Given Maserati's reputation for exotic, high-performance Italian sports cars, the idea that it would set a world record isn't very surprising. What is suprising is that the record was set on water, not land. In fact, Maserati has been actively pursuing many world records in a vessel that is about as different from a V8-engined coupe as you can get. It's been sailing the world in search of prowess and prestige in a large, wind-powered monohull.
The self-named Maserati ship's time of 47 days 42 minutes and 29 seconds represents a new monohull world record for navigation of what's known as the Golden Route. The vessel, captained by Giovanni Soldini, negotiated the high seas from New York, traveled southward past the remainder of North and South America, transitioned from Atlantic to Pacific around Cape Horn, and sailed north again to San Francisco.
The Golden Route is so nicknamed because it was the route used to get from the eastern United States to California during the Gold Rush. The original record of 89 days and 8 hours was set in 1854 by Captain Josiah Perkins Creesy and his wife Eleanor Creesy aboard the ship Flying Cloud. That record stood for more than 130 years before a record of 80 days and 20 hours was set by Warren Luhrs in the Thursday's Child in 1989. Prior to Maserati and Co.'s new record, the record of 57 days 3 hours and 2 minutes was stamped in 1998 by Yves Parlier piloting the boat Aquitaine Innovations.
The Maserati swooped across the finish line, and significantly upped the ante, shaving more than 10 days off the time and coming within a few days of the overall record, set in a multihull vessel, of 43 days and 38 minutes. The overall record belongs to the Lionel Lemonchois-captained Gitana 13.
Soldini and his international crew of eight left the New York skyline behind them on New Year's Eve and battled the 13,225 nautical miles of sea before cruising below the Golden Gate Bridge at around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. During the voyage, the ship leveraged technology to keep fans and interested parties apprised of its progress. The website maserati.soldini.it updated the boat's position and posted video, messages and photos from the crew, allowing fans to follow them 24 hours a day.
As the name of the boat hints, Maserati was a primary sponsor of the voyage, seeing a world nautical speed record as a natural extension of fast cars. The boat itself is a 70-foot (21.3 m), 12.3-ton (11.1-tonne) sailing monohull.
This wasn't their first rodeo; Soldini and the Maserati vessel have teamed up on a string of consecutive record attempts, including a reference trans-Atlantic record (10 days 23 hours), the first attempt ever by a monohull, and an attempt at the Miami-New York route, which they didn't pursue ratification of because of adverse weather conditions (there was no previous record to beat).