ROLEX SWAN CUP
Winners of the Rolex Swan Cup in their respective categories: Freya, Flow, Mascalzone Latino XXXIII, Crilia, Balthasar, G Spot, Nadir, Blue Sky
The 21st edition of the Rolex Swan Cup concluded today with another day of great sailing, as the Porto Cervo regatta course showed its best form. A south-easterly wind built from an initial 10 knots to reach around 20 knots in the La Maddalena channel, faced upwind by the boats of Division 1, racing on coastal courses, while the one-design yachts in Division 2 completed two windward-leeward races with a breeze of 10 to 12 knots.
The courses chosen by the Race Committee for the Division 1 Swans sent the boats to an offset mark, before circumnavigating the archipelago of La Maddalena counterclockwise, then returning to the finish line off Porto Cervo through the Bisce pass for a total of about 28 miles. For the Maxi Swans the return leg, after passing the Secca di Tre Monti, brought them to round Monaci island before heading for the finish line, covering a total of approximately 34 miles.
Competition was particularly fierce in the Maxi class, where the top two boats finished the Rolex Swan Cup on equal points. Today’s win, just 13 seconds ahead of the brand new ClubSwan 80 My Song, allowed the Swan 90 Freya, with two-time America’s Cup winner Mike Toppa on tactics, to take the lead in the general classification, followed by the Swan 80 Plis-Play, which had dominated the class in the earlier part of the week. Both boats notched up two first and two third places, with victory on the countback rule being awarded to the boat with the best finish in the last race. The final podium in the Maxi class therefore sees Freya, owned by Donald Macpherson, triumph over Plis-Play, owned by Vincente Garcia Torres, with My Song, owned by Pier Luigi Loro Piana in third.
Donald Macpherson summed up the victory: “Winning here at the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo is the epitome of success in sailing, there’s nothing better. I’m absolutely thrilled. The first few races we had lighter winds, then we won on the strong wind day. Today it started light and Plis Play was ahead of us but then the breeze built and we started to gain on them and ultimately overtook them and won. The crew is a mix of race crew and friends and family, it’s a team effort and the team did this, it’s a great crew.”
In the Mini Maxi class, the Swan 601 Flow, owned by Stephen Cucchiaro, stole the show with a clean run of four wins in the four races held. The Swan 601 Arobas by Gerard Logel followed five points behind, with the Swan 601 Les Amis, owned by Valter Pizzoli, seven points behind in third.
Things were incredibly close at the top of the Classic Sparkman & Stephens class, where a win today for the Swan 38 Mascalzone Latino XXXIII gave owner Vincenzo Onorato overall victory by just one point ahead of the Swan 65 Shirlaf, owned by Giuseppe Puttini, which placed second today. Third place, but with an eight-point delta from second, went to the smallest boat in the fleet, the Swan 36 Josian, owned by Eugenio Alphandery.
The Swan Grand Prix class was dominated by the Swan 53 Crilia, owned by father and son duo Gerd Heinz and Christoph Stein, who claim victory in the Rolex Swan Cup with three wins and one third-place finish over the week. Following her in the overall standings, 10 and 13 points back respectively, were the Swan 58 Om II, owned by Hamid Shahid, and the Swan 54 Katima, owned by Jan Oplander. Crilia took first place in today’s race, followed by Katima and Clem Primero.
Many of the big names in modern sailing featured in the highly competitive ClubSwan 50 class, where an excellent result (1-2) obtained today by Giuliana, owned by Alberto Franchi and with Vasco Vascotto on tactics, was not enough to get her to the final podium. Balthasar, owned by Louis Balcaen and with New Zealander Hamish Pepper on tactics, took the top spot ahead of Stella Maris, owned by August Schram and with Brazilian tactician Robert Scheidt (5-time Olympic medal winner), and Hatari, owned by Marcus Brennecke and with fellow German Markus Wieser calling tactics. Hamish Pepper: “It was a great week, we went into the last race with a comfortable lead. The last race didn’t go quite to plan but it was enough considering the rest of the week. The team is happy and the team sailed well and we just played it very conservative in the last race.”
The Clubswan 36 class was no less combative, and played host to many thrilling battles, in particular between the top three boats – class winner G Spot, owned Giangiacomo Serena Di Lapigio, second-placed Farstar, owned by Lorenzo Mondo, and Haakon Lorentzen’s Mamao, which clinched the best performance of the final day, with a third and a first place. “There was a continuous head to head with Farstar”, explained G Spot’s tactician Michele Paoletti, “here and throughout the season we have been alternating at the top of the provisional standings. This morning we went out on the water on equal points, we won the first race and they did a good job of climbing back to second place, so we started the last race one point ahead, we had to keep them behind. It was a real match race, we fought between the two of us and in fact we finished sixth and eighth respectively, letting the rest of the fleet go, but this earned us the win at the Rolex Swan Cup.”
The ClubSwan 42 Nadir, owned by Pedro Vaquer Comas, winner of the day today, also lead the overall classification ahead of Selene Alifax, owned by Massimo De Campo, and Dralion, owned by Pit Finis. Among the Swan 45s, it was Blue Sky, owned by Claudio Terrieri who led the pack ahead of Ulika and Ex Officio.
A busy prize giving ceremony was attended by Princess Zahra Aga Khan, President of the Board of Directors of the YCCS, Stephan Muller, Director of Rolex Italy, Leonardo Ferragamo, President of Nautor Swan, Italian Sailing Federation (FIV) President Francesco Ettorre, and the Commodore and Secretary General of the YCCS, Michael Illbruck and Edoardo Recchi.
Michael Illbruck, Commodore of the YCCS: “The Rolex Swan Cup brings two weeks of great sailing in Porto Cervo to a close, with the maxi yachts last week and now the Swans. Here we have a fleet that represents the entire history of Nautor, from the first model dating back to the late 1960s, the 36-foot Josian, right up to the latest launch, the Clubswan 80 My Song. We saw the one-design yachts compete in extremely hard-fought windward-leewards, and the rest of the Swan fleet racing on very technical coastal courses. The competitive but always friendly spirit that characterises the Nautor Swan world is something the YCCS has shared from the very first Swan Cup, in 1980. I want to thank Rolex, the owners with their crews, the International Jury, the Race Committee and all the staff of the YCCS, who have made this and all the events we organise possible, always in the spirit of continuous development.”
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. The 22nd edition is scheduled to take place in September 2024.
The next sailing event, which will conclude the regatta season of the YCCS, will be the Vela & Golf competition, taking place from 22nd to 24th September.