Giovanni Soldini

BBSoldiniFace.jpg (14451 bytes) Foto Billy Black

Date of Birth: 16 May 1996
Nationality: Italy
Boat name: Fila
Boat Length: 60’
Yacht Designer: Groupe Finot
Sponsor: FILA

Born in Milan, Italy, he, inspired by his father’s hobby, began sailing when he was 15 and crossed his first ocean at 17. During the 1992 Europe I Star, his 50-footer hit a growler. Soldini managed to fix the leak and still came in second place. Then in the Quebec, Canada - St. Malo, France Race, Soldini's boat lost its keel and capsized 800 miles from the finish. He became the first Italian to complete a solo circumnavigation in the BOC Challenge. In his first BOC Challenge in 1994-95, Soldini came in second in ClassII. In 1996 he won the Europe I Star solo Trans-Atlantic race and set a new record.

Soldini lost his best friend and co-designer of his new Open 60 FILA to the sea. Andrea Romanelli went missing during FILA's attempt to break the Atlantic speed record from Sandy Hook off New York, to Lizard Point on the western point of England. Soldini, Romanelli, Bruno Laurent and Andrea Tarlarini set out from New York at the end of March 1998. The attempt was going well and the crew looked set to smash the existing record. But just 400 miles from the finish the team was hit by a huge storm with 80-knot winds. During the night of 3rd of April a huge wave rolled the boat. When she righted herself the mast was lost and so, tragically, was Romanelli. In addition, a Coast Guard helicopter had to be called to winch a critically injured Tarlarini off FILA.

Despite the tragedy and only five days after the team stepped the new mast in La Rochelle, Soldini took a part in Atlantic Alone race from Falmouth, England to Charleston, U.S. and won. Before the Around Alone 1998/99, Soldini placed first 11 times and second twice in his last 14 races he competed in.

His Open 60 FILA was a team effort. He worked with the designer Finot and his friend and crewmate Romanelli to resolve problems with the design. Soldini had asked designer Finot to move the keel more than the recommended 10 degrees to help with self-righting.

Soldini loves to eat and cook which went well with his sponsor - pasta company Barilla. In Around Alone 1998-99 he was sponsored by FILA, the international clothing and shoe company.

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