Category: 2014 Rolex Swan Cup (Sardinia)

Day 6 – last day.

A coastal day – no more windward leeward! Lightish airs and we have the first start. Good start at the pin end of the line, and shortly after the start with a shifting breeze, put up a reaching chute, which came as a bit of a surprise at the sharp end of the boat! We almost made the rocks but had to do a quick change to jib and back again – light air and we’re already multiple sail changes in. First rounding and we’re on a long reach (chute again) to a little island several miles away. Surrounded by little Swans, and a few mega ones along the way – too cool. Next rounding was back to a jib – different one though to keep us busy, then a long hike to the finish – about 30 minutes of full gut hiking. At one stage the bow crew were trying to get their legs working before they had to get up again – else there’d be a pile of smelly crew at ghe front. The guys at the back already think that is the case.

End of regatta and we put the boat away, bricked all the sails, and headed to the Lord Nelson Pub for what they do best.

Great great regatta, great great people. What more is there to say.

Sardinia-401 Sardinia-402

Day 5 – Finally!!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA12-15 knots, blue skies and warm(ish) water greeted the Swan fleet this morning as it headed out a few miles to the race area. To add to our challenge, we were scheduled to do 3 x windward leeward races today – there was going to be plenty of crew work at the corners. 4 starts went ahead for the classes doing coastal races, then it was the turn of the Swan 42s and Swan 45s, and finally our start – the 60’s. We fought for our position towards the pin end and jumped the rest of the fleet – yeh. First to the windward mark, and then we continued for 2 more laps. A horrible takedown pushed us back to our 5th place finish. Race 2  – horror start and no recovery – so 8th. Final race needed the course to be reset as the wind had shifted 180 degrees. In a dying breeze we fought our way round the course, and after a great call to gybe at the last set, passed a number of boats to get another 5th.

Good day on the water – very tired sailors back at the villa for dinner.

Day 4 and the Mistral continues…

A forecast of “fresh to frightening” had the race committee delay the start of racing, and then every half hour extend the delay until the inevitable happened early afternoon – abandoned. Wind in bomb alley was gusting 50 knots, and a steady 30 in the marina. We had managed to go out earlier and try out the big spinnaker flying off the bow now that the sprit had been removed – it all worked fine so we are hoping our wounded state isn’t too bad.

An afternoon of beach and then big birthday dinner at the main villa took over the rest of the day. Onwards and upwards tomorrow.


Day 3 – our run of luck continues…

The Mistral was howling as we headed outside the harbor at Puerto Cervo ready for the long-distance race. A 6-8 hour sail round various islands was the course for the day, and the team was pumped with the anticipation. We tuned up early and rolled into the first start of the day with the other Swan 60s and 601s. At the one minute gun we were stacked up at the committee boat end, with two boats looking to shut us out – with seconds to go we had to bail out and spin back round, along with another boat at the pin end (over early). As we rounded back up onto the line a cluster of race committee support boats was discovered between us and the line, which became a problem as one went full throttle into our bow, breaking our bowsprit, the powerboat, and one of the powerboat crew. Not an auspicious start to the day. With an injured man on the powerboat, we doused sails and sent our intrepid doctor into the mess of fiberglass and stainless steel to administer bandages and other medical things. The injured party was then evacuated from the scene, we cleared the line and went to douse sails and head in to the dock to sort out the boat.

It was confirmed that the injured parties were ok, and just down to the usual fun of getting redress – which was duly granted. The team went to work on the boat to get it ready for tomorrow – now without a bowsprit as we continue the saga of the Swan 60 (or 57.5 now). The crew all elected to continue racing with a wounded but not down boat – such is the way with our bunch. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe our luck will finally change after we either sacrifice a virgin (if we can find one), or drink enough lucky red wine, tonight at the villa.


Day 2 practice afternoon

Day 2 continued…. Crew met at the boat at 3pm as the sea breeze finally built. Headed round to “Bomb Alley” just off Cannigione, where 18-22 knots was in action as a prelude to Thursday’s forecast Mistral. Big grins from the helm as we sliced upwind, and then we moved to doing laps of the bay. Plenty of sets, gybes, douses, and tacks were thrown at the crew, and we continued to learn from the foul ups. Dousing a 400sq m chute in big breeze was a slight challenge…. Back to the villa just in time for dinner. Tomorrow will be a long day – big wind and the long distance race.


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