Swans take flight in Porto Cervo
Published on September 9th, 2014
Porto Cervo, Italy (September 9, 2014) – After a short wait as the Race Committee waited for the light breeze to fill in as predicted, the six divisions competing in the Rolex Swan Cup were able to get underway in the first day of racing at the event organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda together with Nautor’s Swan and title sponsor Rolex.
Early division leaders are Elena Nova (Swan 45), Cuor di Leone (Swan 42), Whope (Swan 60), Berenice Bis (Maxi), Best Buddies (Grand Prix) and Mascalzone Latino (Classic). However with four more race days scheduled and a range of wind and sea conditions predicted over the course of the week, each day will bring new courses, new challenges and new results.
The Swan 60 and Maxi fleets, the first two divisions off the starting line, completed a custom course that took them south to round the islands of Mortorio and Soffi before proceeding north past Porto Cervo to round the Isola delle Bisce and head for the finish just off the harbour. The Grand Prix and Classic Sparkman and Stephens divisions completed a shorter version of the same course finishing directly off Porto Cervo after rounding the southerly isles.
Roberto Lauro’s Italian crew on Wohpe claimed victory in real and corrected time in the eight-boat Swan 60 fleet ahead of France’s Arobas. Third place overall goes to the Russian team on Bronenosec with America’s Cup veteran Tommaso Chieffi on tactics.
Wohpe’s owner Lauro is happy with the boat’s performance: “This is the first year that I have sailed with the Swan 601. We did well at the Giraglia Rolex Cup and that pushed us to become more competitive. Today was a great day’s sailing in a beautiful location and the boat is sailing well. I feel this is the perfect boat for me, the ideal combination of cruising and performance features and the perfect size for me too.”
The Swan Maxi race also concluded with victory in real and corrected time going to an Italian boat: Marco Rodolfi’s Swan 80-101 Berenice Bis sits at the top of the overall classification ahead of the Swan 80s Selene and Plis Play.
Best Buddies won the day among the 21 boats in the Grand Prix division. The German Swan 441 leads today’s real time winner Yasha in second place overall and Stefano Liguori’s Sims IV in third.
Kazuhiko Sofuku, project manager on Yasha, which boasts Hamish Pepper, Jesper Bank, Ian Moore and Andy Taylor on board, has been preparing for the event for months: “The last event the boat did was the Rolex Swan Cup in 2002. Since then the boat has not sailed, but the owner decided he really wanted to race at this event, so I have been working on the project since April. We replaced the original rig with a brand new carbon mast, and we have a great team from nine different nations all racing on board. It has been hard work getting to this point, but great fun too.”
The Classic division, home to Sparkman & Stephens designs from the 1970s and early 80s, saw the Italian yachts Shirlaf and Mascalzone Latino battling on today’s 18-mile course with the 1974 Swan 38 helmed by Vincenzo Onorato eventually claiming victory in compensated time ahead of the Swan 43 Cisne and Only You, another Italian Swan 38 owned by Matteo and Giulia Salomon.
The Swan 42 and Swan 45 one-design fleets each completed two windward-leeward races in a light breeze of around 7-9 knots which shifted gradually from westerly to a south-easterly sirocco over the course of the afternoon.
The eight-boat Swan 45 fleet, competing in the Swan 45 World Championship, saw Christian Plump’s Elena Nova and three-time division winner Earlybird vying for the top spot today. Elena Nova, with Sten Mohr calling tactics, just managed to occupy the top spot overall by posting a 2-1 scoreline while the German team on Earlybird – who in turn posted a 1-2 scoreline – sit in second on equal points. Natalie Evelegh’s Vondeling took third place.
Among the 12 competing Swan 42 boats, it was Nautor’s Swan CEO Leonardo Ferragamo who was celebrating this afternoon with two bullets in today’s races on his Cuor di Leone. Natalia, the Rolex Swan Cup 2012 division winner, holds second place on equal points with American boat Mahalo in third.
Racing continues Wednesday, with a light westerly breeze predicted, and concludes Sunday.
Report by event media Photos by ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi.