Published: Friday, 12 September 2014

The fleet competing in the 18th edition of the Rolex Swan Cup enjoyed a spectacular race day on long coastal courses encompassing most of the La Maddalena archipelago and accompanied by a westerly wind ranging from 15 knots at the start that built to hit gusts of 26. Three more days of racing are scheduled in the event organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Nautor together with title sponsor Rolex.

The course set by the YCCS Race Committee took the fleet into the strait at Capo Ferro and around the Secca di tre Monti before heading north to round the islands of Monaci and La Maddalena. Once back in the coastal channel the boats headed past Capo Ferro again and paraded past Porto Cervo. Racing concluded at this point for the Grand Prix and Classic divisions at 37 nautical miles while the Swan 45 and Swan 42 fleets continued south to round Mortoriotto and return to port (45 nautical miles). The Swan 60 and Swan Maxi divisions rounded Mortoriotto, Mortorio and Soffi to cover 51 nautical miles before crossing the finish line.

Swans Take Off In Island Long Race 4

In the Swan 60 division, the last boat crossing the line was within 10 minutes of the first – at the end of a 50-mile course. Russia's Swan 601 Bronenosec claimed line honours and victory in corrected time despite being over early, tearing the mainsail and damaging its spinnaker. Bronenosec now sits in second place overall behind Roberto Lauro's Wohpe while Gerard Logel's Arobas holds third.

"It was a double edged sword today, we are happy to win but we are also sorry for the damage we incurred,” says Bronenosec's tactician, Tommaso Chieffi. “Luckily we have our offshore main sail that we can use tomorrow as the tear in the main is unrepairable."

Swans Take Off In Island Long Race 7 

Line honours in the Swan Maxi fleet went to the Swan 90 Freya, the second boat in the fleet to cross the finish line off Porto Cervo. Today's victory brings the American boat to fourth place overall while fellow Americans Selene claim the top spot overall ahead of Berenice Bis and Spain's Plis Play, who tied for third place in today's race, having finished with the same corrected time.

"It was a great day, we finished the course in just under four hours,” says Freya's owner, Donald MacPherson. “It was quite challenging at times but we had a great start and managed to get ahead in our division and hold on to that lead. The wind was in the ideal range for Freya, 15 to 25 knots are perfect for us so we hope these conditions continue as we find lighter airs a challenge."

Swans Take Off In Island Long Race 5

In a repeat of the first day's performance, Yukihiro Ishida's Swan 56 Yasha took line honours on the water ahead of the entire fleet. Second place on handicap still allowed the Japanese boat with an all-star crew, including tactician Hamish Pepper, to move up to first place overall ahead of today's winner Music and the German Swan 441 Best Buddies.

The 23-boat classic fleet was dominated by Giuseppe Puttini's Swan 65 ketch Shirlaf, which finished well ahead of the rest of the division to take the win in real and corrected time and move up to second place overall. The Swan 43 Cisne, designed by Sparkman and Stephens in 1970, sits in first place overall with Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino in third.

The overall leaderboard in the Swan 45 class, competing for the annual World Championship, reflects today's results with Earlybird, owned by Nagel & Brandis, in first place ahead of Elena Nova and British boat Vondeling.

Swans Take Off In Island Long Race 6

(photos courtesy Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi) 

No change at the top of the Swan 42 Class as Leonardo Ferragamo's Courdileone holds on to first place ahead of Romanian boat Natalia. New to third place is today's winner Magical Mystery Tour, owned by Edward Leask.

Further westerly winds of around 12-14 knots are predicted. The Swan 45 and Swan 42 classes will complete windward leeward races while the remainder of the divisions will face coastal courses.