Kurt Arrigo / Swan European Regatta

WISC into first place

The Swan European Regatta continues on the Solent

Wednesday July 13th 2011, Author: Cailah Leask, Location: United Kingdom

A sunny but brisk morning was the setting for day three of the Swan European Regatta and a crowd had turned out for the sailing spectacle off the Royal Yacht Squadron, with courses planned for Class A, B and C taking them on a scenic tour of the Solent off the Squadron. The morning’s racing saw a shifty northerly breeze of approximately 15 knots dropping to 7 – 10 knots for the second part of the day. A strong west going tide ensured for the third day running that crews were tested on all aspects of their racing.

The Swan 45 Class were under a test of endurance sailing with four windward-leeward courses. Race one of the day was taken by Samantaga jointly owned by Philippe Moortgat and Patrick van Heurck, pressuring the overall leaders for their position. Race two was claimed by Checkmate owned by Peter de Ridder last night’s defending first position and the third race was won by Glynn Williams’ WISC, which after a respectable fifth position in the fourth and final race of the day, secured their place in the top spot after day three matching Samantaga’s points overall.

Glynn Williams, owner of Swan 45 WISC said: “It was a very challenging day on the water - lots of shifts and four races, all of which were different in terms of wind direction and speed. It was one of those days where lots of boats had a good and a poor race. This was definitely one of the best days of one design Swan 45 racing in many years.”

Reflecting on their overall position Williams went on to say: “We’re pleased to be on top of the leader board, it’s all very close and the team have done a great job but we haven’t won it yet – we’ve got two more days so we’ll see what happens.”

Class A certainly did not disappoint the onlookers with their first start of the day with Colin Buffin’s Swan 62 Uxorious caught up in a friendly but firm luffing match at the port end of the line with Swan 56 Sigrid, owned by Douglas Eklund, and Peter de Graff’s Club Swan 42 Baraka GP, just moments before the start. Magical Mystery Tour took a clean air approach sneaking across the line unchallenged, of a very well judged start at full speed crossing towards the starboard end of the line.

The luffing match at the start obviously paid off for Uxorious, as they achieved line honours, gaining them second in race four on corrected time, just behind Baraka. Sigrid, which was also involved in jostling at the start, had an extremely close finish with Piet Hein Bakker’s Swan 53 Silvern Swaen with only seconds between them.

The start of the second race lived up to expectations with Baraka GP marking their territory early in the sequence. This was soon to be challenged by Silveren Swaen as they both battled for optimum position. With less than a minute to the start, Uxorious, Sigrid, and the Leask family’s Magical Mystery Tour piled the pressure on the two Dutch boats upping the ante. A little too much excitement on the line caused for four boats to be OCS, but all successfully returning to clear the line. Magical Mystery Tour succeeding in the bid for optimum line position and went on to win the race putting them up to second position overall joint with Silvern Swaen. Baraka had a successful das sailing with a first and third putting them first overall after day three. Jonathan Peel the PRO summed up the start perfectly: “It’s exciting stuff; that’s the most aggressive start we’ve had so far.”

Class B’s course took them on a similar 10 mile tour of the Solent today and also had a spectacular first start to the day with the Swan 46 Vixen timing their start to perfection, closely followed by Swan 441 Best Buddies and the rest of the fleet. The Swan 48 Elan, owned by Harald Baum, took line honours for race one of today putting them third on corrected time just behind the Swan 40 Sloop John T owned by Iain and Graham Thompson and Ray Mitchell’s Swan 411 Accomplice which won on corrected time.

Harald Baum owner of Elan noted: “The wind was tricky – it was always between the light and heavy Genoa. The heavy is slower and not so good in such light winds and if it drops under 10 knots we need the other genoa, we changed it many times today, the crew worked really hard! But it was worth it because we won the race so we’re happy.”

Race two for Class B went off without nearly as much aggression for the line, with only one individual recall and who was cleared of the line. However, a local yacht did demonstrate some nerve by sailing straight through the start line approximately 10 seconds after the start! Race two was won by Harald Baum’s Elan maintaining their second position overall just behind Sloop John T which defended their first place position with success.

Class C were sent on a nine mile course from the Squadron Line to Seafarers Ale, South Brambles, Prince Consort to West Brambles, Lepe Spit to Gurnard and finally finishing back at the Squadron Line. Race Four saw Alastair Evans’ Swan 37 Alvine XV win followed by Stephen James’ Swan 38 Jacobite. Race Five was won by Cisne, a Swan 43 joint owned by David Collins and Tony Thorpe maintaining their third position overall chasing Alvine XV in second and Jacobite in first.

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