One of the most appealing facets of racing in The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League 2019 is the open nature of the competition. A quality emphatically demonstrated during today’s first day of racing at the Scarlino Swan One Design, the second event of the season and Nautor’s Swan first sustainable regatta.
Following three intense and approximately hour-long races for the 24-strong fleet across the three Classes – ClubSwan 50, Swan 45 and ClubSwan 42 – eight crews were able to savour victories: OneGroup (Germany), Ulika (Italy) and Mathilde (Switzerland) in ClubSwan 50; Blue Nights (Finland), Porron IX (Spain) and Motions (Netherlands) in Swan 45 and Far Star (Italy) and Fantaghiro’ (Italy, two race wins) in ClubSwan 42.
On top of the respective leaderboards after the first day of competition are: Earlybird (Germany, ClubSwan 50), Porron IX (Swan 45) and Fantaghiro’ (ClubSwan 42).
The first two races were played out under a consistent 11-12-knot breeze with the menacing rain shower developing over the Tuscan hills sparing the race course. The third race was impacted by lighter, shiftier breezes with the finish line for the Swan 45 and ClubSwan 42 fleets brought forward to the second upwind mark.
Three races, three winners. Proof of the open nature across this fiercely-contested competition which demands full concentration and constant teamwork. Stefan Heidenreich’s World Champions OneGroup laid down an early statement of intent in winning the first race of the regatta, one she led from the approach to the first windward mark. However, the form book was turned on its head during race two with Andrea Masi’s Ulika recovering from eighth place in race one to take the plaudits. In the third race and in changing conditions, Mathilde found herself on the right side of the race course on the final leg to overtake Cuordileone (Italy) and claim victory.
The most consistent performer across the first day, and often a measure of who may go the distance, was Hendrik Brandis’s Earlybird, registering two second places and a third. “It was a great day, good race courses, everyone did a fantastic job getting sails up and down especially around the corners,” explained tactician Chris Larson. “Our set ups were good. It’s all about how you get off the line and stay out of traffic on the first leg to make sure you can get in the front pack.” OneGroup is second in the overall standings and Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuordileone, third.
Having made a clean sweep of the season opener in Monaco, Luis Senis’s World Champion Porron IX (Spain) has become accustomed to winning. However, in today’s first race, Tea Ekengren-Saurén’s Blue Nights (Finland) proved that yesterday’s excellent performance in the practice race was a sign of things to come and that the level of competition has been raised a notch. Blue Nights claimed the first bullet of the regatta with Porron IX second and Swing Cube (Italy) third. Come race two Porron IX showed her class in claiming victory ahead of Motions. That second place was an injection of confidence for Lennard van Oeveren’s crew who then won the final race of the day. “We owe our performance to hard work,” revealed van Oeveren. “All the boats here are so fast. There were quite some wind shifts, many hard to predict. This is our first race after six months of not sailing so everyone is getting reacquainted with their roles.” On today’s evidence, they did so in impressive fashion.
“Everything is on,” remarked Fantaghiro’s renowned Italian sailor Flavio Favini after a first day which saw Carlandrea Simonelli’s crew take bullets in races two and three. This after Far Star, triumphant in Monaco’s season opener, won the first race. “For us it was a very good day,” continued Favini. “We lost ground on the last mark in the first race when we were leading. However, in the last race we won after overtaking the leader going into the upwind mark finish. The regatta will be open until the very end.” A statement backed by the facts with four points separating the first four boats.
Swan sailors support sustainability
Marking the official launch of Nautor’s Swan sustainable regatta project, and in partnership with Marevivo, each of the 24 crews competing at Scarlino Swan One Design have been provided with reusable materials and sustainability guidelines. The initiative has been well received by those attending such as the crew of the ClubSwan 50 Perhonen (Great Britain) who have also adopted their own eco-friendly measures including the use of a water filter system to reduce reliance on plastic. “Especially on charters we were seeing that 75% of our rubbish was from plastic bottles and in the end we decided this was outrageous,” explained boat captain Edward Campbell. “The initiative to change comes from the owner and the crew. We’ve seen first hand the issues with pollution. The plastic you see in the ocean, bottles and bags, is substantial while the plastic you can’t see is an even bigger issue. The initiative put in place this week (including the provision of reusable aluminium water bottles to all crews) is great and massive. And it has been made easy to adopt. At events, we need to make it easier to recycle on the docks and not finish with 25 plastic bottles at the end of the day. People are becoming more conscious. With initiatives like this it could become the norm.”