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12 October 2004, 11:38 am
Scerni's Kora Leads The Pack On The First Day
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Swan 45 Gold Cup

After great anticipation, the Swan 45 fleet finally took to the water for the first day of racing in Capri. The Ermenegildo Zegna Race Day saw the 20 boat fleet battle it out in the first ever championship of this one-design class.
Consistency ruled the day with the top three Swan 45's, Kora (ITA), Vertigo (GBR) and Opus One (Germany) providing solid performances in all three of the windward / leeward races. But it was Paolo SCERNI'S, Kora (ITA) that finally prevailed taking yesterdays overall honours and picking up the Ermenegildo Zegna Trophy.

The fleet slipped dock under heavy rain, which gave way to a forecasted 13 -14 knot southwesterly breeze. After a short delay, Race One got underway with Alberto SIGNORINI and Marco SALVI'S Vertigo (GBR) making a great start at the pin end and leading the fleet to the first mark. Vertigo, fresh from her success in the Swan 45 Class at the Rolex Swan Cup, looked to dominate again, but was overtaken by the impressive German boat Opus One, owned by Wolfgang STOLTZ, at the third mark resulting in her first race win.

Alberto SIGNORINI, co-owner of Vertigo, commented on the close racing out on the Gulf of Naples: "We had a great start in the first race as we were alone and took advantage of the clean wind on the pin end. We led until the end of the second windward leg then there was a wind shift of about 30 degrees and Opus One and Jeroboam made up a lot of ground and rounded the third mark ahead of us."

He continued: "The Swan 45's are very nice boats - this one design formula is working perfectly for Nautor's Swan. It's a great class that will only improve as the fleet gets bigger and bigger. I am quite sure that the next Championships in Key West, there will be at least 35 to 40 boats."

The pressure continued in Race Two as Vertigo fought to break out from the middle of the pack, following a good start from Vincenzo ONORATO'S Mascalzone Latino (ITA), Tom STARK'S Rush (USA) and Vittorio RUGGIERO'S Talj (ITA). However, the crew onboard Vertigo showed superior boat skills to ensure they rounded the first mark in the lead, maintaining this position for the rest of the race and crossing the finish line 40 seconds ahead of Stefano POLTI'S Mintaka (ITA) with America's Cup veteran Alberto FANTINI on board and the consistent Kora (ITA).

The final race of the day got underway despite winds dropping to 7 knots. The fleet quickly spread out over the course with Kora maintaining a strong position throughout to take second place behind Talj who took line honours. This last result gave Kora a steady 6-3-2, winning Gianni SCERNI and his crew the first trophy of the week at the final prizegiving held at the Swan 45 Gold Cup Regatta Village and hosted by race day sponsors Ermenegildo Zegna

Scerni, was clearly thrilled to be at the top of the leaderboard on day one of the Swan 45 Gold Cup: "It's been a great first day of racing - fantastic to have sufficient wind for three races - a great start to the regatta. We are really happy and enjoyed it, especially as we haven't sailed much together and still managed to win!"

He continued: "I have only had the boat since August, with my first regatta being the Rolex Swan Cup where we came 4th in the Swan 45 Class. For me the most important thing is to enjoy and have fun and we are certainly doing that! "

But it is not just the racing that will keep these owners and crews entertained. As with every Nautor's Swan regatta, the Swan 45 Gold Cup has a packed social calendar which started on Sunday night with the official Opening Ceremony, hosted by Ermenegildo Zegna..

The reception was held in the spectacular poolside surroundings of the exclusive Capri Palace Hotel, with breathtaking views from Anacapri. After a champagne reception, Massimo Massacesi, President of the Yacht Club Capri, officially opened the first ever Swan 45 Gold Cup and welcomed all participants to Capri, wishing them fair winds and a successful regatta. This event also gave Nautor's Swan President, Leonardo FERRAGAMO, a chance address the owners and crews and check out the opposition for the racing ahead!

The Swan 45 Gold Cup will continue today, Tuesday 12th October, with two windward/leeward races in the NetJets Race Day, after which Owners will be treated to an exclusive dinner, hosted by NetJets at the Caesar Augustus Hotel in Anacapri. The final prize giving will be held on Friday 15th October in the Regatta Village, hosted by Morgan Stanley.
Annabel Merrison (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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