Rolex Swan Cup 2022. Photo credit: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Perfect first day for 21st Rolex Swan Cup
The Costa Smeralda put on its very best show for the first day of the Rolex Swan Cup, with a fresh south-easterly breeze blowing at around 12 knots and increasing to 15 providing the entire fleet with a fantastic day's sailing.
The Rolex Swan Cup is a biennial regatta organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) in collaboration with the Nautor Swan shipyard and with the support of title sponsor Rolex. Now in its 21st edition, the event will conclude on Sunday 18th September.
The Swans racing in the Maxi and Mini Maxi classes took on a coastal course of approximately 27 miles, while the Grand Prix and Classic Sparkman & Stephens classes raced on a similar route, with the length reduced to around 23 miles. After rounding the offset mark, the fleet sailed south to round the islands of Mortorio and Soffi, before hoisting their spinnakers, headed for the Secca di Tre Monti via the Bisce pass. From here the boats turned upwind to round Monaci island and descend towards the finish line off Porto Cervo. For the one-design classes, the Race Committee set two windward-leeward races, as per schedule. These featured precision starts, hard-fought mark roundings, perfectly executed manoeuvres, and the kind of tactical finesse that only champions of the level on display in this fleet are capable of producing. Overall today gave a first taste of the beauty of the courses that the La Maddalena archipelago has to offer. The fleet dazzled spectators on the water and ashore with dozens of coloured gennakers, while the happy faces of the sailors on their return to the docks said it all as to why everyone wants to take part in the Rolex Swan Cup.
In the Maxi class, the Spanish Swan 80 Plis-Play (1999) immediately showed immense determination to defend her title from the last edition, winning in compensated time ahead of the brand new ClubSwan 80 My Song. Third place went to the Swan 90 Freya.
Among the Mini Maxis the top three places all went to Swan 601s, with Flow finishing ahead of Arobas and Les Amis. The Classic S&S group sees the 1974 Swan 38 Mascalzone Latino XXXIII leading the Swan 65 ketch Shirlaf and the Swan 36 Josian. The largest class, with 22 yachts, is the Grand Prix, where Crilia (Swan 53) took victory ahead of Katima (Swan 54), with both boats hailing from Germany. Third place went to the Swiss Swan 48 Anya, taking part in the Swan Cup for the first time.
In the highly competitive Clubswan 50 class, with 15 boats racing in real time, the winner of the day with a first and a third place was Giuliana, with Vasco Vascotto calling tactics. Just one point behind is Balthasar (scoring a fourth and a first today), with New Zealander Hamish Pepper on tactics, and Cuordileone, owned by Nautor Chairman Leonardo Ferragamo, assisted by tactician Manu Weiller.
It is G Spot and Farstar, both with a first and second of the day, that share the summit on equal points in the Clubswan 36 class. Third place is held by Black Seal. Selene Alifax leads among the Clubswan 42s with two first places, followed by Nadir and Dralion. In the Swan 45 class Ulika leads the standings ahead of Blue Sky and Ex Officio.
Vasco Vascotto, tactician on Giuliana: "We are very satisfied both with the day on the water with 15 knots from the southeast and, of course, with today's result. In the first race we chose the right of the course, leaving the bulk of the fleet on the left side, because we had indications that it would be preferable and it was, but more important still was the second race, where we climbed back up a few places to finish towards the front.
Christoph Stein, owner of Crilia: "We had a fantastic day, typical of this event, which we have been taking part in with our family boat for 13 editions now, in fact we have my 82-year-old father on board and one of my sons on the foredeck, and we have never before won on the first day of racing. We started well and the two key moments were first the offset mark and then the long upwind of 5 miles from Isola dei Monaci to Porto Cervo, which we managed to do all in one, without tacking. In today's conditions our boat performed very well upwind."
The day was rounded off with the after-race refreshment in Piazza Azzurra and the daily prize giving presented by Garmin. Tomorrow, 14 September, racing will continue with the first starting signal scheduled for 12 midday CEST.