHARLESTON — The Canadian model predicts four days at sea, the U.S. model predicts three, and the European model … well, that’s a bit much to run just for a delivery. Either way, the current course of Charleston to New York is significantly shorter than the one slated to start in about two weeks: an attempt to beat the monohull record for New York to San Francisco via Cape Horn.

The goal for that trip is 40 days, though the time to beat is a little over 57, a target set by Yves Parlier on Aquitaine Innovations in 1998. Veteran Italian sailor Giovanni Soldini will guide Maserati — a Volvo Open 70 modified to be significantly lighter — across some 15,000 miles, possibly more depending on whether the winds cooperate.  And it’s especially hard to get them to go your way around the treacherous tip of South America.

Bjoern is the on-board photographer for the Charleston to New York leg, a 600-mile journey that brings Maserati around another troublesome Cape — Cape Hatteras — although barrier islands don’t look quite as intimidating as massive rocky cliffs blasted by a roiling Southern Ocean.

It’s been a long journey to the starting line for Soldini and crew. They spent an unanticipated 28 days at sea after leaving La Spezia in early October, sentenced to time in the Caribbean as they waited for Hurricane Sandy to blow through.

After about three weeks in Charleston, the team got underway today around 2 pm, and Bjoern managed to transmit a few on-board photos while he was still close enough to the coast to have reception. Enjoy!