Slim margins at Rolex Swan Cup
Published on September 14th, 2014
Porto Cervo, Italy (September 13, 2014) – The penultimate day of the Rolex Swan Cup and Swan 45 World Championship concluded with the top boats holding extremely slim margins in most of the divisions and everything now hanging on each team’s performance in tomorrow’s final race day.
After an intense day of racing which started with a fairly steady 10-knot breeze from 290° that became shifty later in the day and rotated all the way round to become a south-easterly, Whope (Swan 60), Yasha (Grand Prix) and Earlybird (Swan 45) maintain the lead in their respective divisions. Selene (Maxi), Shirlaf (Classic) and Natalia (Swan 42), meanwhile, all move up to claim division top spots based on today’s results.
In the Swan 60 division, which completed three windward-leeward races, Roberto Lauro’s Wohpe netted a 1-3-2 scoreline today that took him into first place overall ahead of Gerard Logel’s Arobas in second and Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec in third. Just three points separate the top three boats making for an exciting final in this competitive class tomorrow.
The Swan Maxi, Grand Prix and Classic divisions, comprising almost 60 boats, completed coastal courses which concentrated brought them up through Bomb Alley and, for the larger boats, around the island of Spargi, before heading on what should have been a spinnaker run to the finish off Porto Cervo.
Marco Rodolfi’s Berenice Bis, a Swan 80-101 launched in 2010, takes command of the Swan Maxi division ahead of today’s victor Nikata, a UK Swan 82S. Yesterday’s overall leader Selene slips back to third after placing seventh in today’s race.
Rodolfi, owner and helmsman of Berenice Bis, is looking forward to the final day on the water tomorrow: “It’s been a tiring day, the conditions weren’t easy as the wind kept shifting, but our crew did an amazing job and were able to keep their focus throughout the day. The gaps in the fleet have become tighter and the games are still open going into the final day. We are ready, we will push hard as we always do and we look forward to the challenge.”
No change at the top of the leaderboard in the Grand Prix division. Yukiro Ishida’s Swan 56 Yasha collected another bullet today and continues to hold a slim lead over James Blakemore’s Swan 53 Music and the German boat Best Buddies. With just a three-point delta between the first and third-placed boats, all is yet to play for.
Ian Moore, navigator on board Yasha had a tricky day: “We had an awesome beat and were quite nicely ahead of the fleet on time. But coming back downwind the boats behind were carrying new breeze with them. All we could do was sit and watch as they came back to us. Fortunately the beat was good enough that we held on for the win ahead of Music.”
The final battle is certain to be fierce in the Classic Sparkman and Stephens division as well where Giuseppe Puttini’s Swan 65 Shirlaf claimed a second place today that moved him up to first overall. Shirlaf sits on equal points with the Swan 43 Cisne: one of the fleet’s most senior yachts dating from 1970. Thanks to a bullet in today’s coastal race the Swan 36 Finola is now just two points behind in third.
The German teams aboard Earlybird and Elena Nova continue to jostle for the title of Swan 45 World Champion. While Elena Nova claimed bullets in the first two races of the day, a 3-2-1 scoreline put Earlybird in the overall lead by just one point. Dutch boat No Limits sits in third place heading into the final day of windward-leewards.
Jochen Schumann, tactician on Earlybird, knows every move will count tomorrow: “The conditions were challenging today and the Race Committee and the organizers did a great job in getting all the races in. We knew this morning that the wind was going to change as the day progressed, and we were lucky to finish the last race with a dying breeze. We were leading in the third race, but we were slow in the final leg and we gave it away to our competitors. It was a shame, since we would have liked to have a solid lead going into the last day. It will be an exciting finish.”
Romanian boat Natalia extended her lead today in the Swan 42 one-design class and now holds a comfortable 12-point lead over Mahalo in second. Magical Mystery Tour sits just one point behind in third. The duel will therefore be for the runners up places in this division where just five points separate the second to fourth-placed yachts and a discard could come into play if two races are held tomorrow.
Racing in the event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with Nautor’s Swan and Rolex, is scheduled to conclude tomorrow, Sunday, September 14. A breeze of 6-8 knots is predicted.
Event website – Results – Photos
Report by event media. Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi.