by Kate Holmes
On the last day of racing at the 2012 Rolex Swan Cup, the fleet was put to a final tactical test in very light and shifty conditions. All was to play for in the Maxi Class but in the end it was Vladimir Liubomirov’s Swan 60, Bronenosec that claimed overall class honours and was awarded the Rolex Swan Cup as well as a Rolex timepiece.
Bronenosec finished 3rd today to take overall victory in the 2012 Rolex Swan Cup
The team headed out on the water fully focused today as they blamed yesterday’s performance where they finished fifth on a loss of concentration. The crew coached by Tommaso Chieffi finished in third place today to win the Class by just one point.
'This win is of huge significance,' said Tommaso Chieffi. 'At the beginning of the season we met with Vladimir Liubomirov and as well as having a good season he wanted to win the Rolex Swan Cup. Everything else was intended as preparation but the goal was this week in Sardinia. It’s been a very successful two weeks as we also won the cruising division in our class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup last week. Everyone is really excited about the result. At the beginning of the season we were finishing a leg behind Emma and that was only a few months ago.'
Speaking about how far the team has come in the last four months or so Tommaso added: 'Everyone has had the motivation. The Russian crew had total inexperience of big boats but they had the will and desire to learn and get better and better. My Italian guys help them a lot in coaching and we had Russians in roles today that at the beginning of the season wouldn’t have been possible.'
Owner and helmsman Vladimir Liubomirov in particular has come on leaps and bounds:
Bronenosec team were awarded the 2012 Rolex Swan Cup
'It’s been an incredible improvement since the inception. I remember in Palma sailing in 25 knots of breeze and the first time we put the spinnaker up we broached and the broach lasted probably five minutes. He had to learn how to steer in light wind, heavy wind, upwind, downwind plus reaching so he’s done a lot in four months. Of course he was already a good sailor as he races Dragons but sailing a big boat is a whole different game. He’s come a long way.'
The team’s next event is the Nord Stream Race which is a 750 nautical mile annual Baltic offshore race scheduled to start on 17 October 2012. The race will follow the route of the Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea and will cross the waters of Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany, bringing together participants from more than 15 European countries.
'It will be a very tough regatta as the conditions will be ugly. It’s going to be cold and dark so we’re trying to prepare as best as we can. Of course we’re looking forward to it and it will be a new experience for us,' continued Tommaso Chieffi.
'The preparation comes from the season that we’ve done together and getting everyone more and more involved so they can play different roles and play them proficiently. The second way we are preparing is getting organised for rotation as it’s going to be cold. So not everyone can be on deck so I will need a roster system and we’re also working on safety. We’re thinking about making it compulsory to have life rafts on deck. All the different aspects like clothing, kit and sails need to be thought about because the conditions will be severe.'
On today’s win Vladimir Liubomirov, Commodore of Saint Petersburg Yacht Club, added: 'We have had a fantastic week of sailing with some very changing conditions. We race well together and it’s been a lot of fun. We have only had Bronenosec since March and already this is our second win of the season. It has been great to have all the Swans present in Sardinia and see how our boat competes with the rest of the fleet.'
St Petersburg Yacht Club website