Four winners from four nations took out the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Italy 18/9/06
The hard-fought quest for overall honours in the 14th Rolex Swan Cup ended with a testing day of racing yesterday, Sunday 17 September, at Porto Cervo, Italy.
The northwesterly Mistral gusted up to 30 knots with heavy seas outside the islands, providing a challenge for the 99 entries who had to tackle the 17-mile coastal course.
Moneypenny (USA) won on a tie-break in the Swan 601 fleet, while Italy’s DSK Comifin was able to fend off a strong US contingent among the Swan 45s. Aqua Equinox (BEL) took overall honours on handicap in the Grand Prix division (21 entries) and Jacobite (GBR) came first among the Classic division (45 entries).
In the Swan 601s, for James R. Swartz’s Moneypenny (USA) and Torbjorn Tornquist’s Artemis (SWE), the final race was a classic winner takes all scenario. The two yachts have been locked together in a gladiatorial contest all week and with the discard in play after five races only one place separated them in the standings. The pressure was greatest on Moneypenny, who had to win to be able to beat Artemis.
And win Moneypenny did, with Artemis finishing second, leaving the yachts tied on nine points. With both holding three bullets and three second-places they were inseparable on countback. The tie-break rules came into effect and the last race result was critical. Moneypenny won the race and with it the title. Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuor di Leone (ITA), with Paul Cayard calling the tactics, ended the series in third.
James Swartzfrom Moneypenny had had his sights set on winning the Rolex Swan Cup for a long time, he said: “Ever since I took delivery of the yacht last year, I have been aiming to win this regatta and this is a dream come true – a truly magical day. This event has allowed us to have some of our best racing ever against highly skilled crews on the other 601s and they provided us with great competition.
Swartz was aided by an all-star crew including several current and former America’s Cup and round the world sailors. Among them was Dee Smith as tactician and Mark Rudiger as navigator.
Despite losing the top spot, Torbjorn Tornquist, owner of Artemis, was gracious in defeat and had enjoyed the tough battle with Moneypenny, he commented: “I think this is one of the best places to sail in the world, with great wind and conditions, beautiful scenery and a fantastic yacht club which made sure everyone had a great time. I have really enjoyed sailing here.”
Tornquist competed two years ago on a Swan 48, but this event was a step up that he had relished, continuing; “Today’s racing was tough with the strong winds, but it was really interesting and demanding – we aimed high for this competition. Moneypenny worked really hard and had a very good crew, so did we, but I guess that’s the way it goes. It was very close, they had three wins, we had three wins. Now we’ll go home and think about what we can improve and we’ll be back in 2008 for sure.”
The 29-strong Swan 45 fleet from nine countries was led throughout the week by Danilo Salsi’s DSK Comifin (ITA), who had to fend off a strong contingent of US entries led by Dick Weismann’s Vixen. The Italian entry went into the last race of the series with a comfortable but still vulnerable 6-point lead over Vixen and the luxury of a ninth as worst result against Vixen’s weighty 22nd. The greater pressure was on Vixen. Weismann had to finish in the top three and hope Salsi would have his worst day of the regatta, finishing at least 7 places adrift. In the end it was too much to ask. The Italian crew finished fourth in today’s race and, despite a good start, Vixen faded in the tricky conditions coming home in ninth.
With a victory on corrected time in the last day of the series, Filip Balcaen’s Swan 56 Aqua Equinox (BEL), confirmed its leadership among the Grand Prix division, claiming overall honours with a comfortable 4-point lead. Massimo Dentice’s Swan 70 Bugia Bianca (ITA) took the second spot on the podium, with a fifth on handicap in the last race of the series. Roel Pieper’s Swan 80 Favonius claimed line honours in the last race and a third on corrected time, which was enough to end the series in third.
Filip Balcaen is at his third Rolex Swan Cup and feels that this has been his best event so far, as he said: “I must say it has been a fantastic regatta, it’s the third time we have entered and this year we have had our best performance. We came tenth the first time, then third and today first – it feels amazing. We have beaten some Swan 70s and other fantastic performers because we have the determination to win. The crew worked extremely hard and now it’s time to celebrate.”
In the Classic Fleet, Peter Simon’s Swan 65 Monsoon Jaguar (GBR), the fastest boat on the water among the division, once again claimed line honours in the last race but was unable to reach the podium. With a third on corrected time in the last race, Stephen & Benedict James claimed overall honours with their Swan 48 Jacobite. William Kardash’s Swan 44 Aura (USA) came in second, followed by Colin Buffin’s Swan 44 Junkanoo (GBR).
The four division winners were awarded with the Swan Cup Trophy and a coveted Rolex Submariner timepiece.
FINAL STANDINGS- Top 3 boats
1. DSK COMIFIN Danilo Salsi ITA,
2. VIXEN Dick Weismann USA
3. FEVER Klaus Diederichs/Grant Gordon GBR
1. MONEYPENNY James R. Swartz USA
2. ARTEMIS Torbjorn Tornquist SWE
3. CUOR DI LEONE Leonardo Ferragamo ITA
1. AQUA EQUINOX Swan 56 Filip Balcaen BEL
2. BUGIA BIANCA Swan 70 Massimo Dentice ITA
3. FAVONIUS Swan 80 Roel Pieper SWE
1. JACOBITE Swan 48 Stephen and Benedict James GBR
2. AURA Swan 44 William J. Kardash USA
3. JUNKANOO Swan 44 Colin Buffin GBR