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Monaco Swan One Design - Preview

by Nautor's Swan 9 Apr 11:12 BST 9-13 April 2019
2019 Monaco Swan One Design Regatta © Nautor's Swan

The second edition of the Monaco Swan One Design kicks off tomorrow with 14 Swan One Design yachts representing seven nations taking part. Hosted by the incomparable Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM), the opening event in The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League 2019 is the first rung on a season-long ladder that ends in October, in Mallorca, with The Nations Trophy itself. A showcase for spirited one-design competition and all that makes the Swan world so exceptional, the next four days will be filled with fiercely contested racing on the water, with national pride and individual reputation at stake, and convivial gatherings ashore.

"It is wonderful to be here and to start The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League 2019 with the fantastic backdrop of Monaco," declared Giovanni Pomati, Nautor's Swan Group CEO, continuing: "Seeing the ClubSwan family back together with its passion for camaraderie, sailing and the sea is inspirational. The circuit continues to grow with new teams and new partners joining us. We are really pleased to be introducing a new project this year that addresses sustainability. And, looking ahead as I suspect everyone knows, we are thrilled to be unveiling a new ClubSwan model, the innovative 36, in Scarlino."

At the Opening Ceremony, Bernard d'Alessandri, General Secretary of the YCM, expressed the club's pleasure at hosting the Monaco Swan One Design again, while welcoming the crews: "I would like to thank all the owners and teams for being here, we are really proud to have the Swans for a second year. I hope that you have a good time with wonderful racing!"

The headline act this week is the ClubSwan 50 fleet with eight entries. The class was introduced in 2017 and has grown steadily in the intervening period. Two of the latest builds feature: Ross Warburton's Perhonen (United Kingdom) and Andrea Bianchedi's Drifter Sail (Italy). Both these newcomers will need to acquire their game-face quickly in this division, noted for close competition between technically-adept crews.

The pedigree on show is high level. Stefan Heidenreich's OneGroup (Germany) is the defending ClubSwan 50 World Champion and finished third overall in The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League. Cuordileone (Italy) won the 2018 Monaco Swan One Design, finished second in the World Championship losing out by one point and came second in the Mediterranean League by virtue of countback. Morten Kielland's Mathilde (Switzerland) started the 2018 season strongly taking second place at the first two League events, before eventually finishing fourth. A strong performance at the World Championship took her to third, four points off the lead.

"This is a dream come true for me," explains Andy Bianchedi. "I had stopped sailing some years ago and then I was reading a yachting magazine, came across the ClubSwan 50 and fell in love with the design." Bianchedi took part in the Rolex Giraglia and the Rolex Swan Cup last year in an effort to find his feet, and feels 2019 to be his true start in the class: "This is the beginning for me and it is great to be involved in such a perfectly organised series of events. I have been made to feel part of the family straightway and received great support. The ambition for this event is to have fun. We are very new, but we will learn a lot this week with so many great sailors".

The ClubSwan 50 division will get tighter and tighter as the season continues. Eleven entries are on the cards for Scarlino (30 April 4 May), with 15 at both the Rolex Giraglia (9 11 June) and Copa del Rey (27 July - 3 August) and, then, at The Nations Trophy (8 12 October) some 19 are anticipated, quite probably the largest-ever gathering of one design yachts of this size. A massive endorsement of the decision by Nautor's Swan to commit to this project.

The Swan 45 fleet features all three contestants from the 2018 Monaco Swan One Design. Luis Senis' Porron IX (Spain) comes with the highest commendation back-to-back world championships, first-place in the 2018 Mediterranean League and winner here last season. Valter Pizzoli, owner of Ange Transparent (Switzerland), has lived in Monaco for a number of years and will hope to turn around the result of 2018 when he and his crew finished second. Piermarco Babanco and Checkmate (Italy) will do their level best to be in the mix too.

"Last year was an excellent year, but we lost at the Copa del Rey," said a circumspect Senis. "Our target this year is to repeat what we did well last year, but to be better and win the Copa del Rey as well." Asked where the secret to success lies, Senis is refreshingly honest: "We did everything so fast. We had planned to take some years, but reached our goal very quickly. Being so successful has made us very happy, and this is a key to doing well". On a more practical level, the crew of Porron IX has spent time over the winter preparing the boat. Armed with the same crew, Senis cuts an understandably happy figure. "We enjoy being part of the Swan One Design world," he adds, concluding, "The venues are beautiful; the owners, crew and organization are a special group and to be a part of it is wonderful."

Lorenzo Mondo's ClubSwan 42 Far Star (Italy) had limited exposure to Swan One Design racing in 2018, but was the victor in Monaco after a convincing performance that gave the opposition little room to challenge. This year, the Italian crew faces new competition in the form of Bernard Marchant's Andante IV (Belgium) and Christopher Wargny's Zappy S (France). "Last year, here, was a great success for us. We had a great week, with great wind and we cross our fingers to get the same conditions again this year," explained Mondo. "The crew is a little stronger than last year. We have done some good training sessions this winter and are optimistic, but it is impossible to be certain. Our enthusiasm is the same. We really like the Swan One Design programme and plan to do all the events this season."

As the opening event of the Mediterranean League, the Monaco Swan One Design is the launch pad for a number of fresh initiatives and partnerships this year. The hot topic in sailing at present is sustainability, as those passionate about the environment and the sea, in particular, take steps to address the issues facing the oceans. This year, Nautor's Swan is engaging with two new partners: clothing manufacturer SEASE, an eco-friendly line of menswear, and Marevivo, an organisation committed to the protection and enhancement of marine environments.

Combining sophistication, innovation, technology and traditional fabrics, updated and employed in modern designs, SEASE has a contemporary attitude to sustainability. SEASE is committed to the environment in terms of materials, supply chain and processes encouraging responsible consumption.

Marevivo is an alliance to protect the sea, and Nautor's Swan is proud to be a part. All of the activities Marevivo carries out in terms of biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, enhancement and promotion of marine protected areas, environmental education, combating pollution and illegal fishing - aim to press for commitment while increasing the attention and involvement of public opinion and media towards the preservation of the sea.

Racing at the 2019 Monaco Swan One Design commences on Wednesday, 10 April and concludes on Saturday,13 April.

For more information about the 2019 Monaco Swan One Design, visit the event page.

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