Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean – Freya and Cuordileone enjoy perfect start.

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. 2nd March 2017.

Bright, blustery conditions and plenty of breeze made the first race day of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2017 one to remember. The fleet took to the starting line just off Necker Island this morning as scheduled and shot off on a breathtaking course through the islands and islets around Virgin Gorda. With gusts touching 25 knots and a course that brought stretches of both flat and choppy seas, today’s racing was fast, challenging and beautiful to watch. Leading the fleet after Day One are Don MacPherson’s Freya in the Maxi division and Leonardo Ferragamo’s Clubswan 50 Cuordileone in the Mini Maxi/Grand Prix division.

The 2016-launched Highland Fling 15 lived up to expectations as she fairly flew across the starting line and tore around the course well in front of the fleet while the two Swan 90s Freya and B5 battled it out for second place behind her. Highland Fling 15, with Mike Toppa on tactics, went on to take line honours but slipped down the ranking on handicap. Freya, boasting VOR veteran Kimo Worthington on tactics, is followed in the leaderboard by Selene, winner of the previous edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean held in Virgin Gorda in 2015, in second place. The Swan 80 Plis Play, fielding an all-Spanish team headed by owner Vicente Torres, sits in third place.

A veritable match race raged at the head of the Mini Maxi/Grand Prix class today as the two Clubswan 50 yachts put their racing prowess to the test in near-perfect regatta conditions. A thrilling conclusion saw the boats cross the finish line just seconds apart with Courdileone just slipping into the lead in corrected time by 2 seconds ahead of Earlybird, with Jochen Schuemann on tactics.

Ken Read, tactician on board Cuordileone, enjoyed this superb sailing day: “This area is always breathtaking to sail in and I think anybody in the fleet would have a hard time saying there is any other better place to go sailing or racing in the world. Great breeze, 20 knots, a fast fun boat, great crew: a day like today just makes you realise why we all love sailboat racing so much.  The key to today was very simple, Daniele Cassinari and Mr Ferragamo just did a great job of keeping the boat going fast. If those two guys do a great job then the rest of it is pretty easy.”

Following the two Clubswan 50s in the classification are Gibb Kane’s Swan 66 Bounty in third place and the smallest boat in the fleet, the 1979-launched Best Buddies, owned by Kay-Johannes Wrede.

After a rousing but demanding day on the water, crews were more than happy to put their skills to the test in a more relaxing activity back at YCCS Marina.  The much-awaited Cocktail Competition - judged by a panel of experts representing YCCS, Rolex and Nautor – saw the participating mixologists go head-to-head in terms of creativity, originality, presentation and taste. After some deliberation the Swan 60 Nai’a claimed overall victory with a Caribbean concoction that wowed the jury.

Proceedings on the race course resume tomorrow, Friday 3rd March at the later time of 12 midday with more easterly winds of approximately 18-20 knots forecast.

Keep up with daily news, results and photos from the regattas on our website and via social media using #rolexswancup #yccs_bvi #nautorswan.

Video: A VNR will be available from the IMG server on Sunday 5th March, download details are available on request.


Jill Campbell/Marialisa Panu

Nautor’s Swan
Virginia De Carlo