The 2018 Rolex Swan Cup is two months away. It has already attracted an excellent fleet of around 80 Swan yachts that encapsulate the full 50 plus years of the renowned Finnish boat builder’s history. The organizers are confident that come the event the fleet size will have risen to over 115 boats, confirming the enduring popularity of the brand and the continuing desire of Swan owners to gather every two years in Porto Cervo to celebrate their membership of one the most revered clubs in yachting. The 20th edition of the Rolex Swan Cup takes place from 9 – 16 September.
The Rolex Swan Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), in collaboration with Nautor’s Swan. It was first held in 1980 and has been sponsored by Rolex since 1984. Current entries range from the Sparkman & Stephens designed Swan 36, Josian, launched in 1968, to the magnificent Frers designed Swan 115s, Highland Fling and Solleone. In between, there is a fleet of ClubSwan 50 One Designs, drawn by Juan K and which made their debut in 2016, and Haromi, the first example of one of the latest models to emerge from the yard, the stunning Swan 78, completed in May this year.
Much of the attention will centre upon the Swan One Design fleet where the ClubSwan 50s will compete in the inaugural class World Championship. Around 16 boats are expected to participate and, if the level of competition exhibited this year during The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League is anything to go by, expect a mammoth contest. The 2017 European Champions, Earlybird from Germany, will be looking to add to their laurels; Italian entrant Cuordileone will hope its two League wins this season are proof of its form; while Mathilde from Switzerland will be taking inspiration from its lead in the League’s overall standings after three of the four events.
Another Swan One Design, competing for its class World Championship, is the Swan 45. The 2017 winner, Porron IX from Spain, is proving a force to be reckoned with this year with two wins and a second place in the 2018 Mediterranean League. The German entrant, Elena Nova – a winner at PalmaVela in May – was the runaway world champion in 2016, the previous time the event was held within the Rolex Swan Cup. Eleven Swan 45s should be on the start line.
The final Swan One Design class is the ClubSwan 42. With a European Championship at stake, a close fought contest is also anticipated in this division. The top three boats from the 2017 championship – Nadir (ESP), Pez de Abril (ESP) and Far Star (ITA) - are taking part, along with BeWild (ITA) which was on the podium at the 2016 Rolex Swan Cup. With the top four boats in the Mediterranean League standings currently in the fray, the event is shaping up well.
Of course, the Rolex Swan Cup is more than just a competition for Swan One Designs. There will be Supermaxi, Maxi and Grand Prix divisions for the modern models. The classic Sparkman and Stephens designed Swans will have their own class and Nautor is particularly excited to be welcoming an incredible group of ten Swan 65s. The Swan 65 was the brand’s flagship when launched in 1973 and was, at the time, one of the largest GRP constructed yachts on the market. The model would continue to be built until 1989 and became an icon for Nautor’s Swan and of the wider ocean racing scene. The most famous win was that of Sayula II in the inaugural Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973/74. King’s Legend, which came second overall in the 77/78 Whitbread, will be in attendance.
And a Rolex Swan Cup would not be complete without a comprehensive social programme to keep the competitors and their families entertained ashore. Occasions are planned throughout the week, centred upon the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the Piazza Azzurra and the popular Rolex Crew Party. Proceedings will draw to their customary celebratory conclusion with the Final Prize Giving on Sunday, 16 September, in Piazza Azzurra.