Nautor's Swan: Triumphant Return for Swan Fleet
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 8:10 AM
The 165th edition of North America’s oldest sailing competition, the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Regatta, was also the 15th edition of the Swan American Regatta, which was previously last run in 2007. Taking place from 14 – 16 June, the Swan fleet was scored as a single class. After three days of racing, the winner of the Swan American Challenge Trophy was Brendan Brownyard’s ClubSwan 42, Barleycorn, which came top of the 12-boat fleet.
For Giovanni Pomati, CEO of the Nautor’s Swan Group, reviving the Swan American Regatta had been a great success, in no small part thanks to the NYYC and of course the enthusiasm of the participating owners and crew. “The New York Yacht Club reserved us a very warm welcome back, thus underlining the long-lasting relationship between Nautor’s Swan and the iconic Club,” said Mr Pomati. “This was the perfect play-ground for Swan American Regatta to start a new era, with an enthusiastic group of owners expressing their love for our brand and their perfect Swan spirit, made up of passion for sailing, love for their yachts and a dramatic will to get together. I am pretty sure that this is just a successful starting point, which paves the way to a great crescendo in future editions.”
For Swan owners and guests, the regatta kicked off on the evening of Thursday, 13 June with a cocktail reception held in Station 10, the NYYC’s first clubhouse originally located in Hoboken, New Jersey, and which now resides in the grounds of the Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, Rhode Island.
Friday, 14 June saw the entire fleet take part in the traditional around the island race, a circumnavigation of Conanicut Island. It was windy lap that favoured those teams prepared to press in the southerly breeze that topped out at 20 knots and was combined with an offshore swell of 2 – 3 metres. In the Swan class, Lincoln Mossop’s ClubSwan 42, The Cat Came Back, took the win on corrected time by under two minutes from Heidi Herlihy and Todd Barbera’s Swan 56 Tramontana, which in turn got the better of Barleycorn by a mere 3 seconds.
While some boats in other classes chose not to take on the strong conditions or failed to finish, all Swans got around in one piece. It was a lively start to proceedings, and that liveliness continued into the night with the Swan Owners’ Dinner in the Main Dining Room of Harbour Court. During the celebratory occasion some ClubSwan Awards were made:
BEST MAINTAINED SWAN: Swan 66 Bounty (Gibb Kane), following evaluation by the Nautor’s Swan Authorized Service Center, Jamestown Boatyard
FARTHEST-TRAVELED SWAN: Swan 43 Akela 3 (Djoerd Hoekstra), from Annapolis, Maryland, which had taken part in the Annapolis to Newport Race, securing a well-deserved 3rd place in ORR2
Saturday and Sunday were reserved for inshore, navigator or point to point, races within Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound. Again, both races were held in fresh conditions, placing a premium on slick, well-executed crew work. Saturday’s two – three-hour race was won convincingly by Barleycorn, correcting out some nine minutes ahead of Tramontana with The Cat Came Back in third, a further minute behind. Barleycorn took the bullet again on Sunday’s longer, three – four-hour race. This time it was Bounty in second, five minutes off the pace and The Cat Came Back in third, another couple of minutes behind.
Brendan Brownyard was understandably delighted. “I took the plunge and bought the Barleycorn back in 2007. We had 10 great years or so of one design racing with our friends at the New York Yacht Club. Now we are racing handicap under ORC and this weekend has been just wonderful,” he commented. “It is the first time we have seriously raced handicap and it is an awful lot of fun. The New York Yacht Club, of course, does it so well. It was fun to do point to point races for a change rather than just windward-leewards. The boat is so suitable for all purposes.” Looking ahead, Brownyard would love to test himself against the European fleet: “We would like the chance to bring Barleycorn to Europe one day and race with that great fleet there.”
Elsewhere, after choosing to race under IRC rather than ORC, Edward Whitmore's Swan 45 Ticket to Ride came third in Class 3 in the around the island race on Friday and then went on to win the inshore series in IRC 3 by the finest of margins, 0.5 points, after posting an impressive scoreline of 2, 3, 1, 1, 2.