Despite an intense contest on the water, all four class leaders going into the final day of racing at the Rolex Swan Cup held on to their positions as the 17th edition of this competition came to a close.
Gusts of 7-8 knots were present for the prompt 11:30 CEST race start as most of the near 60-strong fleet embarked on a final dash through Bomb Alley. The Maxis took on a 24 mile coastal course, upwind around Monaci, before a downwind leg through Secca di Tre Monti, returning to Porto Cervo via the island of Mortoriotto. A short coastal course of 17 miles was set for the Grand Prix and Classic divisions while the yachts competing in the Rolex Swan 45 World Championship completed two windward/leeward races.
The overall competition winners are: Bronenosec (RUS) in Maxi; Natalia (ROU) in Grand Prix; Ondine (ITA) in Classic and Earlybird (GER) in the Rolex Swan 45 World Championship. The class winners all received Rolex timepieces following the traditional prizegiving held on Piazza Azzurra at event organisers, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.
Today’s race winners were: Emma (GER) in Maxi; Natalia in Grand Prix; Gaetana (ITA) in Classic while Earlybird, with a first and a second was the top performer in the Rolex Swan 45 World Championship.
Vladimir Liubomirov and his predominantly Russian and Italian crew on Swan 60 Bronenosec held both their nerve and advantage going into the final day. Bronenosec needed to stay ahead of James Madden’s Swan 601 Stark Raving Mad (USA) and despite the best efforts of the American crew, third place to Stark’s fourth was sufficient. “We started this project just four months ago and we’ve managed to build a great team in that short space of time,” explained an enthusiastic Liubomirov. “I have a dream crew and it is really important to win this famous event.” Bronenosec is already turning its attention to future competitions including next year’s Rolex Fastnet Race. Stark Raving Mad can be proud of second place. With countback considered, she finished just one point behind the winner. A victory in today’s last race enabled Johann Killinger’s Emma to claim third spot.
Natalia valiantly defended her lead in the Grand Prix class following a memorable week’s duel with fellow Swan 42 Magical Mystery Tour (GBR). Natalia Brailoiu’s crew did so in style, notching victory in the final race. Co-skipper Diogo Cayolla explained the secret to the crew’s successful week: “All week whenever we've been in bad positions we’ve been able to recover, and whenever we’ve started well we’ve hung on to our lead. The 42 is a very competitive class of boat. We’ve had quite a few days with light winds which has favoured us.”
Earlybird moved to the top of the Rolex Swan 45 World Championship standings for the first time yesterday surpassing Vittorio Ruggiero’s TalJ (ITA) which had begun the competition with intent. In the first of today’s two windward/leeward races, a second place enabled Earlybird to extend her lead over TalJ which could only manage third. In the style of true champions, Earlybird wrapped up the competition with a comprehensive win in the final race.
“We were nervous going into the final day as the winds were light and anything could have happened,” explained Earlybird co-owner Christian Nagel. “It is the third time we have won the class but it was not easy as boats such as TalJ and Swanted have really improved. We realised this when TalJ achieved a first and a second place on the first day. We’ll definitely be back to defend our title.”
Marco Gerbaudo’s Ondine sealed the 15-strong Classic division. The Swan 53 finished nine points ahead of nearest rival Shirlaf (ITA).
The next Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo will take place in 2014.