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Inaugural Nations Trophy in Palma - Day 1

by The Nations Trophy on 11 Oct 10-14 October 2017

Racing at the first edition of The Nations Trophy started in earnest today with the fleet of 28 Swan One Design yachts completing two races in trying conditions.

A struggling breeze led to a two and a half hour delay to the scheduled start, and once underway the racing was technically demanding as crews worked hard to both gain and maintain. At the end of Day 1, Italy is the leading country in The Nations Trophy, with Spain in second and Netherlands in third.

In the individual championship fleets, the ClubSwan 50 Europeans are led by Cuordileone (ITA), with Porron IX (ESP) in pole position in the Swan 45 Worlds and Far Star (ITA) heading the pack in the ClubSwan 42 Europeans. Boat of the day across the three classes, was Luis Senis Segarra's Porron IX posting an impregnable score-line of 1, 1.

There was an early warning of a difficult day ahead, as local wind guru Nacho Postigo explained the weather forces at play at this time of the year: "Today is going to be a typical Bay of Palma day for the end of summer/beginning autumn. The water is relatively hot, and while the land gets really cold in the night, which is good, it does not get as hot as it does in the summer. So the difference in temperature between the land and sea is not as high and you can have a weaker thermal." And that is what played out. The wind failing to break above 8 knots through the two races and, what pressure there was, suffering some huge oscillations with boats mentioning 40 degree shifts.

ClubSwan 50 European Championship

The crew of Cuordileone will sleep easily tonight, secure in the knowledge that they made by far the best of the conditions in their fleet. Tactician, Ken Read had this to say of their 2, 1 score: "It was a long day and the team did a really nice job keeping the boat going fast. The light air was not the sea breeze we all expect in Palma and it was very puffy, very shifty and we got a couple of good breaks for sure. We kept going fast, and that's a tactician's best friend."

Patience was critical, according to Read, especially when things were not going your way. At one point, in the first race, Cuordileone was pinned to the left side of the course and had to work carefully to get a more central lane. The patience and effort paid off. Good reward for a long, hot day's labour.

Owner, Leonardo Ferragamo, was in an understandably positive frame of mind as he stepped onto the dock: "It was a lovely day. The racing was very tight, very balanced, and there's no better day than when you win!"

Neither Ferragamo nor Read are taking the result for granted. As Read noted, "There is a long way to go."

Swan 45 World Championship

No one can doubt the preparation and commitment of Segarra's team on Porron IX. Opening their account with two bullets was evidence a plan coming together. "In the first race, we started very well at the Committee Boat, on the right, and then we controlled the fleet, making our choices. The second race was very different, with a not very good start. We were eighth at the top mark. We started fighting and pushing, and in the last upwind we went aggressively to the right and it was a good decision." Segarra was quick to praise his tactician, former America's Cup sailor, Aureliano Negrin: "I think he'll get an extra beer tonight, but only one!"

ClubSwan 42 European Championship

Delight and surprise in equal measure for Lorenzo Mondo, whose Far Star took a first and second in the day's two races. In the second race, it required a magician's touch to recover from seventh position at the first windward mark. "We have a good tactician and he chose the right side of the course. For me, it was a great surprise at the end because I was really focused on the tell-tales on the sail. Starting the event with first place on the first day is really a great feeling."

At the daily prize giving at the Real Club Náutico de Palma, each Class 'boat of the day' was rewarded for their effort with a special prize. The "Siurell" is a hand-made clay figure from the island of Mallorca, typically painted in white and decorated with red and green dashes. It is in fact a whistle and originates from the twelfth century, when shepherds used them to call their flock and to compose songs. The name originates from the word "siular", which means to whistle. If today's winners consider themselves light-wind experts, they may be reluctant to try out their prizes for fear of what they might whistle up from the wind gods.

Racing at the 2017 Nations Trophy continues tomorrow, with the first race scheduled for 12 noon.

Further details at thenationstrophy.com

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