The 12th edition of the Swan Cup, started yesterday with the Bvlgari Swan 45 Match Race Regatta.
Former ISAF Ranked World Number One match racer Ed Baird (USA) sailing on Tom Stark's "Rush," defeated Ben Ainslie (GBR) steering Tony Mack's "McFly" in the one race sailed.
A 27knot breeze provided challenging conditions for the regatta, with the course set just outside the famous harbour entrance. Due to the rough conditions, the regatta was limited to a one-race contest.
As the stunning new yachts entered the start box, it was Ainslie that managed to wrestle control. The British Skipper, entering from the port end of the line, sailed underneath Baird as the boats crossed, to earn the right hand side. However, it was the American boat that demonstrated superior pointing ability and halfway up the first beat, closed the gap on McFly, forcing Ainslie to tack off. Baird extended on each leg, with Rush reaching 14 knots on the first downwind leg.
Stark gave credit to his helmsman and crew: "Every time I step on a boat with Ed I'm impressed with his manner and his skill set, he's very talented. He is always very calm on the boat, and the guy is really fast"
Ainslie was clearly impressed with the new Swan 45. "It was a great race in tough conditions, I was really impressed by the boats and their response. I was happy with the start, but we just weren't quite as quick upwind."
Today sees the remainder of the Swan racing fleet join the action that promises a week of windward-leeward courses interspersed with courses around the impressive coastline of Sardinia that will provide extremely challenging conditions for the navigators. The regatta features entries from 21 countries, with the largest contingent from Italy (27), UK (18), Germany (16), USA (11) and France (10). Also represented are Japan (2), Chile (2), Australia (1), China (1) and Hong Kong (1). After six days of intense racing the, Swan Cup culminates with Club Swan Race day on Sunday 15th September.
Nautor's partners for the regatta are Bvlgari, Volvo, Accenture and Deutsche Bank Private Banking, each sharing in "The Spirit of Swan" at the regatta that combines top class competition with a world-class social calendar.