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10 July 2001, 04:01 pm
Event Begins in Light Winds
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Lolita photo:Borlenghi

Swan American Regatta

Light Wind Conditions on Opening Day of Swan American at Regatta at Rhode Island, USA. Lolita and Syrocco win respective divisions.
The tenth Swan American Regatta got underway today in Newport, R.I. The 33 yachts competing here this week were welcomed by a light southerly breeze that left more than a few tacticians scratching their heads. At the end of the day Lolita (USA) managed to hold off a strong challenge from Sotto Voce in the Big Boat Class, with Swan 51 Syrocco victorious in the Small Boat fleet.

Deutsche Bank Private Banking Race Day saw light and fluky conditions that put light-air boathandling skills at a premium, with picking the right windshifts crucial to success. Winner of the big boat class, Frank Savage in his Swan 56 Lolita, outlined the importance of this factor. "Calling the windshifts right was critical today in the light conditions, if you got these wrong then it was hard to recover. We managed to call these right about 95 percent of the time, with the tactician and crew doing a great job."

The New York Yacht Club Race Committee from the fleet was sent on an Olympic-style course on the Rhode Island Sound, after a one-hour Postponement to wait for the sea breeze to fill in. The majority of the fleet took the locals advice that when in Newport, it pays to go right, with Lolita and Sotto Voce taking an early lead.

The wind cooperated with the theory off the starting line, but halfway up the first beat it shifted south and gave the boats on the left-hand side of the course a welcome advantage. John Brim's (New York, N.Y.) Swan 48 Broadsword was one that benefited from the gift. He is in third in class ahead of Nader Habashi's Swan 56 Redoubtable. Despite this shift, Sotto Voce and Lolita rounded ahead of the fleet.

In the small boat fleet, all but two of the boats chose the right hand side of the course. Sam Fortenbaugh's Syrocco started well and were first around the windward mark. The Swan 51 built on their lead to take line honours and first place on corrected time.

Paul Higgins, Head of U.S. Private Banking (USPB), Deutsche Bank, New York, commented: "It was wonderful to see the Swan fleet racing with Deutsche Bank Private Banking burgees today. I must confess that we have a personal stake in this regatta as a team of Deutsche Bank employees from around the globe is racing on Raindancer, owned by Olof Nelson, a managing director with the Private Bank. They started with a solid mid-fleet position today."

Results Day 1, 1 race
Big Boat Class
1. Lolita, Frank Savage (USA)
2. Sotta Voce, Alex Van Vemde (NED)
3. Broadsword, John Brim (USA)

Small Boat Class
1. Syrocco, Sam Fortenbaugh (USA)
2. Vixen, John Wayt, (USA)
3. Sazerac, Gordon Ettie (USA)

Mark Bullingham/News Editor
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