Xaossa, from La Trinite sur Mer, only had one result outside the top three places in the small boat fleet at this week's Swan European Regatta at Cowes

A French Swan 42 has won the 2001 Swan European Regatta. Xaossa, from La Trinite sur Mer, only had one result outside the top three places in the small boat fleet, throughout the week.

Jean-Michel Carpentier, sailing with a crew consisting of his two daughters and some friends all aged between 20 and 30, was the overnight leader. The crew secured the title by finishing second to Menenes in the small boat class in Thursday’s (14 June) last race.

Xaossa were one of the pre-regatta favourites, having won their class at Spi Ouest earlier this year and recorded third place overall at the 2000 Swan Cup. He has been competing in the Swan Class for over 20 years and his best finish previously was a second place in the 1982 Swan European Regatta.

“I expected tough competition from both Saga and Menenes, which was the case. I’m pleased to have won this prestigious regatta.”

In her first major regatta helming a big boat, Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson steered Stephen James’ Swan 48 Jacobite to a regatta class victory. Shirley “I really enjoyed the event and learnt a lot. It was a great initiation for me to sail on such a good boat with such a good crew. The crew had high expectations coming into the event, so I had to rise to the occasion.”

However, the handicap system meant that Robertson never quite knew where she was placed on the race course. “From a helmsman’s point of view you just focus on your job of making the boat go fast, you don’t really know which boats are winning.

After a one-hour wait for the wind, the only race of the day started at 1130hrs. In a three knot south-westerly breeze, the fleet headed east under spinnaker with the tide underneath them. Within 800 metres the wind shifted to the south-east and the fleet were soon close hauled. Island Fling and Jacobite, having started at the pin end of the line, were the best placed for the wind shift. Once again Island Fling led the whole way round the racecourse but it was Crackerjack who took their first regatta victory on corrected time.

Once the fleet got into the eastern Solent the breeze steadied and freshened to 8-10 knots, and again the 61 Swans enjoyed the conditions on a windward/ leeward course. The big boats raced a 30-mile course, with the smaller Swans sent around on a 22-mile race.

All three contenders for the small boat division started within shouting distance of one another at the outer end of the Squadron line. Menenes managed to keep her kite full in the light conditions and was able to get a jump on the two chasing French Swans. They led from start to finish to win the race by three and a half minutes, however, Xaossa sailed well to finish second. Jo Richards, tactician aboard Menenes explained: “There were a lot of wind shifts and bends on the course today, so it was obvious to go all one way quite often. We did our best and could do no more today.”

The next event for Nautor’s Swan will be the Swan American Regatta in Newport Rhode Island from 7-13 July 2001.


Big boat class

1st Crackerjack – GBR

2nd Island Fling – GBR

3rd Elan – GER

Small boat class

1st Menenes – GBR

2nd Xaossa – FRA

3rd Moustique – GBR

Overall Big boat class (5 races, 1 discard)

1st Jacobite – 4.5,3,12,2,1,5 – 15.5 points

2nd Island Fling – 8,13,2,1,9,2 – 22 points

3rd Crackerjack – 6,11,4,5,12,1 – 27 points

Overall Small boat class(5 races, 1 discard)

1st Xaossa – 1,2,25,3,1,2 – 9 points

2nd Menenes – 2,5,1,2,5,1 – 11 points

3rd Saga – 3,1,2,12, 2,5 – 13 points