Frank Savage and his crew on the Swan 56 'Lolita' (USA) have won the Swan American Regatta taking place at Rhode Island, USA with just one of the seven races remaining to be sailed in the series.
Savage outlined his reasons for success: "The key to our success has been crewwork, which has been excellent. If you put this together with the fact that our Swan is in excellent condition and we're familiar with these waters, that accounts for our victory."
For Lolita the overall win is secure, but the two division titles are still to be decided. The two contenders in the small boat fleet are Galadriel, the Swan 51 owned by John Santa (USA), currently on 8.5 points overall and the Swan 44 Vixen, owned by John and Bunny Wayt (USA) that is close behind with 12.75 points.
The Lolita team, whose core crew has been together since 1994, has collected 13 points overall and cannot be caught for the overall title. However, Savage is set on winning his final race and claiming divisional honours. "There will be less pressure from outside, but we put pressure on ourselves. Tomorrow we'll be going out to win, as we do every day that we race."
The skipper from Stanford, Connecticut, was also buoyant about his chances in the Swan Cup in Porto Cervo next year. "We have the best Swan record in the world right now, away we've beaten every other top Swan in the world, whether in the Caribbean or racing on the East Coast.
"We'll be at the Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, where we'll have the same crew to go for the world title"
Wet, windy and wild is the way that competitors are describing today's racing, although at the beginning of the day the fleet started Race Five in a calm southerly breeze with sunny, blue skies overhead. Two hours later, at the start of Race Six, the 32-boat fleet battled a set of squalls and severe windshifts on the 9-mile windward/leeward course.
Race Five was won by Neva, Rob Watson's (USA) Swan 56. Having gained a clean start at the committee boat end of the line, Neva tacked off to the right-hand side of the course. When the fleet converged, it was Neva who had benefited and she held her lead to round the first windward mark with a 45-second lead. Although Sotto Voce and Redoubtable overhauled Neva in a close finish, Watson's crew won on corrected time overall. This win, coupled with a sixth overall in Race Six, gave Neva the ClubSwan Race Day Trophy.
In the small boat fleet James Hurlock's Swan 51 White Jacket (USA) took line honours in Race Five, but four of the smaller Swans were quicker on corrected time. Cygnet, the Swan 44 owned by Mike Sylvanovich (USA) took the spoils, ahead of John Santa's Swan 46 Galadriel, with Van Holston's Swan 44 Fierce Pride and John Wayt's Swan 44 Vixen close behind.
In the contrasting conditions during Race Six, White Jacket again took line honours. However, this time, her speed was sufficient for her to win the Small Boat Division.
The final race is scheduled for Friday, with the final Awards Ceremony to be held at the New York Yacht Club.
Day 4 - Swan American Regatta:
Big Boat Class
Small Boat Class
3. Fierce Pride
Big Boat Class
1. Sotto Voce
Small Boat Class
1. White Jacket
3. Black Tie
ClubSwan Day Four Overall Winner:
Overall positions (after six races, with one discard):
Lolita - 1,1,2,2,4,3 - 9 points
Sotto Voce - 4,2,1,5,7,1 - 13 points
Redoubtable - 6,3,4,1,3,13 - 17 points
Noonmark VI - 15,5,3,4,5,4 - 21 points
Neva -17,6,7,7,1,6 - 27 points