Close and competitive racing down to the wire was the hallmark of the Swan One Design Worlds and the first ever Swan Med Regatta-The Tuscany Challenge as the 2023 ClubSwan Racing season concluded in dramatic fashion.
“ This has been a ClubSwan Racing season to be treasured and remembered for the friendly competition we have seen across seven racing events, and the strong camaraderie that has grown between the owners and crews across the Swan range. ”
Nautor Swan CEO, Giovanni Pomati
Scarlino and the magnificent Tuscan coastline was the setting for the finale which saw the Swan One Design and Rating fleets racing simultaneously and sharing a base in the impressive Marina di Scarlino, which also hosted the immersive Nautor Swan Experience throughout the week.
With sailors from 25 countries racing aboard the 36 yachts competing across the fleets, it was also appropriate that The Nations League 2023 was to be decided in these sparkling Tuscan waters following a season long contest that began in Croatia back in April.
It was indicative of the level of competition in Scarlino that three of the four one-design classes went into the final race with the leaders tied on points.
In the always closely contested ClubSwan 36 class Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio's G Spot (MON) edged ahead of Lorenzo Mondo's Far Star (ITA) overall in a highly tactical final race. Edoardo and Vanni Pavesio's Fra Martina (ITA) took her second win of the regatta in the same race — the only yacht in class to earn two bullets — to secure the last place on the podium.
A delighted Serena di Lapigio said: "It was very nice because to win with the last race is always really important, and we made it and we are happy — and the organisation was fantastic."
Similarly, the ClubSwan 42 class was ultimately decided by a single point with Andrea Rossi's Mela (ITA) edging in front of Adriano Majolino's Canopo (ITA), as was the Swan 45 contest with Luca Locatelli's Thetis (ITA) just ahead of Claudio Terrieri's Blue Sky (ITA).
Rossi said: "It was a difficult world championship, and I am very happy thanks to the crew and our tactician who helped us to this win."
The exception to those nail-biting play-offs was Leonardo Ferragamo's ClubSwan 50 Cuordileone (ITA), which flew out of the blocks in defence of its World title won in Valencia last year with back-to-back race victories on the first day.
With top-three results in every other race Cuordileone had secured the 2023 title with a race to spare, a full 16 points clear of Raquel and Graeme Peterson's Moonlight (MON) who took the runner-up spot by a point from Marcus Brennecke's Hatari.
"I have a mixture of many lovely feelings," said Ferragamo, Nautor Swan's chairman. "I definitely had a great crew, we were very synchronised and we bonded well together. We took it very seriously and we could not be happier with the performance."
And he added: "We are very proud to have had a fantastic One Design Worlds here with the 36s, the 50s, the 45s and the 42s, these classes mean a lot to the sailing world.
"People here were really having fun, out on the water and ashore, and this is really important for the spirit of Swan that prevails in all of the things that we do together, and this event has been no exception."
Cuordileone's performance, along with Far Star, saw Italy top the Best Placed Nation table in Scarlino, and also finish ahead of Germany in the overall Nations League 2023 standings, with Monaco taking third place.
In the One Design overall season standings Pedro Vaquer Comas' Nadir (ESP) was confirmed as the 2023 winner in the ClubSwan 42 class, G Spot prevailed in the ClubSwan 36 contest, and Hatari clinched victory in the ClubSwan 50s.
Hatari's owner Marcus Brennecke said: "Winning the season is great and I am happy. I think everyone has caught up and there is very, very close racing. Of course everyone can win, which is great fun, and congrats to Leonardo and his team — they sailed spectacularly this week, they really deserved it."
Meanwhile the performance cruisers in the nine-strong rating fleet provided a perfect illustration of the durability and evolution of the Swan brand — and another single point decider.
With three coastal races in the Swan Med Regatta-The Tuscany Challenge, the finish line was just off the beautiful Bandite di Scarlino Natural Park, close enough for the race teams to smell the pine, laurel and holm oak forest dotted with myrtle and rosemary, with the islands of Cerboli off Elba's east coast and Sparviero serving as racing marks.
The final result saw two of the new Swan 48 models — Giulio Gatti's Anya (SUI) in first place and Ole Eirik Leroy's Ananda (NOR) in third — sandwiching Kay-Johannes and Susann Eggers Wrede's venerable and well-travelled Swan 441R MOD Best Buddies (GER), a classic case of the old meeting the new, with the old winning the final race to get within a point of Anya.
As ever the social scene ashore was a true highlight of the event, all starting with the Opening Ceremony at the Marina di Scarlino heralded by the Accademia Navale di Livorno marching band, followed by daily prize-givings awarded by Garmin Marine, Quantum Sails, Gottifredi e Maffioli and Randstad, with special prizes from B&G and Banor Capital. The Tassoni Crew Party was memorable with its excellent refreshments and stellar musical line-up, and the Swan Experience Gala Dinner and ClubSwan Charity Auction for the Oceans presented by Christie’s in support of Marevivo and Mission Blue was a huge success.
Also celebrated was the conclusion of The Nations League, enthusiastically supported by Banor CEO Massimiliano Cagliero who said: “We are pleased to have renewed our collaboration with ClubSwan Racing again this year by supporting the 2023 Swan One Design Nations League circuit. The values of this fascinating sport, with its team spirit, collaboration and the will to achieve results with dedication and passion, are fully shared by an asset manager like Banor."
With the World Champions, Rating class and Nations League winners warmly applauded and celebrated at the prize-giving on the Tarantella Terrace in the Marina di Scarlino, Nautor Swan CEO Giovanni Pomati took a moment to reflect on the season: "This has been a ClubSwan Racing season to be treasured and remembered for the friendly competition we have seen across seven racing events, and the strong camaraderie that has grown between the owners and crews across the Swan range.
"We set out to deliver something special for Swan owners and sailors, and with the steadfast support of our primary partners Rolex, Randstad, Ferragamo, Porsche and Banor, along with our many technical partners and venues, we have succeeded. ClubSwan Racing is all set to go from strength to strength once again in 2024."