Italian sailor Giovanni Soldini takes first place in the Artemis Transat, Class 40 fleet 29/5/08

At 07:11 local time Wednesday (11:11 GMT), Italian solo sailor, Giovanni Soldini, crossed the finish line of The Artemis Transat race in Marblehead, USA. On a clear early morning with a biting 18-20 knot north-westerly breeze, Soldini and his one year-old Proto Class40, Telecom Italia, completed the North Atlantic crossing in 16 days 22 hours and 11 minutes, having lead the 11 boats in the Class40 fleet since passing Lizard Point on the south coast of England during the first night of the race.

Since crossing the start line on Sunday 11 May, Giovanni Soldini’s experience and tactical analysis kept him at the front: “I’m feeling very good, obviously,” the 42 year-old said after stepping onto the pontoons after the finish. “The race for me was pretty good.”

One major feature that intensified tactics was the inclusion of an ice gate, installed by the Artemis Transat Race Direction team to keep the competing yachts clear of an area of icebergs drifting southwards off Newfoundland: “The ice gate was difficult, making me go against the Gulf Stream and stay in the south. Normally, we would sail a much more northern route, so we were a bit limited in our tactical options.”

Soldini’s tactical decisions ensured that Telecom Italia usually kept a good distance over the rest of the fleet. However, the Italian was quick to admit his own faults and also to praise the other competitors in the race: “In the final days, I didn’t do so well, so they caught me up. Beluga Racer (Boris Herrmann) especially.”

The Artemis Transat is the third victory for Soldini’s Telecom Italia, after taking first place in the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre in November 2007 and the Grand Prix Petit Navire in France earlier this year.