The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League Finale Beckons
Monday, July 23, 2018 5:59 PM
The Copa del Rey MAPFRE, organized by the Real Club Náutico de Palma, is one of the most highly anticipated regattas of the season. With 156 boats so far entered, the 37th edition is on course to attract a record fleet. This year, it is also the fourth and decisive event in The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League 2018, the season-long series dedicated to Swan One Designs. Taking place from 28 July to 4 August, the Mallorca-based Copa del Rey will determine which ClubSwan 50, Swan 45 and ClubSwan 42 has won its respective class and, also, which nation has proved itself the best across the season.
With ten ClubSwan 50s, five Swan 45s and eleven ClubSwan 42s racing in One Design configuration, the Copa del Rey is set to be a supersized final event showdown for the inaugural Nations Trophy Mediterranean League. The overall standings are tight in two of the classes, with only one boat across the three fleets secure on the podium. In the battle to be Best-Placed Nation, Italy holds a four-point lead over Switzerland, with Spain a further three points behind.
According to Leonardo Ferragamo, Chairman of Nautor’s Swan, The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League 2018 has exceeded expectations. On attracting strong, representative fleets at all four selected venues, Ferragamo remarked: “We are truly delighted with the outcome of this new, exciting venture. We wanted to build on the success of The Nations Trophy 2017, maintaining the positive spirit of friendly, gentlemanly competition between our Swan One Design owners and their nations. We are extremely pleased to have succeeded in both objectives. The racing has been close-fought and to reach the final event with the majority of podium places still to be decided proves that the owners and crews are enjoying the challenge.”
After three events in the Mediterranean League, Morten Kielland’s Swiss entrant Mathilde currently leads by two points from Andrey Konogorov’s Skorpios from Russia, with Italian ClubSwan 50 Cuordileone a further one point back in third. Kielland’s crew put itself on top of the leaderboard through consistency rather than winning regattas. Second-places at Monaco Swan One Design and SailRacing Palmavela were followed by a third-place at the Rolex Giraglia. This strong performance has paid dividends, keeping even the double regatta winner Cuordileone at bay. However, with ten boats in the class and neither Kielland nor Konogorov able to participate, the door is now wide open in the League standings.
One ClubSwan 50, in particular, will attract special attention irrespective of its results. Aifos 500 is entered as a result of a collaboration between Nautor’s Swan and the Spanish Navy. The ‘500’ in the boat name is significant. Spain has begun to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the Earth by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Spanish discoverer Juan Sebastián Elcano. The celebrations will go on until 2022 and as part of them the Spanish Navy will race a ClubSwan 50 during the Copa del Rey, where SM King Felipe will probably sail as skipper.
Luis Senìs Segarra from Spain, owner of Porron IX and current world champion in the Swan 45 class, was clear at the beginning of the season that his intent was to win The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League. Holding a six-point lead over the second-placed Elena Nova, owned by former Swan 45 world champion Christian Plump from Germany, Segarra and Porron IX cannot be overtaken whatever the results at the Copa del Rey. This is unlikely to dampen the competition. Beating the world champion is one incentive, winning one’s class at the Mediterranean’s most respected regatta is another and, of course, there is the little matter of helping one’s country secure the Best-placed Nation prize.
With the ClubSwan 42 attracting its biggest fleet of the season, conceivably any of the entered boats could secure The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League by winning at the Copa del Rey. With this motivation, the competition is expected to be fierce. Throw in the element of national pride and the on-water action should be exceptionally committed. Massimo De Campo and Selene Alifax from Spain head the class standings by virtue of their victory at PalmaVela. Fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Meseguer and Pez de Abril are in second place. Neither of these two will feel any sense of security with an eleven-boat class. The only way to cover the opposition in the early races will be to be out in front right from the start. Easier said than done.
The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League 2018
The prize for Best-placed Nation is Italy’s to lose. 12 countries will be represented by the Swan One Design yachts racing at the Copa del Rey and with two of the three classes being sizeable there are plenty of points to be won and lost in this particular element of the contest. Aside from the glory associated with competing for one’s nation, the country winning the Best-placed Nation this year will carry a point forward to The Nations Trophy 2019, scheduled for Palma in October next year.
Swan Handicap Entries
In addition to the 26 Swan One Design entrants, a further 10 Swans are participating in the handicap divisions. Seven will feature in the 24-boat BMW ORC 1, including the Swan 45 Rats on Fire (ESP) which won the division in 2017. Meanwhile, Mallorca Sotheby’s IRC 0 features two Swan 80s, Plis Play (ESP) and Selene (USA), along with a Swan 601, Flow (also USA).
The Nations Trophy 2019 Presentation
On Monday, 30 July at 18.30 on The Terrace of the Real Club Náutico de Palma, Nautor’s Swan will be hosting a presentation about the 2019 season. Among the items to be touched upon will be plans for the 2019 Leagues, updates on existing and new Swan One Design classes including the innovative ClubSwan 36, and other news relating to the world of Swan.
The 37th Copa del Rey MAPFRE starts on Saturday, 28 July and concludes with the final prize giving on Saturday, 4 August. A maximum of 11 races, including one coastal race, will be sailed by the Swan One Design classes and those Swans competing in the IRC and ORC divisions. No more than three races will be sailed on any day. With some 36 Swans taking part across the different divisions, Nautor will provide one of the largest yacht-brand representations, amounting to nearly 25% of the fleet.