The Italian Almanac

Alessandro di Benedetto

Italian News - July 28

An Italian sailor is on the closing stretch of a record-breaking solo crossing of the Pacific. Alessandro di Benedetto called in Sunday to say he was ahead of schedule on his bid to become the first person to steer a vessel without a cabin - in his case, a six-metre catamaran - across the world's largest ocean.

"The weather's been pretty ropey over the last week but it's all right now," di Benedetto told supporters back at the Japanese port of Yokohama. He was taking advantage of the break in the weather to make "much-needed repairs" to his solar panels and automatic pilot, he said.

The 36-year-old is about three-quarters of the way along his voyage. He is now set to reach the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in mid-August - more than a month ahead of his original schedule. He's now some 1,200 nautical miles away, already in US territorial waters. Di Benedetto slipped out of Yokohama on his daring bid on July 9.

A geologist, he has been planning his historic endeavour for the past three years, fitting preparations around his job with Italy's road-and-motorway company ANAS.