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2 August 2003, 03:46 pm
Aura Rises to the Challenge
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Swan American Regatta
Newport, Rhode Island

On the penultimate day of the 2003 Swan American Regatta, the 50 boat Swan fleet were treated to an unexpected longer race, giving all entrants a chance to hone their navigational skills in the tricky waters off Rhode Island's Narangassett Bay.
At first glance it looked like the Swan 45's had yet again stolen the limelight, however it was Bill KARDASH's Swan 44, Aura, built in 1972 that took the overall title for the day.
Racing started at 11.00 this morning in Narragansett Bay, after a decision made by the Race Committee to change the planned two windward/leeward races to a 26.5 mile distance race around Conanicut and Prudence Islands for Classes A and B and 17.9 miles around Conanicut Island for Class C.

The start, run by the New York Yacht Club Race Committee, started in Newport Harbour. Class A set off first and Martin FISHER's Swan 70 Strabo took a commanding lead on the 17 boat fleet. With a 5-knot breeze gently guiding the yachts towards the Newport Bridge, Strabo and Roel PIEPER's Swan 80 Favonius stretched ahead of their competitors. From there, the fleet travelled approximately 12 miles North in a Southeast breeze.

Martin FISHER commented on their early performance: "We had a great start, but then got caught in some light air. The light air was a challenge to keep the boat speed up. The wind was very spotty when we were jibing up the Bay. I can't tell you how many jibes we had to do on the first half of the course! The conditions helped us big time and gave us a huge gain on the Swan 80."

At the top of Prudence Island, the fleet turned a mark and headed down the West side of Conanicut Island to the finish off the southernmost tip of the rocky-shored island. Favonius crossed the line first with Strabo coming in seven minutes later.

Fisher was philosophical about the finish: "One thing we did was take advantage of the current at the end of Conanicut. We got lifted on a port tack and it helped us gain on Favonius. At the same time Favonius had to go further south and didn't benefit from the lift. The whole race we were gaining on her. We're happy we beat Favonius on correction."

Craig SPECK's Swan 45 won Class A honours by pipping rivals Goombay Smash, owned by Doug DOUGLASS, to the finish.

Vim's tactician Terry HUTCHINSON talked their experience today: "We raced against Goombay Smash the entire race. The whole time we were always two boat lengths apart. We literally beat them to the centre span of the Newport Bridge from the starting line. They passed us twice and we caught up to them each time, using our boat speed. We finally passed them for good at the tip of Dutch Island and held it to the finish. We realised that we were trying to do whatever they were doing in order to pass them and once we stayed in synch with our own plan, we didn't let up. It was the best racing between the two boats!"

Class B had a very tight start with Martin JACOBSON's Swan 44 Crescendo surging ahead by over a boat length of their fleet. The Swan 44s, including Bill KARDASH's Aura and John WAYT's Vixen together battled against Swan 48 Celerity, Swan 56 Neva, and Swan 51 Syrocco. In the end, it was Crescendo that won line honours. However it corrected to third overall in the race, with Aura taking class honours and overall winner of the day.

Hutchinson summed up the week so far: "The competition has gotten better and better every day. The speed is great in the entire fleet. As far as you can tell, the Swan rating does a good job. I'm impressed with the calibre of sailors in the fleet, not just the Swan 45s, but also the whole fleet."

He continued: "We used the same type of preparation on VIM as Craig's previous boat. We looked at our goals for the summer and we're following the plan and it's working out. For Craig, the owner/driver rule is a new thing and he's done an incredible job driving the boat. The team chemistry is very good. Our two trimmers, Morgan TRUBOVICH and Skip BAXTER work very well with Craig. They're true professionals."
In Class C, Charles Engh's Swan 68 Y2K took line honours by over 15 minutes. Class honours went to Clem NAPOLITANO's Swan 47 Black Tie.

The Brown Advisory Race Day Prizegiving was held in the Regatta Bar in Newport Yachting Center, with trophies presented to the podium positions for the three classes by Greg BARNHILL and Bill PATERNOTTE, Partners of Brown Advisory, Mike HANKIN, President and CEO of Brown Advisory and to the overall winner of the day, by Luciano SCARAMUCCIA, Managing Director of Nautor.

Saturday is the closing day of the regatta, with the fleet fighting it out for the final points on the leaderboard in one scheduled windward/leeward race. The crews will be looking to get back onto the dock on time, ready for the regatta's final prizegiving to be held at the NYYC, Harbour Court. Nautor's President, Leonardo FERRAGAMO will draw this biennial regatta to a close after a week of competitive battles on the water and an exciting social programme on the shore.

The Swan American Regatta forms part of the world renowned Nautor's Swan Racing Calendar which spans the globe with events specifically designed to provide Swan owners with the excitement of competitive racing and a range of social events that are second to none.



Position Boat Skipper Type Nation
1 Aura Bill Kardash Swan 44 USA
2 Vixen John Wayt Swan 44 USA
3 Crescendo Martin Jacobson Swan 44 MKII USA
4 Reef Points Joseph F. Huber Swan 44 MKII USA
5 VIM Craig Speck Swan 45 USA

Class A

Position Boat Skipper Type Nation
1 VIM Craig Speck Swan 45 USA
4 Goombay Smash Corron Bay Marine Holding Ltd Swan 45 USA
5 Bandit Andrew Fisher Swan 45 USA
4 Devocean Stephen DeVoe Swan 45 USA
5 Vanish II Leslie Green Swan 56 AUS

Class B

Position Boat Skipper Type Nation
1 Aura Willam J Kardash Swan 44 MKII USA
2 Vixen John Wayt Swan 44 USA
3 Crescendo Martin Jacobson Swan 44 MKII USA
4 Reef Points Joseph F. Huber Swan 44 MKII USA
5 Moondance Cliff Crowley Swan 391 USA

Class C

Position Boat Skipper Type Nation
1 Black Tie Clem Napolitano Swan 47 USA
2 Dire Wolf Thomas C. Little Swan 44 USA
3 Ariel Jaffrey Associates LLC Swan 36 USA
4 Y2K Charles Engh Swan 68 USA
5 Edelweiss Richard Evans Swan 38 USA
Event Media (As Amended by ISAF Secretariat)
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