Sailor Soldini's no stranger to his multinational crew

Sailor Soldini's no stranger to his multinational crew
From left: Giovanni Soldini (Italy), Gwen Riou (France), Andrea Fantini (Italy), Oliver Herrera (Spain), Corrado Rossignoli (Italy) and Martin Kirketerp (Denmark) on board the Maserati Soldini Racing Yacht at Marina at Keppel Bay on Monday. The language barrier is often the crew's biggest challenge.

Imagine putting your life in the hands of someone you have just met, and who may not even speak the same language as you do.

Now imagine doing it several times a year, for weeks at a time.

Welcome to the life of Giovanni Soldini, skipper of the Maserati Soldini Racing Yacht.

Over the last two years, the Italian has sailed across the globe - from Spain to the Bahamas, from the United States to Britain and, currently, from Singapore to South Africa.

And he has done it with a constantly changing crew, comprising different nationalities.

"It can be strange when you have guys from France, China, Italy and Spain working together," Soldini told The Straits Times. "Fifty days at sea - that's a long time. Obviously, there will be difficult moments but, basically, everybody's focused on their jobs."

Those jobs, mind you, are essentially 24/7 during races. Working four-hour shifts, sleeping in hammocks and cooking out of mess tins are part and parcel of life on the 20m monohull.

But the biggest obstacle for the multinational crew is, arguably, the language barrier.

"We try to speak English but as you can guess, it's a big mess," said Italian Andrea Fantini, 30.

Bowman Oliver Herrera's lack of proficiency in the language, for example, was evident during the boat's maiden visit to Singapore earlier this week.

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