PHOTOS: CARLO BORLENGHI / ROLEX
A SUPERB FINAL DAY of brisk wind and choppy seas put the 125 competing yachts through their paces on the regatta course off Porto Cervo for the 19th edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Sept 11-18.
The edition of the event organised at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda also marked the 50th anniversary of the Nautor’s Swan shipyard.
A third bullet on the last day’s race put the final seal on overall victory for Don Macpherson’s Swan 90 Freya in the Maxi division. Plis Play, owned by Vicente Garcia Torres, stole into second place overall ahead of Wendy Schmidt’s Swan 80 Selene, which had entered the day on equal points with Freya but suffered technical problems in the race on the last day.
“We had to sail a good race, be conservative but get out at the front early. We did well when the wind came in and today averaged 17 knots,” says Macpherson. “I couldn’t be happier and feel very humbled to win at the Rolex Swan Cup. We really enjoyed the competition. I was sorry to see that Selene broke down this afternoon, we were neck and neck throughout the regatta and she’s a very well-raced boat.”
Gerard Logel’s Arobas will have fond memories of Porto Cervo as she adds her first victory in the Rolex Swan Cup to a second place finish at the Mini Maxi Class. Things could not have been closer in this division as Japan’s Yasha took second on equal points with Arobas. Riccardo Pavoncelli’s Gaetana took third place just three points behind.
James Blakemore’s Swan 53 boasts a perfect winning streak with four victories in the four races run. The battle for second place in the Grand Prix division saw another Swan 53 Crilia pip Solenia II to the post by just half a point, thanks to a second place finish in the race on the last day.
Amongst the 35-boat fleet of classic Sparkman and Stephens designs dating as far back as 1966, the overall winner, with a third consecutive bullet on the last day, was Sleeper X owned by Jonty Layfield. Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino took second place while Rob Marbly’s Sarabande moved up to a podium place for the first time this week to claim third overall.
New Swan 45 World Champion, Germany’s Elena Nova showed stunning form throughout the week and with a discard coming into play was able to extend her lead to 11 points ahead of Holland’s Esthec, with Bouwe Bekking on tactics. Four-time World Champion Earlybird had to settle for the bronze medal this time round.
The Swan 42 one-design class also featured a stand-out winner as Romania’s Natalia clinched her third consecutive Rolex Swan Cup victory. The race on the last day brought her to a total of six over eight races run and left her a comfortable 10 points ahead of Renzo Grottesi’s Bewild. Spanish boat Pez de Abril, which suffered damage earlier in the week, took the final spot on the podium.
Special prizes were also awarded for line honours – for the fastest average speed during the race – which went to the Swan 115 Highland Fling. The YCCS award for the highest placed club member went to Marietta Strasoldo’s Lunz Am Meer while Checkmate took the Swan 45 Corinthian prize. The winners of the regatta were presented with Engraved Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master from Rolex.