G Spot the star of Swan Croatia Challenge
G Spot the star of Swan Croatia Challenge
The Swan Croatia Challenge launched the ClubSwan Racing season in sensational style this week with a range of wind and weather conditions delivering exceptional racing for the 10-strong fleet of one design ClubSwan 36s.
Based at the ACI marina in the historic and atmospheric Croatian port of Split, the race teams were first greeted with a classic 'Bora' wind - a strong North-Easterly breeze - on the Adriatic Sea, which soon dropped to provide ideal race conditions, which returned again on the second day.
By contrast, the penultimate day of the first regatta of The Nations League 2023 produced a slight breeze requiring the crews to showcase their light wind racing skills and tactical know-how. A lack of wind on the final day on Saturday curtailed further racing.
However, Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio's G Spot had already demonstrated she is one of the boats to beat this season, with the Monaco-flagged ClubSwan 36 taking victory in all five races held.
That said, Edoardo Ferragamo's Cuordileone (ITA), Edoardo and Vanni Pavesio's Fra Martina (ITA), Nikolai P. Burkart's Goddess (GER), Lorenzo Mondo's Farstar (ITA), Haakon Lorentzen's Mamao (BRA) and Richard Thompson's Black Seal (GGY) had all claimed at least one podium finish during the regatta, leaving two of the top-three spots up for grabs all the way to the final race.
At the end Cuordileone was able to hold off Fra Martina, who had overtaken Farstar in pursuit of a top-three finish, but the plaudits deservedly went to G Spot, the star of the Swan Croatia Challenge.
"This is the first time in my life that we have been able to achieve five bullets out of five races, so we are very happy," said a delighted Giangiacomo. "The crew is fantastic, and we have done well because we have been sailing together for a long time. It is a good feeling."
Like most teams in the ClubSwan Racing family, G Spot's crew is a mix of committed Corinthian sailors and pro-racers, including Olympic sailors, the Slovenian Karlo Hmeljak and the Italian Michele Paoletti.
And another pro, Croatian Olympic skier turned offshore sailor Ivica Kostelic, an ACI ambassador, raced with the Go Racing - University of Split team on the Wednesday.
As the first event in The Nations League 2023, the Swan Croatia Challenge has seen Italy take the top spot in the inter-nation contest courtesy of Cuordileone's and Fra Martina's combined score in second and third places. The League will be contested by all four ClubSwan Racing One Design classes across six more regattas throughout the season.
Aside from the excitement on the water, the owners, crews, and families and friends were treated to daily prize-givings, dinners and regatta village parties courtesy of ACI Sail and JK Labud, the local yacht club who also provided expert assistance on the water. Day 3 prize-giving was powered by ClubSwan Racing Technical Partner Garmin Marine and during the final prize-giving La Thuile - a Swan One Design Nations League 2023 Lifestyle Partner - offered the prize of a Ski Pass at their resort on the slopes of Mont Blanc for one lucky sailor.
And in a new move for 2023, Sailmon are providing The Nations League with their state-of-the-art tracking and replay system, which was greatly appreciated by the attending teams.
“Congratulations to the winner, Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio and the whole G Spot team for their superb results. Our season’s kick-off could not be better, within the extraordinary setting of ACI Marina Split and its surroundings," said Federico Michetti, Head of Sports Activities at ClubSwan Racing.
"It was a gorgeous week both at sea and ashore, with tricky and challenging conditions for the teams. Great smiles on the dock are the perfect way to dive into another fantastic season."
It was a view fully endorsed by ACI d.d.'s CEO Kristijan Pavić: "Last year, the ClubSwan 36 Europeans here in Split marked the perfect ending to the racing season, and this year's Swan Croatia Challenge was a superb start for The Nations League 2023. ACI with ACI Sail is honoured to be hosting another great Clubswan36 event.
"I hope everyone enjoyed not only the racing but also the social events that Croatia and Split can offer. I'm glad that Split has been recognised as a great sailing venue by Nautor Swan and ClubSwan Racing."
The ClubSwan 36 racers will gather again next month for the Swan Sardinia Challenge – May 16-20 – when they will be joined by two more of the Swan One Design family, the ClubSwan 50 and ClubSwan 42 classes.