A record fleet from around the world came together to race, and showcase the 50 year heritage of the Swan in Porto Cervo
A record 125 yachts from over 20 countries contested four days of racing at the 2016 Rolex Swan Cup. They encompassed designs representing over fifty years of nautical heritage. Competition was closely-fought and conducted with typical grace and sportsmanship by owners and sailors who were left awe-struck by the challenging conditions offered by one of the world’s most renowned sailing environments.
Goddess of the water
Donald Macpherson’s Swan 90S Freya was crowned Maxi class champion after winning today’s final race of the regatta. Fierce westerly winds gusting off the Costa Smeralda had forced the YCCS Race Committee to cancel racing yesterday and going into today’s decisive race, Freya was tied on five points with Swan 80 Selene.
In their pursuit of victory, the crew of Freya adopted a proactive approach. “We got to the front early and it’s always good to stay there. This was our race to lose,” explained Macpherson, whose boat is suited to the heavier conditions which characterised the second half of the week. “We did well when the wind came in. I couldn’t be happier and am very humbled to win at the Rolex Swan Cup.”
Interest in the Maxi class, reserved for the week’s largest yachts, stretched beyond the contest to identify the class winner. The presence of three brand new Swan 115s provided great intrigue. The Swan 115 represents a bold step into the increasingly dynamic superyacht market with its first three iterations all featuring in Porto Cervo for the first time. Of the three, Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s Highland Fling 15 is the one most built to race. Her status as the fastest boat on the water was never threatened.
Those sailing the Swan 115s for the first time have enjoyed the experience. Maltese sailor Christian Ripard, four-time winner of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, is part of the crew on the newest arrival, Shamanna. “She is new, so we are still learning a lot about the boat. The loads are significant so you have to be very calculated and careful in making maneuvers. This is where teamwork, communication and having experienced afterguard people are important. It’s always about anticipating what is going to happen next.”
A new champion
In the one-design Swan 45 World Championship the pattern was established early in the week. Elena Nova, runner up in 2014, set the pace with the predominantly Dutch-crewed Esthec and four-time world champion Earlybird from Germany in pursuit. Come the eighth and final race of the series, the latter was out of contention, ensuring Elena Nova, from Germany, only had to curtail the ambitions of Rientz Willem Bol’s Esthec. A feat she achieved with second place in the final race enough to secure her first World Championship title.