Race Start


Porto Cervo, 11 September 2018 – Throughout its near 40-year history, the Rolex Swan Cup has showcased a broad spectrum of yachting heritage and innovation. As Nautor’s Swan continues to evolve with new launches and designs and with its classic models from yesteryear affectionately maintained by their owners, this biennial event – defined by its close partnership between Rolex, Nautor’s Swan and organisers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda – grows richer and more diverse at every edition.

Racing at this year’s event commenced today with six classes in action. Owing to the fickle conditions, the breeze only filling in early this afternoon, the fleet were dispatched on short racecourses. Leading after the first day of competition are: Plis Play in Swan Maxi; Coratge in Grand Prix; Sarabande in Sparkman & Stephens Classic; Onegroup in the ClubSwan 50 World Championship; Elena Nova in the Swan 45 World Championship and Selene Alifax in the ClubSwan 42 European Championship.

The 2018 fleet, comprising 110 yachts from 17 countries, encompasses some fifty years of yacht design. The oldest entrant is the Swan 36 Josian, winner of the inaugural Rolex Middle Sea Race in 1968. The Swan 65, at the vanguard of sailing world when the event was conceived in the early 1980s, is represented by a record ten entrants. At the cutting-edge of current Nautor’s thinking are the Swan 78 and Swan 54, respectively making their competitive Porto Cervo debut.

Another exciting first at this 20th edition is the Class World Championship for the ClubSwan 50. Comprising twelve highly-competitive one design yachts, an intense five days of sailing will determine the inaugural world champion. For the owner-helmsmen, the prospect of being crowned winner of the competition at Sunday’s final prize giving is one of incredible allure.

Race Start

Renowned yachtsman Ken Read is tactician on Nautor’s Swan Chairman Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuordileone. Read is drawn not only to the prize on offer but the nature of the test itself. “When you go head to head against another well-sailed, identical boat, technically the best person wins,” he explains. “The best sailors aren’t drawn away from competition and the competition here is fantastic.” Read is one of a number of prominent names in attendance. In the ClubSwan 50 competition alone are tacticians Bouwe Bekking (Niramo), Tommaso Chieffi (Scorpidi), Cameron Dunn (Onegroup), Lisa McDonald (Stay Calm) and Jochen Schümann (Earlybird).

“We have been preparing all season for this. With the fleet being so close anything can happen, someone can win one race and then come last the next. It will be a very tight championship with competitive boats all going at a good speed,” adds Chieffi. “Today the light conditions made the job for tacticians, helmsmen and trimmers very difficult.”

Bekking is an experienced Swan sailor but newer to the ClubSwan 50 than the likes of Chieffi and Schümann. His background in gruelling one-design championships makes him well-placed though to identify where the championship may be won, and indeed lost. “The racing will be tight as the previous ClubSwan 50 events have shown. What is interesting is that there is no discard. That has an influence on how you set up and sail. You cannot afford to have a bad result or make many mistakes when the competition is so good.”


ONEGROUP, Bow n: 38, Sail n: GER5011, Class: Club Swan 50, Model: 50
MATHILDE, Bow n: 36, Sail n: SUI5004, Class: Club Swan 50, Model: 50

Expanding on Bekking’s belief that consistent sailing will be key, Read identifies the importance of teamwork in achieving this objective. “Most of these boats sail with twelve people. There is real choreography that has to take place to sail the boats well, team effort in every single manoeuvre even simply to go in a straight line.” Performing most impressively today across two races was Stefan Heidenreich’s German entry Onegroup finishing second and first. Swiss entry Mathilde claimed the day’s other race win.

Two other one design classes are engaged in their own major championships, the ClubSwan 42, featuring 14 yachts, hosts its Europeans. Nadir and Mela claimed bullets on the first day and Selene Alifax proved the most consistent performer with two second places. A first and a third place have ensured Elena Nova, winner in 2016, commands the Swan 45 division going into the second day.

Racing at the 2018 Rolex Swan Cup continues tomorrow, Wednesday 12 September. A highlight of the competition programme is Saturday’s Island Long Race which will send most of the fleet across some of the most spectacular and scenic locations in the Maddalena archipelago. In the year Rolex celebrates the 60th anniversary of its proud association with the sport of yachting, the Rolex Swan Cup as the longest running event in its current portfolio, continues to embody tradition and innovation in equal measure.

Rolex has always sought to associate with activities that are motivated by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. Rolex naturally gravitated towards the elite world of yachting, forming an alliance that dates back to the late 1950s. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of 15 major international events; from leading offshore races, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Middle Sea Race and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, through to the highest-level grand prix competition at the Rolex TP52 World Championship and spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. The Swiss watchmaker’s close relationships with the most prestigious yacht clubs around the world, including the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Yacht Club Italiano, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (Italy), New York Yacht Club (United States), and the Royal Yacht Squadron (Cowes, United Kingdom) are the foundation of Rolex’s enduring relationship with the pinnacle of this spectacular sport.

Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products. Its Oyster and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Through philanthropic programmes and a broad palette of sponsorship activities, Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports and exploration, and encourages the spirit of enterprise, as well as the conservation of natural environments.



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