The 21 Swan yachts competing in the second edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean could not have asked for a more perfect start to the event’s four scheduled days of racing in Virgin Gorda. After a rip-roaring race around the island accompanied by 20 to 22 knots of breeze and some serious waves, Swan 80 Selene was the victor in Class A (18.29m and above) while Swan 53 Music led the yachts in Class B.
The event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with Nautor’s Swan and title sponsor Rolex, runs through Saturday 7th March.
Principal Race Office Peter Craig and the YCCS Race Committee took advantage of the strong easterly breeze to set a course of approximately 25 nautical miles that took the fleet clockwise around Virgin Gorda. Tactics and stamina were put to the test across the board with the first Swans crossing the finish line in under 3 hours.
Rob Macmillan, tactician on Swan 80 Selene, Class A runner-up in the inaugural event in 2013, relished the day’s demanding conditions: “Today was a great day to start the regatta for us. It was the best conditions we’ve sailed in here for while, great to have 20 plus knots all the way around. For us it came down to hiking as hard as we could on the last beat.
Our goal was to sail as clean a race as possible and we succeeded in doing that. It’s going to be about sailing clean and consistently from here on.”
The all-South African crew on board James Blakemore’s Swan 53 Music, also runner-up in her division in 2013, was pleased to have recovered after a less than perfect start: “All the boats are really well sailed. You have to fight for everything but we are a little bit stronger in the 15-20 knot range.
We didn’t get the best of starts today but we had a very good game plan thereafter. We hung on to the Swan 42 (Kora 6) to the top of the island and the boys did a really good job, then a nice run down the back of the island and reach on the bottom. If you add all the little pieces in the puzzle they corrected out in our favour.” commented tactician Mike Giles.
After a tough day’s racing owners and crews kicked back at the daily refreshments on the YCCS dock in preparation for this evening’s ClubSwan Cocktail Competition. The busy social schedule will continue throughout the week with a Beach Party at Biras Creek planned for tomorrow evening and a Gala Dinner at the YCCS Clubhouse on Friday.
Racing continues tomorrow, Thursday 5th March with similar conditions forecast and the first start scheduled for 11 a.m. (AST).