Porto Cervo, 14 September 2018 - Three days of absorbing racing have concluded at the 2018 Rolex Swan Cup with competition across six classes offering tantalising scenarios for the remaining two days of action.
In the inaugural ClubSwan 50 World Championship the advantage currently belongs to Stefan Heidenreich’s German yacht Onegroup but with three scheduled races remaining and five different winners across seven windward/leeward races to date, this is a competition which will continue to reserve surprises. Onegroup’s advantage in the overall standings is four points over Swiss entry Mathilde and Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuordileone.
“We had three races today and I am totally exhausted,” explained Morten Kielland, owner of Mathilde, as he reflected on the intense nature of the competition. “You consume so much adrenaline and have to concentrate for every single second. For the two days ahead we have to keep focusing. It will be very close - we have no idea what will happen!”
In the other one design championships, defending champion Porron IX from Spain heads the Swan 45 Worlds by three points having won three out of seven races. However, 2016 champion Elena Nova has mounted an impressive comeback with Christian Plump’s German yacht winning the last two races. Plump cited today’s stronger conditions, the most vigorous of the week and peaking at 16 knots, as a major factor in Elena Nova’s return to success. Andrea Rossi’s Italian yacht Mela is enjoying an impressive nine-point lead in the ClubSwan 42 Europeans.
Meanwhile the remaining classes today took on coastal courses ranging from 25-29-nautical miles in length. In the Swan Maxi class, Spanish yacht Plis-Play leads Flow by two points; Solte has won the last two races to lead rival Swan 53 Crilia in Grand Prix and in the largest class, reserved for 26 Sparkman & Stephens designs, Anthony Ball’s Six Jaguar holds the advantage.
Competing in the Sparkman & Stephens class are ten Swan 65s, a model whose success in round the world racing during the 1970s helped Nautor’s Swan on its journey to forging an international reputation. It is also the very design which was at the forefront of the sailing world when the event was created in 1980. Cutting-edge in their day, these yachts are now admired for what they represent. “The 2018 Rolex Swan Cup is probably witnessing the biggest ever gathering of 65s, a unique boat and an icon in our line,” explains Nautor’s Swan Vice-President Enrico Chieffi. “The 65s were great as cruising yachts but also incredibly fast on the water.”
“The Swan 65 owners are proud of their boats and as a piece of art you can’t resist looking at them,” continues Chieffi. John Sims-Hilditch acquired Venator – the fourth Swan 65 ever constructed - with his wife Emma after a long quest to own one of these much sought-after yachts. As a passionate owner he reflects on the magnitude of seeing so many 65s together again: “There were 41 of these hulls built. More than a quarter of a century later we have almost a quarter of the fleet here which is really exciting.”
Sims-Hilditch admits it was a case of love at first sight when reflecting on his initial encounter with a Swan 65 in 1973. “What appealed to me then was the incredible elegant line and a very beautiful boat. And beauty makes you happy. As I grew up, that love didn’t fade. What I learnt more is that these boats are lovely to live on, comfortable cruising and sail fast.”
The line up at the 2018 Rolex Swan Cup also includes King’s Legend, second in the Whitbread Round the World Race of 1977-78, following on from the monumental performance of Sayula II, the third Swan 65 constructed, when winning the inaugural edition in 1973-74.
Gijs van Liebergen, King’s Legend owner for over 20 years, shares Sims-Hilditch’s passion for these generation-defining craft. “Some owners change their boats after some years because they want something different. I have never had this need - I love my boat.”
“It is a lot of work to maintain these old ladies in good shape, to keep them safe on the water and fast,” admits van Liebergen. Sims-Hilditch confirms the profound nature of the rapport between owner and yacht. “It is a deep loving relationship. She demands a lot of love and attention and she pretty much gets what she wants!”
What unites owners of these magnificent, classic designs is an appreciation for sailing heritage and tradition and a desire to ensure these yachts can be admired by future generations.
Two days of racing remain at the 2018 Rolex Swan Cup with everything still to decide especially in the one design championships. Tomorrow features the spectacular Long Island coastal before dramatic showdowns are forecast for Sunday’s final day of racing.
The Rolex Swan Cup is long defined by its spirited competition and close partnership between Rolex, Nautor’s Swan and event organisers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. A full review of the 20th edition of the event will be published on Sunday 16 September.
A NATURAL AND SUPPORTIVE PARTNER
Rolex has always sought to associate with activities that are motivated by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. Rolex naturally gravitated towards the elite world of yachting, forming an alliance that dates back to the late 1950s. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of 15 major international events; from leading offshore races, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Middle Sea Race and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, through to the highest-level grand prix competition at the Rolex TP52 World Championship and spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. The Swiss watchmaker’s close relationships with the most prestigious yacht clubs around the world, including the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Yacht Club Italiano, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (Italy), New York Yacht Club (United States), and the Royal Yacht Squadron (Cowes, United Kingdom) are the foundation of Rolex’s enduring relationship with the pinnacle of this spectacular sport.
Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products. Its Oyster and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Through philanthropic programmes and a broad palette of sponsorship activities, Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports and exploration, and encourages the spirit of enterprise, as well as the conservation of natural environments.
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