Ossie Stewart, one of the UK’s top racers, chats to Sue Pelling about Serano of London, the Swan 70 he’s currently sailing during Antigua Race Week
After the first two days at Antigua Race Week, Serano of London, the Swan 70 has notched up some respectable results including a first, third and a fourth in the Racing Big Boat fleet. Owned by Robert Condon, skippered Joe English and crewed by a team of 25 experienced racers including Ossie Stewart as tactician, this new Swan, which was launched last year, has already shown potential and is set to do some serious business on the big boat racing circuit this year.
Since her launch, what sort of training have you done before Antigua?
She was basically launched and went straight to her first regatta in St Tropez last autumn where she finished second overall from a 38-boat fleet. She’s actually proving to be very competitive which is quite a surprise to everybody.
How much of a threat is Pyewacket, who seems to be dominating Antigua Race Week so far?
Pyewacket is incredibly fast upwind and downwind and I think it’s going to be extremely hard to beat her overall this week. She is, after all, an out-and-out racer, as opposed to our Swan which is a racer/cruiser. We’re 70ft loa and weigh 28 tons and she’s 75ft loa and weighs about 10 tons less.
After Antigua, what’s next on the programme?
We have packed year ahead including Cork Week, Cowes Week, Round the Island Race and then the Swan world championship in Sardinia in September. In fact, it’s the worlds that we’re really focussing on because she seems to be very competitive within the Swan class and we hope to win that event. However, having said that, we’re not forgetting the two other Swan 70s, Italian boats, which are yet to be launched and to be sailed by some hot Italian sailors.
And apart from Swan regattas and European race weeks, what other sailing are you doing this year?
I’m sailing on Soto Voce, the new 20m mini-maxi which is owned by a Dutch guy. I’m sailing on that, for the first time, at the end of this week in Porto Fino at a maxi regatta. It’s then on to the IMS worlds in Capri, a big boat regatta in St Tropez at the end of May, followed by the Maxi worlds in Sardinia the week before the Swans. I’m also sailing a Farr 40 in preparation for the Farr 40 worlds in the Bahamas.