• Coastal race sees high speed sailing in fantastic surroundings
  • G Spot (MON), Mela (ITA) and Hatari (GER) win their ClubSwan one-design classes
  • Italy wins The Nations Trophy at milestone event for Nautor Swan

Spectacular racing conditions will live long in the memory of the ClubSwan Racing fleet at the fourth edition of The Nations Trophy regatta in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.

The Mistral wind delivered in full, notably on the coastal race in the spectacular setting of the Costa Smeralda which saw the three ClubSwan one-design classes unleashed with some yachts reaching 20-plus knots surfing in flat waters.

Add in three days of competitive and friendly inshore racing — which saw seven races in varied and equally challenging conditions — and The Nations Trophy provided a memorable experience for all the 28 race teams gathered at the renowned Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, who managed the regatta and hosted the superb shoreside social events.

After four days of racing Italy emerged as the winner of The Nations Trophy, with the combined scores of their two best performing yachts — the ClubSwan 50s Vitamina and Cuordileone — putting them two points ahead of Germany, with Monaco taking the final place on the podium.

The victory marks Italy’s second Nations Trophy title having won the biennial event in 2019, while Spain and Germany have also claimed the trophy with wins in 2017 and 2021 respectively.

Out on the water nowhere was the contest harder fought than in the ClubSwan 42 class, which saw the leading four yachts only separated by five points going into the final day.

The Spanish CS42 Nadir (ESP), owned by reigning world champion and current circuit class leader Pedro Vaquer Comas, had edged ahead in the first three days of racing, but was pushed back into second place following today’s final race by Andrea Rossi’s Mela (ITA) who took three race wins on the way to the narrowest of victories. Jose Maria Meseguer’s Pez De Abril (ESP) was third.

A delighted Rossi said: “For me it has been tough because I made a mistake in the first race, but the crew stayed very focused. We reacted well as a team and we won the second and third race, and we started pushing, pushing until the end.

“So we finished on top of the podium. It is a pleasure to have a lot of friends on board Mela and be able to make this incredible comeback. It’s really good. We’re happy.”

In the large ClubSwan 50 class Marcus Brennecke’s Hatari (GER) put down a marker on the first day with two race wins and was able to build on that with a succession of top-three results to take the class a full 13 points ahead of Andrea Lacorte’s Vitamina (ITA) and Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuordileone (ITA), with her win confirmed with a day to spare.

“It was a great week,” said Brennecke. “We had basically everything with very light wind on the second day, then a good call from the race committee to sail the coastal race — the first we ever did in this class — and we had up to 36 knots of wind speed!

“The boat has never gone as fast as it did yesterday, with a 26 knot peak under gennaker. So we had lots of fun! Nothing broke, so everything was good.

“We are aiming to sail consistently and be there all the time with a slight wind or stronger winds, and so we are very, very happy.”

The Nations Trophy event was also particularly memorable for coastal race winner Graeme Peterson’s CS50 Moonlight (MON), as tactician Andy Horton pointed out: “It was the first win on this circuit for Graeme, so it will remain memorable for him and us to have won such an epic and visually stunning race in this iconic location for Swans.

“It was fantastic, the coastal racing in Porto Cervo and sailing in the archipelago is a unique experience.”

Over in the state-of-the-art ClubSwan 36 class Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio’s G Spot (MON) demonstrated once again she is always a contender, taking four race wins on the way to a class win ahead of Edoardo Ferragamo’s Cuordileone (ITA) and Edoardo and Vanni Pavesio’s Fra Martina (ITA).

“It’s been really fantastic I must say,” said di Lapigio. “This place is always good with no surprises. It’s always windy and the organisation is top rate. So we really enjoyed today.

“I must say I’m happy because we won in very light wind, and we did the coastal race with 30-plus knots and it was really tough also for us. So we are improving.”

Ashore too the 2023 edition of The Nations Trophy was an event to remember, marking the milestone 25th anniversary celebration of Leonardo Ferragamo’s acquisition of Nautor Swan, the establishment of ClubSwan and the fourth edition of The Nations Trophy which has seen a year-on-year increase in the number of nations taking part. Daily prizes were awarded by Garmin, Quantum, Randstad and the YCCS.

Speaking at the celebratory Owners’ Dinner on Friday at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, during which owners and their guests received a stylish gift from the Ferragamo fashion brand, a ClubSwan Racing Main Partner, Leonardo paid tribute to the passion of ClubSwan sailors and the dedication and expertise of the build teams in Finland.

He said: “It has been 25 years since we started this great adventure, taking this already legendary yacht name to an international brand. And in those 25 years we have not found a better venue than the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

“We get so much motivation from the owners and their crews when we are building a boat and discussing projects together. So I thank them from my heart for being so passionate and supportive.”

ClubSwan Racing also thanked the YCCS for its sustainable commitment, in fact the Club obtained Clean Regattas Gold level Certification for the Nation’s Trophy, released by Sailors for the Sea. 

The ClubSwan Racing season continues at the Copa Del Rey Mapfre regatta in Mallorca starting on July 31.