Wind drops for the penultimate day at Swan 45 Gold Cup 20/1/06

On the penultimate day of the Swan 45 Gold Cup 2006, 16 Swan 45s from four countries continued to battle it out for the World Champion title. Calmer seas and a slight drop in wind speed made way for fiercer competition between the teams. With today seeing some unexpected results for the leading Swan 45s, tomorrow’s races will be key in determining the overall podium places and the World Champion of this nine race series at Acura Key West.

Yesterday’s overall leader, Goombay Smash (William Douglass, USA), with Match Racing champion Chris Law as tactician, slipped into second place on the leaderboard after taking sixth, then 12th place in the two races today. Bellicosa (Massimo Ferragamo, USA) seized the day and belligerently fought her way to the top of the Swan 45 Gold Cup standings, with first and third place respectively. DSK Comifin (Danilo Salsi, ITA) dropped into third, while Jeroboam (Vittorio Codecasa, ITA) has shown the greatest improvement overall in the Swan 45 Class, rising from 15th place at the end of day one, to fourth at the end of day four.

The first race of the day started in north-easterly 22 knot wind, and was quickly dominated by Bellicosa. Fist round the first mark, and leading confidently for the entire race, Massimo Ferragamo was pleased with the crew’s performance: “I would call it a good day any time we can get a first and a third in this kind of fleet. I think everything is in sync, everyone is doing their job. We are all doing well, we have a great team and everything is coming together. For tomorrow, we have no hopes, or the same hopes as today – to continue to sail well.”

Current Swan 45 Gold Cup holder Mintaka (Stefano Polti, ITA) has suffered some bad luck over the last couple of days, retiring early from race five yesterday after a collision and suffering some sail damage today. However, after winning today’s second race and the jury awarding Mintaka a 6.8 average score for race five, Polti’s spirits, and his position on the leaderboard, are rising: “It was a difficult second race, because we lost a spinnaker, but I think I have the best crew, because in 40 seconds the replacement spinnaker was up! It was very difficult, because chasing us was Vittorio Codecasa, who’s boat is really, really good with these conditions. I’m happy, because I wanted to come first at least once this week.” Mintaka now stands in fifth place overall.

Another Swan 45 that saw an outstanding result today was Yasha (Yukihiro Ishida, Japan), named after the mythical demon protector of the Japanese people, and helmed by America’s Cup veteran Tony Rey. Ishida, new to the Swan 45 Class, was very excited by Yasha’s third place in race two: “The team is excellent – Tony Rey is the sailing manager and we have a really good crew. It’s a new boat, only delivered in July last year, but I am enjoying it very much.”

In Division 2 at Acura Key West, another member of the Swan family, Swan 601 Moneypenny (Jim Swartz, USA), has been enjoying tremendous success in class IRC 1. After battling each race with Rolex Sydney Hobart 2004 winner, Ker 55 Aera (Nick Lykiardopulo, GBR), at the end of day four Moneypenny remains triumphant, and is first place on the overall class leaderboard.

Swartz took delivery of Swan 601 Moneypenny, so named because her hull number is 007, in July 2005 and to lead over such an established yacht as Aera within a year of launch is testament to the Swan 601’s racing capabilities.

With the Swan 45s the ‘ones to watch’ on the water, and Swan 601 Moneypenny dominating her class, excitement is building to see what will happen on the final day of racing in Key West

Results (provisional)

1. BELLICOSA – Massimo FERRAGAMO (USA) 1,14,4,1,5,1,3 – 29 points

2. GOOMBAY SMASH – William DOUGLAS (USA) 4,3,1,2,3,6,12 – 31

3. DSK COMIFIN – Danilo SALSI (ITA) 8,1,3,5,4,13,4 – 38

4. JEROBOAM CANOVA – Vittorio CODESCASA (ITA) 15,12,6,6,1,5,2 – 47

5. MINTAKA – Stefano POLTI (GBR) 5,4,10,11, avg 6.8, 10,1 – 47.8