The ClubSwan 50 fleet racing downwind, Rolex Swan Cup 2022. Photo credit: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Rolex Swan Cup, champagne sailing in Porto Cervo
The Race Committee's decision to bring forward the start for both divisions to 10 a.m. today enabled them to make the most of a mistral wind blowing at 18 to 22 knots before it became too strong to permit racing. Division 1 yachts raced on coastal courses differentiated according to the various classes, while Division 2 completed two windward-leeward races.
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.
Two days from the conclusion of racing, the rankings are beginning to take shape, and in most classes are very tight, bearing witness to the high standard of competition across all the participants. For Division 1, the Race Committee set up three different courses around the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago. The Maxi Swans sailed clockwise around the islands of Spargi, La Maddalena, Caprera and Monaci, and up to the Secca di Tre Monti shallows before heading back towards Porto Cervo via the Bisce pass, covering a total of approximately 36 miles. A similar route, but shortened to 32 miles, was assigned to the Swan Mini Maxis, who left Spargi to port. For the Classic S&S Swans and for the Grand Prix class, their course of approximately 28 miles involved heading through the Bisce pass, leaving the Secca di Tre Monti to starboard, sailing up towards Monaci island and from there running down to round the island of Soffi, in front of Cala di Volpe, and returning to the finish line off Porto Cervo.
The Swan 90 Freya claimed victory in the Maxi class, thanks to excellent tactical choices and perfectly executed manoeuvres, which is not the easiest of tasks in around 20 knots of wind while wielding a gennaker of about 600 square metres. Second place for My Song, owned by YCCS member Pier Luigi Loro Piana, and third went to Plis-Play, who stays at the top of the overall classification, two points ahead of Freya and five ahead of My Song.
In the Mini Maxi class, the Swan 601 Flow, owned by Stephen Cucchiaro, continued an unbroken run of wins, consolidating the lead in the overall standings ahead of Arobas, owned by Gerard Logel, and Les Amis, owned by Valter Pizzoli.
The Swan 65 ketch Shirlaf, owned by Giuseppe Puttini, dominated among the Classic S&S Swans ahead of the Swan 65 sloop Libelula and the Swan 38 Mascalzone Latino XXXIII. In the general classification Shirlaf occupies the top spot on equal points with Mascalzone Latino XXXIII, while the Swan 36 Josian (ninth place today) sits in third.
Giuseppe Puttini, owner of Shirlaf commented: "In the past few days the smaller boats of the fleet were favoured by the prevalence of downwind legs, today finally it was our turn to win, we are in the lead on equal points with Mascalzone Latino and we are looking forward to the next two days of racing. Today's course was perfect, 30 miles with the wind at the right intensity, a wonderful day!"
In the busy Grand Prix Class, with 22 yachts enrolled, the Swan 53 Crilia returned to winning form, followed by the Swan 58 OM II and the Swan 54 Katima. Crilia leads the general standings, two points ahead of OM II. Significantly further back in third place is the Swan 58 Tycoon.
The cool breeze of 18 to 22 knots provided for a thrilling spectacle in the windward-leeward races, with the fleet tightly packed at mark roundings and sensational planing speeds of up to 20 knots for the ClubSwan 50 and ClubSwan 36 yachts. Among the larger class, the ClubSwan 50s, the two victories of the day went, respectively, to Earlybird, owned by Hendrik Brandis and with Will Ryan on tactics, and Cuordileone, owned by YCCS member Leonardo Ferragamo with Manu Weiller in the role of tactician. The best scoreline of the day, however, went to Balthasar, owned by Louis Balcaen (4-2) with Hamish Pepper calling tactics, who strengthens her lead at the top of the overall rankings. Following in second and third are Hatari and Stella Maris, with Marcus Wieser and Robert Scheidt, respectively, on tactics.
A tremendous battle was fought in the ClubSwan 36 class between Farstar, owned by Lorenzo Mondo who, with a second and a first place of the day jumps to the top of the overall standings, on equal points with G Spot (5-3 today). In a slightly more distant third place is the Brazilian team on Mamao, owned by Haakon Lorentzen, who after a win in the first race of the day, were forced to withdraw in the second.
Lorenzo Mondo, owner of the ClubSwan 36 Farstar: "Despite the demanding conditions, with about 20 knots of wind, we did well. After a not very positive day on Wednesday, today we went onto the water determined to prove something to our opponents, and we did that. Our class is very competitive, at the moment we are on equal points with G-Spot but given the high level, any other ClubSwan in the fleet could be a direct rival."
The top ClubSwan 42 of the fourth day was the Spanish Pez de Abril, owned by Jose Maria Meseguer (1-3), which now sits in third place overall. Class leader is Nadir, owned by Pedro Vaquer Comas, just one point ahead Selene Alifax in second. Among the Swan 45s, Claudio Terrieri's Blue Sky maintained her perfect record of victories, with Lorenzo Bodini calling tactics.
The weather forecasts indicate a particularly intense mistral wind for tomorrow. The Race Committee is constantly monitoring the evolution of the situation, with the intention of sounding the first warning signal in the afternoon, not before 2 p.m., when the wind may drop slightly, according to some models.