Swan One Design at the Copa del Rey MAPFRE
Sunday, August 4, 2019 8:35 AM
The final event of the 2019 edition of The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League for Swan One Design yachts went down to the wire as an entrancing Copa del Rey MAPFRE concluded today. The class winners deserve their moment in the sun. Demonstrating the clear virtues of immaculate teamwork and consistency in results, Leonardo Ferragamo’s ClubSwan 50 Cuordileone, Luis Senìs Segarra’s Swan 45 Porrón IX and Natalia Brailoiu’s ClubSwan 42 Natalia were deserved winners at the Real Club Náutico de Palma’s blue riband event. The three were also winners of the Mediterranean League. Italy were the winners of the Best Placed Nation at the Copa del Rey and across the League.
Following the reset, at the end of the seven race Qualification Series, the Final Series was a tense, nervy affair although in the end there was no change at the very top of the standings. Cuordileone, Porrón IX and Natalia maintained their grip on overall victory. Behind the leading three it was a different story as boats used the opportunity to press their own claim to the title. Earlybird outscored their Italian rival in the ClubSwan 50 class, but not sufficiently to overcome the deficit they carried into the Final Series. Far Star performed better than Natalia in the ClubSwan 42 class, but again was undone by inconsistency in the Qualification Series. Of the class winners, only Porrón IX performed best in class across both the Qualification and Final Series.
Despite the conclusion of the Mediterranean League, Swan One Design racing is not yet over. The Nations Trophy in October, incorporating the ClubSwan 50 and Swan 45 World Championships as well as the ClubSwan 42 European Championship and the racing debut of the ClubSwan 36, will present another opportunity for some classic real-time action.
Javier Sanz, President of the Real Club Náutico de Palma, expressed his club’s admiration for the partnership with the Finnish brand: "It is a pleasure and an honour to have the Swan fleets at the Copa del Rey MAPFRE and at the Real Club Náutico de Palma. It is always a success working together with the Nautor’s Swan team and we are really looking forward to hosting the fleet again in October for The Nations Trophy”.
H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain, helming the ClubSwan 50 Aifos 500, added his appreciation: "It has been a real pleasure to sail at the Copa del Rey and to join a class that is so competitive and so much fun is for me wonderful as a sailor and friend to many of the owners. I thank the class for being part of the Copa del Rey."
And, speaking for Nautor’s Swan as its President, Leonardo Ferragamo was in an equally enthusiastic mood: “For Nautor’s Swan, it has been one of the most cherished and significant Copa del Rey ever, rewarding us for the intense work undertaken in executing a vision that is so strong in us in establishing new niche in real time racing. Having over 30 Swans, for the first time across the three classes, at this very important leg of The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League, and before arriving at The Nations Trophy itself, gives huge encouragement and motivation to continue on this path. All this is becoming reality thanks to the great cooperation with the professional team at the Real Club Náutico de Palma”
Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuordileone has been in crushing form this season. Every time one of her close competitors has looked like disrupting their route to the season-long League win, the Italian team has snuffed out the attempt. Winning three of the four events left little room and only Earlybird came close to disrupting the flow, finishing four points behind in the League.
Ferragamo was understandably delighted: “I could not be happier. It has been a very exciting week; very demanding with tight competition throughout in the ClubSwan 50 class. It was really very stressful. We have worked hard for our leads and in maintaining them to hang on. It is a great reward, a great achievement.” Ferragamo has often raced at the Copa del Rey, but never so successfully: “I’ve been here many times before, but never enjoyed it as much. Only when you win do you really enjoy it! It was incredible competition. A number of boats won races across the week, showing how tight the boats are in terms of performance. This is part of the fun of Swan One Design racing.”
Cuordileone’s effort has been immense because the competition has been relentless. The ClubSwan 50s are beautifully matched boats, true to their one design status. The stats from the racecourse are telling. Over half of the 16 ClubSwan 50s participating across the season won at least one race. The number appearing on the individual race podiums is even greater. Boat speeds recorded during each and every race leg by the TracTrac trackers confirm the potential of each ClubSwan 50 is identical. The core difference is the standard of crew work.
The margins for error in regatta preparation, rig setup, trimming the boat and the sails, and helming are so slim. Every race is a close-fought affair. While race winners might occasionally lead from start to finish, behind there are regular place changes as crews strive to outthink and out-manoeuvre their opposition, closing gaps and overhauling each other. It is within the decision-making and the execution that races are won and lost.
Winning across the season requires an even higher level of accuracy.
Luis Senìs Segarra set out his stall at the beginning of the year. Winning the Mediterranean League and the World Championship during The Nations Trophy were the macro-aims. In terms of micro-management, Senìs is not satisfied unless Porrón IX is winning every race. While that has not been possible, the Spanish crew did at least win all four events that comprise the league, including the Copa del Rey which, as a Spaniard, Senìs values highly. Tea Ekrengren-Sauren, one of the few female helms across the Swan One Design fleet took a well-deserved second place in the League. Ekengren-Sauren has returned to one design competition this season from an extended absence and her crew has made great strides in its efforts to get on terms with Porron IX. Blue Nights finally came up short in the pressure-cooker that is the Copa del Rey. A promising Qualification Series faded during the Final Series as the need to be continually on top form took its toll.
Some 15 ClubSwan 42s battled it out across the season and one has to feel some sympathy for Lorenzo Mondo and Far Star. Taking part in all four events, they managed to win or finish on the podium at all but one event. Their misstep at the Scarlino Swan One Design, when they finished fourth, proved to be the difference between winning overall and second place. Natalia’s consistent podium finishes differentiating the two teams by one point at the final reckoning. If the Copa del Rey, with its large entry of 11 ClubSwan 42s was the litmus test, Natalia is absolutely the deserved winner. The Romanian team’s worst score was fourth among an even spread of the podium places. Clear evidence of the consistency in crew work and effort required to come out on top.
For Natalia Brailoiu, the Copa de Rey will live long in the memory. The first female winner, her achievement is historic as well as rewarding: “I feel great. I would like to thank all my team. This is a dream come true and I am so happy.”
The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League 2019
At the end of four events, Italy confirmed its position as best-placed nation in The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League 2019 standings. Following another excellent event, Italy came first on 61 points, with Germany in second on 54. Spain moved up the leaderboard to finish in third, ahead of Russia and Austria. Accordingly, Italy takes a bonus point into The Nations Trophy itself, scheduled for 8 – 12 October 2019 in Palma de Mallorca.
Talking about Swan’s reinforcement of its one design programme, Leonardo Ferragamo had this to say: “Just a few years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the brand, we launched the ClubSwan 50 with an outlook to the future. At that moment, The Nations Trophy was envisioned bringing the ClubSwan 50 together with the established community of Swan One Designs to which we are strongly committed. The one design world is one of the most beautiful, healthiest and best ways to race in real time. It offers a great feeling through close competition and a level playing field.”
In BMW ORC 1, the Swan 45s Rats on Fire and From Now On finished second and third respectively, with the Swan 45 Blue Magic in seventh. An almost identical situation occurred in BMW ORC 2, with the ClubSwan 42s Teatro Soho Caixabank and Riva Reno Gelato taking first and second, while another ClubSwan 42, Lagertha, came 10th.