Today, the curtain will rise on the eleventh Swan American Regatta. 50 Swan's, ranging in length from 36 foot to 80 foot, will compete in the waters off Newport, Rhode Island with the first race starting at 11.00.
Racing will take place daily, with the final prize giving on Saturday 2 August
Nautor's own handicapping system (the Swandicap) will divide the fleet into three classes: two racing classes, 'A' and 'B', and one cruising class, 'C'. Most eager of all will be the current Swan American Regatta champion Frank SAVAGE with his Swan 56, Lolita. This American entry will be hoping to repeat the outstanding performance in 2001 against tough competition, most threatening of all being Swan 56's Nova, owned by Mark DISTEFANO and Neva, owned by Robert WATSON. Both of these competitive Swans boast crews consisting of America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Whitbread sailors, most notable of all being Starts & Stripes crew members, Wally HENRY, Tony RAY, Chuck BROWN and Geordie SHAVER.
Amongst the other American entrants aiming to keep the trophy in the country is Raymond Peterson, owner of Swan 46 Cygne, who has competed in all but one of the Swan American regattas since 1982 and holds the distinction of being the longest competing Swan owner in the American fleet. Competing against Peterson will be long-term rival Richard SYLVANOVICH, from Missouri, in his Swan 44II, Cygnet.
The regatta follows on from the successful Swan European Regatta of last month, won by the Belgian Swan 56, Aqua Equinox. At this regatta there will be representatives from the Netherlands, Italy, Australia and the UK, all hoping to threaten the American monopoly at this prestigious event. No foreign yacht has ever taken overall honours in the Swan American Regatta.
Racing will get underway at 11.00 with the S. Pellegrino Race Day, which will see the yachts compete in a 20 - 25 mile race around the cans in Rhode Island Sound. Two shorter races are planned for the second day of the regatta, the ClubSwan Race Day.