ClubSwan is celebrating a successful Gazprom Swan European Regatta as well as the inaugural Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship and 2013 Swan 45 World Championship. Held simultaneously during July in Cowes, at the heart of global yachting, the three Nautor events offered both owners and crew with exemplar Swan sailing.
The mix in ClubSwan events at Cowes produced an extremely diverse 2013 Swan fleet. Amateur crews were coupled with the elite Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship teams in pursuit of their first ever World title while the seasoned Swan 45 crews were in contention for the prestigious Swan 45 Gold Cup.
America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veterans, as well as World Champions and Olympians sprinkled their stardust on the regatta. Top names included; Brad Butterworth, Tommaso Chieffi, Adrian Stead, Andy Beadsworth, Peter van Niekerk and Bouwe Bekking. British Swan 36 Sheevra finishing ninth in Class C presented a different crew dynamic with owner Jonathan Wallis choosing to race with his wife and four children. Jonathan Wallis spoke about his Swan 36, 'Sheevra has given us such pleasure over the last seven years, the boat is beautiful to sail and always astonishes me with her speed in the lights airs.'
All sailors appreciated the quality race management offered by the Royal Yacht Squadron. The Yacht Club originating during the 1800s has a worldwide reputation for excellency in racing. Captain Simon van der Byl Principle Race Officer is aware of the unique Solent conditions and therefore focused on communications with competitors through daily briefings and radio updates, 'The six hour tidal cycle coupled with a tide flow of up to four knots off the Squadron can present a difficult scenario for first time visitors.'
The addition of Gazprom as a ClubSwan partner is a new ingredient to this well established Swan regatta. The global energy company holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves and has a strong commitment to the sport of sailing from grass roots through to professional racing. The Russian company has a sustained long term involvement with Nautor’s Swan born through the development of the Gazprom Swan 60 Class. Valery Golubev, Deputy Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, attending the Cowes based event commented on his experience, 'It has been a pleasure to watch the Swans racing this week and enjoy the atmosphere that the owners and crew create.'
Winning with a race to spare Vladimir Liubomirov, Commodore of the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg Russia, helming his Swan 60 Bronenosec (RUS) accompanied by his daughter Polina took the inaugural title of Gazprom Swan 60 World Champions with six solid firsts across 11 races. In a change to the overall results the Swan 45 World Champion title went to Philippe Moortgat and Patrick Van Heurck’s entry Samantaga (BEL), this team’s positions have remained in the top three spots for the majority of the week. No Limits (NED) led this competitive fleet all week but was disqualified due to a protest.
Double Swan owner Edward Leask GBR and son Magnus have retained their European title from 2011, being crowned the Gazprom Swan European Regatta Champions for Class A racing their Club Swan 42 Magical Mystery Tour. Class B racing was too close to predict the winner going into the final two races, Ray Mitchell’s Swan 411 Accomplice (GBR) put in serious effort to pull through into first just in front of the Baum family on board their much cared for Swan 48 Elan (GER). Leader of Class C home to some of the most traditional Swans had an extremely consistent set of results, British owner Chris Frost racing with his daughter Charlotte on their Swan 36 Finola had much to celebrate as new European Champions with a record win in all races.
Celebrity guest appearances were made by female Olympic racing stars Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) and Shirley Robertson (GBR) taking to the helm of the Swan 60s. Providing a spectacle as an additional activity after the main competition the ladies took part in a match racing duel. Ekaterina Skudina finished in fourth place at the London 2012 Olympic Games and was Russian Women’s Sailor of the Year from 2009-2012. Shirley Robertson OBE is a double Olympic gold medallist and took a two- zero victory over her younger Russian counterpart.
Also joining the ClubSwan festivities was Heinrich Voelker’s freshly launched Swan 53 Kathea (GER). The brand new Swan 53 came straight from her build at the Nautor’s Swan Boat Technology Centre in Finland. This was an exciting entry into the ClubSwan fraternity for the newly established Swan owner.
The ClubSwan Regatta Village was a very welcome new addition to the Gazprom Swan European Regatta après racing scene. The glorious weather and daily live music drew Swan sailors together relaxing in the open air guest zone. In addition the Royal Yacht Squadron’s manicured lawns with panoramic views across the Solent offered the ultimate setting for the welcome reception, owner’s dinner and final prize giving hosted in typically English surroundings. The highlight though for many sailors was the crew party where teams danced waterside under the stars.
Enrico Chieffi, Managing Director, Oy Nautor Ab, remarked on a successful edition, 'It was an amazing week in Cowes, not only do we have two new World Champions and an European Champion, the event has brought ClubSwan members closer together enjoying their Swans with friends and family. The weather was outstanding for us all and the Royal Yacht Squadron Race Committee ensured quality racing throughout the event. The buzz at the ClubSwan Regatta Village has spread throughout the classes with fun social events appealing to all. I am very much looking forward to the next edition of the Gazprom Swan European Regatta in 2015.'
The World Champions were presented after seven days of competition with Asprey crafted trophies at the ClubSwan prize giving which included 50 awards. Nautor will be returning to Cowes in 2015 for the 18th edition of the Gazprom Swan European Regatta.
Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship
1 Bronenosec (RUS) Vladimir Liubomirov
2 Knights of Crevichon (GBR) Sir Peter Ogden
3 Tsaar Peter (BVI) Igor Frolov
Swan 45 World Championship
1 Samantaga (BEL) Philippe Mortgat / Patrick Van Heurck
2 VanUden (NED) VanUden Group
3 WISC (GBR) Glynn Williams
Gazprom Swan European Regatta
1 Magical Mystery Tour (GBR) Edward Leask
2 Brevity (GBR) Mark Devereux
3 Yellow Drama IV (GBR) Stephen Matthews / Roger Barber
1 Accomplice (GBR) Ray Mitchell
2 Elan (GER) Harald Baum
3 Best Buddies (GER) Kay-Johannes Wrede
1 Finola (GBR) Chris Frost
2 Moustique (GBR) Alan Major
3 Cisne (NED) David Collins / Tony Thorpe