Sir Geofrey Mulcahy’s Swan 56 Noonmark VI won the Bvlgari Race Day, the first day of racing for the Swan fleet at the Swan Cup 2002, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.
Noonmark VI, skippered by Mike Gilburt in Mulcahy's absence, won after being awarded redress for picking up a man overboard from Jerzy Kulakowski's Swan 55 Gemm (GER). Gilburt's crew coped with the conditions majestically despite a breeze gusting up to 40 knots and a course that sent the fleet into the world famous Bisce Straits.
Behind Noonmark VI, Frank Savage's Swan 56 Lolita (USA) showed the speed that won them the previous Nautor regatta - the Swan American Regatta in Newport, Rhode Island in July 2001 - to take second place in Class B and overall. Another boat to continue her winning form in Nautor's prestigious regattas was Class D winner at the Swan European Regatta, Jacobite (GBR) skippered by owner Stephen James' son and daughter.
The yacht that caused most interest in the fleet was No Logic (GBR), as Des Althorp entered the Swan 112 into her first ever race. No Logic was beaten by 31 seconds to line honours by Roel Pieper's Swan 80 Favonius (NED), although both were overtaken Chippewa (USA) on corrected time. Clay Deutsch Swan 68, another to have won Nautor honours previously, listing the Swan Carribean Challenge and the Swan Atlantic Challenge amongst his achievments, won Class A from Peter Ogden's Swan 60 Spirit of Jethou.
In Class C, Nick Lykiaropulo's Swan 46 Aera (GRE) beat off the challenges of two Swan 48's to take class victory.
The commaraderie of the Swan fleet was shown by Noonmark VI's actions after Arek Likus from Poland, a crewmember of the German Swan 55 Gemm (owned by Jerzy Kulakowski) fell overboard whilst on the foredeck dropping a spinnaker. A gust caught the sail as it was being dropped, filling the spinnaker and forcing himoverboard. Whils the race organisation immediately alerted the authorities, who scrambled a helicopter, it was the British Swan 56 that came to the rescue by picking up the crewmember after he had been in the water for 45 minutes
Mike Gilburt, explained the situation. "Runing down under asymetric at 14 knots. One of our crew spotted something in the water, which we then identified as a person. We got no response when we hailed the guy, so we immediately realised there was a problem. We dropped the asymetric, and turned the engine on which took about 150 yards. We had four people watching him, but we actually lost sight of him initially. We turned into the breeze, went back on a bearing and soon spotted him. We came alongside and he looked very grateful. He wasn't hypothermic, but he was exhausted."
Tomorrow will be Deutsche Bank Private Banking Race Day, with two Windward/Leeward courses for the fleet. At the prizegiving, one minute silence will be observed as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives on Septemer 11th last year.
Fleets A and B sailed a 42 mile course for the two large fleets, with C and D racing a 33 mile distance, taking in the islands Sainto Stefano and Monaci.