The Rolex Swan Cup is one of the most visually captivating sailing competitions: a unique meeting of some of the world’s finest yachts, all built by Nautor’s Swan. So far, nearly 70 Swan yachts have confirmed participation and the final figure is expected to reach 100 – an impressive showing for one of the Mediterranean’s most iconic yachting occasions. This biennial event was inaugurated in 1980 and its enduring partnership with Rolex began in 1984. Traditionally held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, the 17th edition takes place from 10-16 September.
Four classes are anticipated: Maxi (18.29 metres/60 feet and above), Grand Prix (18.28m and below), Classic (models designed by Sparkman and Stephens) and Swan 45 One-Design, where 2010 World Champion Earlybird (GER) is returning to defend her crown.
The international reach of the Rolex Swan Cup is confirmed by the presence of some 13 countries in the entry list. Debutante Russian entrant Bronenosec (Swan 60) has been a regular on the 2012 Rolex circuit with notable performances at both the Rolex Volcano Race and the Giraglia Rolex Cup. Plis Play (ESP, Swan 80), which also featured at the Rolex Volcano Race, is one of two Spanish entries. The other is Clem (Swan 56), which finished a close second in the Grand Prix class in 2010.
Two yachts that will be aiming to improve their 2010 results are the Italian Swan 65 Shirlaf and the German Swan 60 Emma. Both finished second in their respective classes (Classic and Maxi) two years ago. Shirlaf is one of a number of participating Swan 65s; the classic Sparkman & Stephens design won the inaugural Whitbread Round the World Race in 1974 and helped cement Nautor’s Swan’s legendary status in yachting’s firmament.
The Swan 43 Fidibù has the honour of representing the make’s homeland of Finland. Arriving from furthest afield appears to be the American crew on Constanter (Swan 62RS). The smallest participant at 11.66 metres (38 feet), Italian Swan 38 Only You is also one of the oldest, while the largest yacht attending is the 34.4-metre (112-foot) Swan Highland Breeze.
Five days of racing are scheduled on the revered waters of the Costa Smeralda and the Maddalena Archipelago. Competition will be fierce but refreshing, as regular competitor and President of Nautor’s Swan since 1998, Leonardo Ferragamo, explains: “The event has a unique spirit because it represents a love of boats and a desire to compete not just in any regatta, but in a regatta where there is uniformity in the competition. The feelings of friendship and good sportsmanship that characterize this regatta have grown over time.”
The regatta is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and concludes with a traditional prize-giving on the Piazza Azzura where winners of all four categories will be presented with a Rolex timepiece to crown their excellence on the water.
Sir Peter Ogden’s 60-ft Mini Maxi Jethou (GBR) won today’s windward/leeward race at the 2012 Rolex Volcano Race, held in Gaeta, Italy. Fourteen of the 19 entered Maxi yachts contested the race which marked the first segment of this year’s event.
Jethou triumphed on handicap having finished second on the water to Claus-Peter Offen’s 100-ft Y3K (GER), who attacked the 8.8-nautical mile course in a time of one hour, five minutes and 39 seconds. Ian Budgen, longstanding part of the Jethou afterguard, was delighted at winning a highly competitive race, commenting: “It was lovely out there, nice and warm. We had 9-13 knots of breeze, so great sailing conditions. Over the last six months a lot of changes have been made to the boat and on a light air day like today the modifications make a big difference.”
Whilst Jethou will take confidence from today’s victory, the hard work begins tomorrow with the first leg of the 400-nautical mile offshore race, commencing at 15:00 CEST. Running from Gaeta to Capri, the initial 100-nautical mile leg serves as an enticing appetiser to the more significant 300-nautical mile Leg Two, starting from Capri on Tuesday 22 May and comprising a voyage around the UNESCO-protected Aeolian Islands, geological wonders in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Today’s skipper’s briefing held at the Club Nautico Gaeta, attended by noted tacticians including Jethou’s Brad Butterworth, Berenice Bis’s (ITA) Tiziano Nava and Tommaso Chieffi of the sole Russian entry Bronenosec, provided the international crews with the latest information regarding the conditions forecast for the offshore race.
Official race meteorologist Filippo Petrucci predicts relatively rough conditions as the week develops, revealing: “Sunday evening will be characterised by a low pressure system which will arrive over the central western part of the Mediterranean so we expect rain and unsettling conditions for the conclusion of Leg One on Monday.”
Petrucci continued: “Regarding the outlook for the rest of the week the low pressure system will continue into Tuesday, with mostly cloudy skies and a risk of isolated thunderstorms bringing changeable winds. This may lead to very strong offshore winds between Tuesday and Wednesday of 25-30 knots with even stronger gusts.” In short, and compared to last year’s feeble conditions, the crews should be braced for a relatively quick dash around the majestic islands.
Boat Race 1
Builder Sail No. Pl Pts Total Place
Sir Peter Ogden GBR 74 1 1.00 1.00 1
Vladimir Liubonirov RUS 2460 2 2.00 2.00 2
Claus-Peter Offen GER 6060 3 3.00 3.00 3
Marco Rodolfi ITA 18989 4 4.00 4.00 4
Marton Jozsa HUN 7002 5 5.00 5.00 5
TWIN SOUL 6
Luciano Gandini ITA 19951 6 6.00 6.00 6
Gerard Logel FRA 60101 7 7.00 7.00 7
Filip Balcaen GBR 112 8 8.00 8.00 8
Alex Shaerer USA 60666 9 9.00 9.00 9
Michele Galli ITA 88888 10 10.00 10.00 10
Escuela Mediterranea de Vela ESP 9933 11 11.00 11.00 11
Giuseppe Puttini ITA 13993 12 12.00 12.00 12
Aegyd Pengg AUT 1876 13 13.00 13.00 13
Giulio Simeone ITA 16719 14 14.00 14.00 14
Antonio Mesa Cervigon POR 7070 DNC 20.00 20.00 15
GOOD JOB GUYS
Enrico Gorziglia ITA 18000 DNC 20.00 20.00 15
Edoardo Lanzavecchia ESP 8182 DNC 20.00 20.00 15
Peter Lerbrandt DEN 1 DNC 20.00 20.00 15
Mario Beomonte ITA 38510 DNC 20.00 20.00 15