Published: Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Rolex, Nautor’s Swan and the organiser the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) will come together for holding the Rolex Swan Cup 2016 Sept 11-18 in Porto Cervo, Italy, marking the 32nd year of their partnership.

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(Photos: Carlo Borlenghi / Rolex)

The competition comprises five days of racing in northeast Sardinia’s emerald waters and rocky outcrops, including the popular Long Islands Race around the Maddalena archipelago, and a host of social events designed to bring the Swan world together.

“The event embodies several values, especially those that come with the pleasure of owning a Swan,” explains Nautor’s Swan Chairman Leonardo Ferragamo. “A Swan Owner is a person who truly loves one’s boat and is full of pride, dedicating time and energy to one’s yacht. Swan Owners have real passion and a noble approach which are characterised by the racing and the competitive spirit that shines through at the Rolex Swan Cup.”

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The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first Swan. When Pekka Koskenkylä founded Nautor’s Swan in 1966 in Pietarsaari, Finland - a small town noted for its harsh winters - he was ambitious to build high-quality, high-performance sailing yachts anchored in hundreds of years of Finnish boatbuilding history. Since then, Nautor’s Swan has produced more than a hundred different models of Swans, from the first design that measured some 11 metres (36ft) all the way through to 39.9m (131ft). Few, if any, boat builders have been at the forefront of their industry for such a long time, which makes Swan yachts a true benchmark. All Swans carry the emblematic and unmistakable ‘arrow’ – indented in every hull – as its iconic sign. 

The first Swan built was the 36ft Tarantella. When Tarantella was built, she introduced a number of innovations for her time, several of which were aimed at improving steering stability, including positioning the ruddƒer fully aft, separating it from the full length of the keel and thickening the aft section of the keel. The Swan 36 proved equal to more traditional wooden boats in general handling and safety with better performance under sail and improved living space.

Rolex Swan Cup 2016 Returns To Italy

Tarantella was drawn by the first Swan designer – the New York studio, Sparkman & Stephens. Prior to this, nobody had built a boat over 10 metres long in fibreglass. The material was then still new to yacht building, but would dominate the mass production of boats in years to come.

New Zealander Ron Holland took over the design reigns from 1978 to 1981 before the Frers family, headed by the now legendary German Frers Snr, began its long dynasty. They have been responsible for most creations and, like a Swan Owner, are attached to their craft while managing to remain impartial. “They are like your children – you don’t say which is your favourite!” says Frers Snr.

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(Engraved Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master - Prize for 2016 winners)

The five classes of Swan yacht set to compete at the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo this year are: Maxi (18.29 metres and above), Grand Prix (18.28m and below), Classics (designed by Sparkman and Stephens), ClubSwan 42 and Swan 45. The latter, the Swan 45 One Design class, will compete in its own World Championship. Winners of all categories will be awarded a coveted Rolex timepiece at the final prizegiving held at the YCCS.