A French Swan 42 has won the 2001 Swan European Regatta. Xaossa, from La Trinite sur Mer, only had one result outside the top three places in the small boat fleet, throughout the week.
Xaossa were one of the pre-regatta favourites, having won their class at Spi Ouest earlier this year and recorded third place overall at the 2000 Swan Cup. The skipper Jean-Michel Carpentier has been competing in the Swan Class for over 20 years and his best finish previously was a second place in the 1982 Swan European Regatta.
Commenting after the event, Jean-Michel Carpentier said: "I expected tough competition from both Saga and Menenes, which was the case. I'm pleased to have won this prestigious regatta."
In her first major regatta helming a big boat, Olympic Gold Medallist, Shirley Robertson (GBR) steered Stephen James' Swan 48 Jacobite to a regatta class victory. Shirley commented: "I really enjoyed the event and learnt a lot. It was a great initiation for me to sail on such a good boat with such a good crew. The crew had high expectations coming into the event, so I had to rise to the occasion."
However, the handicap system meant that Robertson never quite knew where she was placed on the race course. "From a helmsman's point of view you just focus on your job of making the boat go fast, you don't really know which boats are winning."
After a one-hour wait for the wind, the only race of the day started at 1130hrs. In a three knot southwesterly breeze, the fleet headed east under spinnaker with the tide underneath them. Within 800 metres the wind shifted to the southeast and the fleet were soon close hauled. Island Fling and Jacobite, having started at the pin end of the line, were the best placed for the wind shift. Once again Island Fling led the whole way round the race-course but it was Crackerjack who took their first regatta victory on corrected time.
Once the fleet got into the eastern Solent the breeze steadied and freshened to 8-10 knots, and again the 61 Swans enjoyed the conditions on a windward-leeward course. The big boats raced a 30 mile course, with the smaller Swans sent around on a 22 mile race.
All three contenders for the small boat division started within shouting distance of one another at the outer end of the Squadron line. Menenes managed to keep her kite full in the light conditions and was able to get a jump on the two chasing French Swans. They led from start to finish to win the race by three and a half minutes, however Xaossa sailed well to finish second. Jo Richards, tactician aboard Menenes explained "There were a lot of wind shifts and bends on the course today, so it was obvious to go all one way quite often. We did our best and could do no more today."
The next event for Nautor's Swan will be the Swan American Regatta in Newport Rhode Island from 7-13 July 2001.
Overall Big boat class (5 races, 1 discard)
1. GBR Jacobite - 4.5,3,12,2,1,5 - 15.5 points
2. GBR Island Fling - 8,13,2,1,9,2 - 22 points
3. GBR Crackerjack - 6,11,4,5,12,1 - 27 points
Overall Small boat class(5 races, 1 discard)
1. FRA Xaossa - 1,2,25,3,1,2 - 9 points
2. GBR Menenes - 2,5,1,2,5,1 - 11 points
3. FRA Saga - 3,1,2,12, 2,5 - 13 points