The second edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean concluded in style on Saturday, March 7th following four terrific days of sailing in the British Virgin Islands. Excellent conditions and consistent breezes upwards of 20 knots provided constant challenges for the 21-strong fleet of Swan yachts as they negotiated courses taking in Virgin Gorda’s turquoise waters and evocatively named islands.
Having dominated proceedings from the very first race, Swan 80 Selene (CAY) and James Blakemore’s Swan 53 Music (GBR) were confirmed as the two Class winners – redemption for both crews after being denied on the final day in 2013.
The Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean marks the continuation of the longstanding partnership between Nautor’s Swan, Rolex and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). The Swan family has become accustomed to a world-class competition at the Rolex Swan Cup, organized since 1980 at the YCCS’s flagship base in Porto Cervo. In keeping with Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, the Virgin Gorda archipelago is a sailing paradise, stunningly scenic and tactically engaging in equal measure.
“It’s one of the best events I’ve ever been to,” said James Madden, owner of Swan 601 Stark Raving Mad (USA) and defending champion in the five-strong Class A (yachts measuring 18.29m and above).
Unfortunately for Stark Raving Mad the week’s heavier breeze favored their larger rivals, notably Selene and Tom Siebel’s Odin, the fastest boat on the water.
Consistent sailing from Day 1 proved key for Selene, winner of all four races. Selene gave a master class in keeping things measured. “We had a lot of breeze which the boat clearly likes,” said skipper Terry Halpin. “The secret of Selene is the fantastic team that we have been building up over the years. We’ve been able to identify the strengths among our crew and do maneuvers on the boat really well.” Selene’s nearest rivals Odin finished four points further back with defending champion Stark Raving Mad having to settle for third.
Music finished second in Class B (yachts measuring 18.28m and below) in 2013 losing out to Swan 42 Arethusa on the final day. Blakemore’s all South African crew began in determined fashion and performed flawlessly.
“The heavier conditions suited the boat and the boys sailed really well the whole week, we had no major mistakes or failures,” said a delighted Blakemore.
Like Selene, Music also won all four races. Her nearest rival was Paolo Scerni’s Swan 42 Kora 6 (USA) who finished some six points behind.
“This has been a wonderful event for everyone – the owners, the crews, their families and friends. The Rolex Swan Cup is always a showcase of passion and sportsmanship, and a testament to the joy of sailing,” commented Nautor’s Swan Chairman Leonardo Ferragamo.
A view shared by YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo. “There is a good reason why the YCCS, Nautor’s Swan and Rolex have been collaborating for over 30 years and this week has embodied the spirit of collaboration, sportsmanship and camaraderie that has characterized our partnership from the beginning. This is only the second edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean but already this gentleman’s regatta has captured our hearts and become a firm fixture on our calendar, here’s to an even bigger and better event in 2017 in occasion of the Yacht Club’s 50th anniversary.”
At the prize giving, Selene and Music were presented with the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean Trophy and awarded Rolex timepieces.
The 19th edition of the Rolex Swan Cup will be held in Porto Cervo from September 12-18 2016.