THe 33 year old Italian takes four days off the record

After being caught in light airs for the last few days on his final home, Giovanni Soldini finally caught the wind and charged into Charleston, SC to win the single handed round the world race, Around Alone.

Crossing the finish line at 0132 (0632GMT) local time here in Charleston he set a new record for the 26,000 mile course of 116d 20h 7m 59s, taking four days and 21 hours off the previous best time set by Christophe Auguin in the 1990/1 race.

His white hulled Open 60 Fila surfed into the South Carolina port broad reaching at 15 knots under full mainsail and masthead genniker. Despite the late hour he was welcomed on the water by more than 20 press and spectator boats and on the dockside at the City Marina, by hundreds of well wishers. On the finish line the 33 year old Italian set off his customary flare. The boat was then boarded by race officials, his shore crew and his father, Adolpho.

Following a disastrous first leg to Cape Town, the charismatic Italian has won every leg of Around Alone. During the third leg from Auckland to Punta del Este he rescued Isabelle Autissier from her capsized yacht. He won that leg with Autissier on board after a war of attrition between the Open 60s and was the only boat in this class to finish unscathed.

In the final leg north back up the Atlantic to Charleston he had to contend with Marc Thiercelin, back in the race after fitting a new rig to his boat. However Soldini chose a better route through the Doldrums creating a lead which Thiercelin was unable to reel back.

“I think we won this race because we are a great team and the race was before the start with all the preparations to make the boat fast and sure,” he commented shortly after docking Fila to rapturous applause.