Published: Friday, 15 August 2014

Defending Champions, Bronenosec (RUS) representing Saint Petersburg Yacht Club and sponsored by Gazprom, have secured a second victory in the 2014 Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship. Held in conjunction with the 33 Copa del Rey MAPFRE, the event provided the best racing conditions so far on the 2014 Gazprom Swan 60 circuit interspersed with Spanish royalty and stylish social occasions. 

Gazprom Swan 60 World Championships

A debut for the Swan 60s racing as a class in the Mediterranean, seven boats from a variety of nations competed including China, new on the circuit for 2014; Russia, now with Bronenosec as a double World Champion; Denmark, sailing as a crew since 2010; and Germany, a seasoned circuit competitor with its German Offshore Challenger team.  Bronenosec was the only Swan 60 to maintain an exemplary series across the 10 races, dominating the fleet in both the lighter winds on the Bahia de Palma and stronger breezes peaking just over 20 knots on the final day.

The young contenders on-board Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge showed their maturity in Race 2 with a clean start from the pin, as they watched Bronenosec, Windward (CHN), Spirit of Europe (BVI) and Petite Flamme (RUS) return to re-start. “We spent 10 days training very hard which produced a really good result,” says Denis Shari, trimmer for the Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge. “The main tactic we used was to have the best start of the fleet with the ultimate boat speed and to be first round the windward mark; we have been practising our starts a lot in training, everything depends on it in a one design fleet like the Gazprom Swan 60 Class and we found our practise really paid off.”

Gazprom Swan 60 World Championships.

Day 2 offered lighter conditions and fresh faces at the front of the fleet.  Current Star Class World Champion, Robert Stanjek, tactician for the German entry SGM, led the fleet into the first mark engineering a taste of victory for his German Offshore Challenger youth team. But Dmitry Samohkin‘s Petite Flamme finished first with Bronenosec yet again ensuring a podium position in third to help build a concrete series.

A change in discipline to coastal racing across 30nm on Day 3 saw Swan 60 Windward take centre stage in the lead at the first mark rounding. The Chinese team showed their true colours maintaining a first position all the way down wind.  Bronenosec, always hunting for top position, kept fighting and on the second uphill leg used the innate racing knowledge of 22 times World Champion, Tommaso Chieffi to find pressure on the right hand side of the course and pull out ahead of the fleet.  Windward had to take comfort in third place as Spirit of Europe took the opportunity to pass through into second place finishing with the backdrop of the setting sun on the 12th century Cathedral of Santa Maria.

 Gazprom Swan 60 World Championships 2

Shifty conditions on Day 4 favoured the Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge at the start, leading the fleet up the first leg again. Their winning grasp weakened over the course of the race allowing Bronenosec and Windward to pull through ahead at the leeward gate.  The second race of the day let esteemed yacht racer, Tim Kröger create a stir, with Spirit of Europe taking a well-deserved bullet.

Day 5 of the Championship was a pivotal performance for Spirit of Europe, securing two race wins, which rocketed the team up from fourth to second overall in the series. “It was a wonderful day; with two firsts it couldn’t have been better,” says Tim Kröger, Spirit of Europe Captain.  “Sailing the Gazprom Swan 60 Worlds under the umbrella of the Copa del Rey is fantastic, you can’t have a better event, especially with the Swan 60s, they are so close and it really is one design racing at its best.”

 Gazprom Swan 60 World Championships 3

After the eighth race of the series was completed, the Swan 60 teams were able to discard their worst result of the series from their final overall score. While the Chinese team on-board Windward benefited most, being able to drop 8 points for their disqualification earlier in the week, Spirit of Europe and Petit Flamme were also both able to drop points from previous races in the event.

The final day of racing at the Copa del Rey MAPFRE saw the postponement flag for the first time for all fleets as the Race Committee waited for the sea breeze.  This did not deter the podium potentials that kept focused for their ultimate race.  Bronenosec had a sweet overall win with the final race bringing in yet another first, Windward finished in second and Spirit of Europe in third.  Positions for the overall prize giving on the second edition of the Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship were unmistakeably similar to the final race, Bronenosec sitting on top with a 12 point lead over runner up Spirit of Europe helmed by Boris Gusev and Windward in third place.

 Gazprom Swan 60 World Championships 4

The 2014 Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship trophy was presented to Vladimir Liubomirov and his Bronenosec team, by H.R.M King Felipe of Spain in a spectacular ceremony.

Gazprom Swan 60 World Championships 5 

The third and final event of the 2014 Gazprom Swan 60 circuit will be held in conjunction with the Rolex Swan Cup from Sept 8-14 at the prestigious Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo.

 (photos courtesy ©Nautor’s Swan / C Borlenghi 2014)

2014 Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship Overall Results

Bronenosec (RUS): 1 – 4 – 3 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 2 – 1 – Total 15

Spirit of Europe (BVI): 4 – 6 – 6 – 3 – 2 – 6 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 3 – Total 27

Windward (CHN): DSQ – 3 – 4 – 6 – 3 – 2 – 5 – 2 – 3 – 2 – Total 30

Petite Flamme (RUS): 3 – 7 – 1 – 2 – 4 – 5 – 3 – 4 – 6 – 6 – Total 34

Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge, Tsaar Peter (RUS): 2 – 1 – 5 – 7 – 6 – 3 – 6 – 5 – 7 – 5 – Total 40

German Offshore Challenger, SGM (GER): 6 – 2 – 2 – 4 – 7 – 4 – 7 – DNF – 4 – DNF – Total 44

Vertical Smile (DEN): 5 – 5 – 7 – 5 – 5 – 7 – 4 – 6 – 5 – 4 – Total 46