Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2013. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the British Virgin Islands provided the sumptuous setting for the Caribbean sailing spectacle which concluded today after four days of sporting competition. Over 20 Nautor's Swan yachts representing nearly ten countries and territories provided a dynamic spectacle in idyllic waters and varying wind conditions. The week's triumphant crews and recipients of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean Trophy and Rolex timepieces were: Stark Raving Mad (USA) in Class A (reserved for yachts measuring upwards of 18.29m/60-ft) and Arethusa (USA) in Class B (yachts measuring less than 18.29m).
Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean. Class A winners Swan 601 Stark Raving Mad.
'It is similar to sailing in the Maddalena in Sardinia,' explained Tony Rey, tactician on Swan 601 Stark Raving Mad (USA). 'It is an absolutely spectacular place, a stunning place to sail. The wind is always shifting providing many challenges.' Experienced America's Cup sailor Mike Toppa, calling tactics on Swan 90 Freya (USA), confirmed: 'A lot of the rock formations resemble Porto Cervo which is kind of neat. The Race Committee and organizers are the same between the Rolex Swan Cup and here. It is familiar and in that way very nice.'
Phil Lotz and his crew on Swan 42 Arethusa (USA) used the competition as part of their build up for September's New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex. Lotz is in agreement that Virgin Gorda provides a scenic and testing environment: 'We always enjoy coming here and sailing around the islands. Generally conditions are pretty good. We tend to come down every other year. It's fun.'
In seven knots of breeze, Stark Raving Mad started the final 11-nm race with intent and quickly mounted an insurmountable lead. Final race victory combined with a second place for closest rival Swan 80 Selene decreed Madden's crew as Class victors. 'During the final two days the winds were lighter which overall is of great benefit to us,' said Madden. 'The crew did a really good job making no errors, consistently trimming the sails well and moving the boat at speed.'
Victory in today's final race ensured Arethusa won Class B by a single point. 'Conditions were perfect for us in the final race,' enthused Lotz. 'We got a good start at our favoured end of the line. The first beat was clean which was important in a fleet with so many big boats. We wanted to sail as cleanly as possible.' Arethusa, like Stark Raving Mad, displayed persistence and harmonious teamwork, seizing the favourable shift in wind conditions as the week progressed. Arethusa's intention is to defend her crown during the next edition in 2015.
Sportsmanship and teamwork were hallmarks both on and off the water. The Swan world was united through both competition and the series of elegant and popular social gatherings that permeated the week. A spirit typified by the camaraderie displayed in the additional five-strong cruising Class which engaged in their own competition, representing the values of gentlemen sailing so typical of the Swan world.
Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean. Class B winners Swan 42 Arethusa.
YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo was delighted with the week's proceedings: 'The inaugural edition of the event has been a resounding success: beautiful boats, great conditions and excellent sailing, we couldn't have asked for anything more. The events that the Club organizes together with Rolex and Nautor's Swan always have a special atmosphere and this new regatta is no exception. After this wonderful week of sportsmanship and camaraderie we are already looking forward to the return of the fleet to Virgin Gorda in two year's time.'
Proceedings culminated with the official prizegiving at the YCCS clubhouse overlooking North Sound where the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean Trophy and Rolex timepieces were presented to Class winners Stark Raving Mad and Arethusa. The 18th edition of the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo will take place in September 2014.
Regattas continue at YCCS Virgin Gorda with the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous running from 20th to 23rd March and the Loro Piana Superyacht Trophy leaving the BVI for St Barths on 25th March.
The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda