Swan American Regatta: the return of a popular institution
Thursday, June 13, 2019 2:14 PM
This week sees the return of a popular institution, the Swan American Regatta, taking place from 14 – 16 June in Newport, Rhode Island, within the New York Yacht Club’s 165th Annual Regatta. Swan yachts will race as a single class, with a separate start and dedicated scoring under ORC. The best-placed Swan will be awarded the Swan American Challenge Trophy.
Some 13 Swans have entered the event, a sizeable chunk of the 150-boat Annual Regatta fleet. Swan yachts range in size from Chris Otorowski’s 39-foot Rocket J. Squirrel (Swan 39 – Bainbridge Is, WA), designed by Ron Holland and the marque’s oldest representative at this regatta, to the 66-foot Bounty (Swan 66 - Rye, NY), owned by Gibb Kane, designed by German Frers and one of the newest models on show.
Although the first ever Swan American Regatta was held in 1995 in Newport, the racing association between the Finnish yacht brand and the east coast waters of North America goes back much further, to 1984 and the then-entitled Swan Atlantic Regatta, initially held in Newport and later on Nantucket Island. Swan’s performance-led design, high-standards of build combined with comfort, sea-kindliness and ocean-going capability are all qualities that fit well with the waters of New England, where cold sea temperatures, fog and big waves can be just as common as balmy, warm, gentle days in the summer months.
The Swan fleet will square up for three days of handicap racing under ORC, comprising a round Conanicut Island race on Friday, 14 June along with two days of coastal ‘navigator-style’ courses over the weekend, using the navigation marks within Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound. Three Swan 56s – Peter Noonan’s Defiance (Saratoga, CA), Heidi Herlihy & Todd Barbera’s Tramontana (Marblehead, MA) and Todd Stuart’s White Rhino (Key West, FL) – will provide some close on-the-water action, as will the two ClubSwan 42s, Brendan Brownyard’s Barleycorn (Bay Shore, NY) and Lincoln Mossop’s The Cat Come Back (Providence, RI).
Other Swans to note include: William Mayer's Swan 441, Cygnette (Dover, DE), winner of the Rolex Swan Atlantic Regatta back in 1994, Djoerd Hoekstra’s Swan 43 Akela III (Philadelphia, PA), which finished third in class in the recent Annapolis to Newport Race, Mark Stevenson’s Swan 57 Merlin, representing the United Kingdom; Steve & John Devoe’s classic Swan 46, Galadriel (Stratford, CT) and Edward Whitmore’s Swan 45, Ticket to Ride (Norfolk, VA).
As with all Swan regattas, the social scene ashore is an important element of any event. Swan owners and their crew will be welcomed on Thursday, 13 June with an exclusive cocktail reception, followed on Friday evening by the Swan American Regatta Owner’s Dinner in the Main Dining Room of Harbour Court. Shoreside celebrations continue on Saturday and Sunday, with the Annual Regatta Dinner and the final awards ceremony.
Racing gets underway at 11.00 EDT on Friday, 14 June