Swan song

Mistral puts paid to the final day of competition at the Rolex Swan Cup

Sunday September 19th 2010, Author: Giles Pearman, Location: Italy

The mighty Mistral roared back down the coast of the Costa Smeralda causing the cancellation of racing on this last day of the 2010 Rolex Swan Cup. With wind readings in the morning of up to 30 knots the YCCS Race Committee opted to postponed the 1100 start time several times, in the hopes of the breeze dropping somewhat. But, in fact, by 12pm with gusts outside the entrance recorded at 35+ knots, the decision was made to cancel racing.

While some boats may have been keen to get out and sail a final race -- these are Swans after all, boats capable of sailing offshore, and in the case of the Swan 65, race around the world. But the 95-boat fleet here in Porto Cervo is diverse with some older boats, some crewed by family and friends, some sailed short-handed. So with high winds recorded even at the dock, most were content to stay ashore today.

With yesterday’s racing postponed for lack of wind – it’s a bit of feast or famine in the wind department in Sardinia – the standings were left unchanged from Friday’s finishes. In the Maxi Class A, Danilo Salsi’s Swan 90 DSK Pioneer Investment (ITA) led over the new Swan 60, Emma (GER), and the elegant black-hulled Swan 112, Mystery.

The well-sailed DSK has several significant regattas under their belt, including the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea, Antigua Sailing Week, and RORC 600. DSK races with 18 people on board, and 12-13 of them have been the same for the past seven years. A good number of racing miles under her keel, plus a core crew that has been with Salsi both on the 90-footer and on the Swan 45 he successfully campaigned earlier, certainly contributed to their performance.

Salsi said, “This year is the result for us of two years of work on the boat to make it all okay – to understand the boat, to increase the performance – and what we saw on the water is what we had hoped to achieve.

“We built this boat for distance races, and this is all we’ve done up to now. This week and last week (at Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup) are the first coastal races we’ve done. And I think that the boat is well prepared for these kind of races, as well.”

In Grand Prix Class B, Piet Hein Baker’s Silveren Swaen (NED), a Swan 53, ended the week first ahead of the Swan 56, Clem (ESP) and the Swan 53, Crilia (GER).

Owner Piet Hein Bakker bought Silveren Swaen in 2007. Baker has been a Swan owner since the late 1970s and has previously owned four Swans: 48, 46, 43, and 39. Silveren Swaen has competed at the Swan Europeans in Cowes and in various regattas in Holland, but this is the first time for the team and boat in the Mediterranean and Porto Cervo.

Skipper Coon Verhorst said: “It was an excellent week; we are not used to sailing in blue waters, with lots of sun, wearing only t-shirts…so it was a beautiful week, we greatly enjoyed it. We are an amateur crew, the owner helms the boat, and we are basically a bunch of friends who regularly race the boat. We were lucky this time; but we did sail well, let’s put it that way. The competition on the water was excellent, you see a lot of professional teams, a lot of experienced sailors competing. So we came prepared as well; we bought new sails and went for it.”

In the Sparkman & Stephens Class C, Peter Simon’s Swan 65 Monsoon Jaguar (GBR) won on a tiebreak with Shirlaf (ITA), a ketch-rigged Swan 65 that was second, and Dream (ITA), a Swan 47, third.

Monsoon Jaguar won the Island Long Race in the 2008 Rolex Swan Cup, but this is the first time they’ve won their class overall. Owner/helmsman Simon said: “I think this event was really good this time because we had the S&S class, and it is very clear who the boats are that we are sailing against. So I think it’s great. We put quite a lot of effort into it, so I think our success reward is worthy of it, of what we achieved.

“The courses that were set were really good as well, very fair and challenging. I felt it was the best sailing I ever had. Sure it was short and sweet, but it was excellent and we were really, really pleased.”

Like many in the Sparkman & Stephens Class, Simon, who has had the boat for 20 years continued: “I fell in love with this boat, I really love it, it’s a classic. Even when I look around now is difficult for me to think of moving on to another boat.”

In the ClubSwan 42 Class, it was Enrico Scerni on Kora 4 (ITA) who repeated his win of 2008. Second was Leonardo Ferragamo on Cuor di Leone (ITA), and third was Natalia (ROM), notable for its enthusiastic and capable female skipper Natalia Brailoiu and as the first Swan from Romania.

