North Sails NEWS
Story Contributors: Arnd Howar, Nacho Braquehais, Daniele Cassinari
SWAN TUSCANY CHALLENGE
Successful Worlds Warm-Up For ClubSwan 50 Clients
Days before the Swan Tuscany challenge began, owners were rallying their teams as organizers pulled together to put on a successful event. Yachting, in the midst of coronavirus, hasn’t been easy, but members of the class were eager to make the first real event of the season happen, on short notice.
With scheduled events canceled for the class across the calendar this summer, one of those events, the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, the Swan Tuscany Challenge was a late addition to the schedule and brought 13 ClubSwan 50 teams to the starting line to battle for a podium finish. The racecourse served as a preview for the extremely close competition ahead of Swan One Design Worlds in Scarlino, Italy in October.
The success of the last-minute event is, no doubt, a testament to the strength of the Swan class and the owner’s dedication to the fleet.
The North Sails ClubSwan 50 Class Expert Arnd Howar on EarlyBird, was thrilled to be back out on the water. He commented, “The biggest highlight was this event coming together in such short notice. For teams to act fast shows the true strength of the ClubSwan 50 class. It is a testament of commitment from each program to get a fleet of 13 boats to the event, and pull off a successful regatta.”
“It was great to see teams spending more time preparing and tuning at the dock to be ready for the Worlds in a few weeks,” said Howar. “The racing was unbelievably close, which shows just how competitive the Worlds will be,” he commented.
“After seeing the fleet together last week, it shows that anyone has a chance, and each team will bring everything they’ve got to win this Worlds,” North Sails Expert Daniele Cassinari onboard Cuordileone commented.
The team had not sailed together for nearly a year, and it was vital for the group racing Cuordileone to get the rig tuned properly and gauge their performance in the fleet ahead of the world’s event.
There were only about 20 sailing days this year for the class, and not all, but most teams were able to take advantage of that, which helped create a cohesive dynamic amongst the fleet.
Howar commented, “I think it shows how strong the class is and how good communication among the owners makes the bond that much stronger. Setting up fleet practices and clinics are unique for the ClubSwan 50 class. The Class wouldn’t have been as successful without Nautor Swan, the boat owners, and crews for their communication that helped keep us together this season.”
Tactician Markus Wieser on winning ClubSwan 50, Hatari, is elated with how well the fleet performed in Tuscany. Wieser is a familiar face around the sailing scene. He is involved in many classes, from the J/70 to the Superyacht range. The core team on Hatari sails TP52’s and also together on Maxi 72, Momo.
“Being part of the Swan family for the first time– we felt very welcome. To race in this fleet with 13 boats on the starting line was extraordinary. That’s one design sailing at its best!”
Once August came around, the Hatari team trained together with other teams at clinics, which was vital once Copa del Rey got canceled. Wieser commented, “We were building confidence while sailing in Palma, and so were the other teams. That time in the boat helped us win this first event in Tuscany, and was a great feeling of accomplishment. Things were on point for us. Our crew work, our set up. Our skipper, Marcus Brennecke, did an excellent job driving the boat, too.”
“The competition was very tough,” said Wieser. “We didn’t have it easy. We were always fighting to be in the top-end of the fleet each race.” The ClubSwan 50 fleet is unbelievably tight. Any mistakes made would push you back. Once you lost that one-up, it was tough to get back into range with the race leaders,” said Wieser. “In one-design classes, the boats are practically identical, so everyone is very closely matched. “That’s the best part about this type of racing. It’s an even playing field.”
The Worlds are currently scheduled for October 13-17th, and Hatari plans to be there. Racing location means everything, and the class goes above and beyond when choosing venues that will give sailors the best possible racing conditions. “Scarlino was a superb host for all of us,” said Wieser. “Especially considering they had very little time to prepare for this event.”
North Sails Grand Prix expert Ignacio Braquehais (Nacho) onboard second-place finisher, Stefan Heidenreich’s OneGroup is honored to be a part of the ClubSwan 50 Project, “It’s not only about increasing the number of boats on the line,” said Nacho, “but also to make sure that each team is optimized and at the highest level of competition. We want to share our experiences and help each team evolve, not only in technical ways but also in trimming and tuning.”
“The 2020 Swan Tuscany Challenge was the perfect warm-up after this last COVID lockdown in Italy,” Braquehais explained. “It was apparent that all teams are grateful for the support they’ve received from both the class and North Sails.”