On the dock after racing was cancelled, Scerni said: “We are happy, since all the crew and the people onboard worked very hard to win this race. We were lucky to win it for the second time, so happy. Porto Cervo is marvelous, one of the best spots to sail. It was a perfect week, marvelous weather, wind, and only one day with not too much wind.

“Competition is never easy, we had some good competitors, well-prepared, so it was very interesting. The most important thing is to have fun when you race, when you race in a place like this.”

Paul Cayard sailed as tactician onboard Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuor di Leone. Cayard first came to Porto Cervo in 1984 to sail in the Sardinia Cup, and since then has sailed in numerous World Championships, as well as Rolex Swan Cups.

Cayard said: “The Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo is a bit of an historic event in our sport, it has a lot of tradition. Here we have 95 boats, which is pretty exceptional. Swans are very high quality boats, they are capable of going in the ocean and at the same time they are capable of racing. There is a history first with Sparkman & Stephens who were the original designers for Swan, then the Frers family has been designing, then Ferragamo brought the company and added his own touches to it. So Swan has gone through a gentle evolution over the years, but always maintained its style, and class, and certainly quality as a product. That evolution has been well received -- it probably ends up touching more people because there are those who prefer the modern look, and those who love their classic Swan of 30 years ago.”

Cuor di Leone finished second to Kora 4, despite scoring two firsts during the week, including the Long Islands Race. Cayard says: “The differences between us and Kora 4 is their tuning of their boat was a little bit better than ours, their crew work was just a little bit better than ours, they’re smoother around the corners…and that makes all the difference in the world when the boats are essentially identical.

“This race course is challenging, like on the long race the other day you saw it - typically you can get two winds fighting each other: the Scirocco from the south and the Mistral, the westerly that comes through the Straits of Bonafacio, and it can be a difficult place to sail here because of that feature.”

Last evening the Rolex Crew Party took place at the Hotel Colonna Beach & Resort at Cala Granu. Guests were treated to an enchanting performance by the Italo-French Les Farfadais dance and arobatics troupe.

The prizegiving for the Rolex Swan Cup took place on the YCCS’s Piazza Azzurra. Nautor’s Swan CEO Leonardo Ferragamo, YCCS Commodore Ricardo Bonadeo, and Gian Riccardo Marini Managing Director of Rolex Italy presented the Rolex Swan Cup jointly to winners Danilo Salsi on DSK, Piet Hein Bakker on Silvern Swaen, Peter Simon on Monsoon Jaguar, and Enrico Scerni on Kora 4. Each of the winners was then presented with a Rolex Submariner timepiece.

Yesterday evening, Hendrik Brandis skipper and co-owner of Earlybird was awarded the Swan 45 Gold Cup and a Rolex Submariner timepiece as the Rolex Swan 45 World Champion.



Place, Boat, Nation, Skipper, Race 1-2-3, Total Points

Maxi - Class A

1) DSK Pioneer Investment (ITA), Danilo Salsi, 3-1-5, 9.0 points
2) EMMA (GER), Johann Killinger, 1-4-7, 12.0
3) MYSTERY, Amadoo Int.Corporation, 4-2-6, 12.0

Grand Prix - Class B

1) SILVEREN SWAEN (NED), P.H.J. Bakker, 2-1-1, 4.0 points
2) CLEM (ESP), Amanda Hartley, 1-3-4, 8.0
3) CRILIA (GER), Heinz-Gerd Stein, 3-2-5, 10.0

Classics - Class C

1) MONSOON JAGUAR (GBR), Peter Simon, 1-1-3, 5.0 points
2) SHIRLAF (ITA), Giuseppe Puttini, 2-2-1, 5.0
3) DREAM (ITA), Francesco Persio, 3-3-7, 13.0


1) EARLYBIRD (GER), Hendrik Brandis, 1-2-5-5-1-4.5-(6)-2, 20.5 points


2) BLUE NIGHTS (FIN), TEA Ekengren-Saurèn, (8)-6-2-4-6-1-2-1, 22.50
3) SAMANTAGA-DUVEL (BEL), Phillipe Moorgat/Patrick Van Henr, (6)-3-3-3-4-3-5-4, 25.0

Swan 42 - Class E

1) KORA 4 (ITA), Enrico Scerni, 1-1-1-(2)-3-1, 7.0 points

2) CUOR DI LEONE (ITA), Leonardo Ferragamo, (4)-4-2-1-1.5-4, 12.5
3) NATALIA (ROM), Kdf Energy Romania, 2-2-(3)-3-6-3, 16.0

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