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The Nations Trophy 2019 Preview: Swan One Designs to compete for national honour and personal pride

by Mariangela Barbato 3 Oct 2019 06:24 BST 8-12 October 2019

For Swan One Design yachts, The Nations Trophy 2019 taking place next week marks the crescendo to a Mediterranean season that has built in volume since its start in April. Scheduled to run from Tuesday, 8 to Saturday, 12 October, the event brings together a high-level fleet, filled with skilled, passionate, owners and crews competing for both individual and national honour. Hosted by the Real Club Náutico de Palma, racing for the ClubSwan 50, Swan 45, ClubSwan 42 and ClubSwan 36 classes will take place on the renowned waters of the bay of Palma.

"We are very excited about this second edition of The Nations Trophy, which is helping renew the concept of the competition between nations," commented Giovanni Pomati, Nautor's Swan Group CEO. "This year, a remarkable 41 Swan yachts will represent 14 countries. It is an amazing finale to the 2019 Mediterranean Swan One Design Circuit, especially since, in addition to our well-known ClubSwan 50, Swan 45 and ClubSwan 42 designs, our brand-new ClubSwan 36 will make its debut. We are really looking forward to seeing the first four boats of this dynamic new class, representing Italy, Croatia and Norway, on the racecourse."

The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League, contested over four legs this year, was a successful precursor to the main event. Competitive fleets of ClubSwan 50s, Swan 45s and ClubSwan 42s battled it out at a selection of superb venues, which included Monaco, Saint-Tropez and Scarlino. Next week offers a second visit to Palma, after the Copa del Rey in August closed out the season-long circuit. In addition to The Nations Trophy itself, there are three class titles at stake: ClubSwan 50 World Championship, Swan 45 World Championship and ClubSwan 42 European Championship.

Attracting some of the very best Owner/Driver-led teams in yachting, competition promises to be tight. The one design nature of the racing emphasises talent and effort in separating the individual crews on the water. The roster of tacticians is a typical who's who: round the world race legends Roberto Bermudez on Natalia (Rou), Bouwe Bekking on Niramo (GER) and Alberto Bolzan on the ClubSwan 36 Facing Future (ITA); multiple Olympic champion Jochen Schümann on OneGroup; Fernando Echavarri and Iker Martinez on Skorpios (RUS) and Mathilde (SUI) respectively, both Olympic gold medallists and former Rolex World Sailors of the Year; sought-after Portuguese sailor Diogo Cayolla, the Slovenian Brank Brcin and Spaniard Pablo Arrate, in turn on ThirtySix, Far Star (ITA) and B.Kolff Team Utheka (ITA) multiple world champions Chris Larson on Earlybird (GER) and Gabriele Benussi on Vitamina (ITA); America's Cup veterans Pietro D'Alì on Drifter Sail (ITA) and Cameron Dunn on Bronenosec (RUS); and the incomparable Ken Read on Cuordileone (ITA). It is a tough call to pick out the strongest teams.

In terms of The Nations Trophy, Italy go into the competition with a two-point advantage having won the Mediterranean Leagues in 2018 and 2019. This is small comfort given the four days of competition that lie ahead. The destination of the magnificent Nations Trophy, designed in 2017 for the inaugural, biennial event by Milanese silversmiths Buccellati, will be determined by taking the two best-placed yachts from each country and combining their place-position. Yachts may be in the same class. Sweden has a strong entry with one yacht in each of three different classes: Jacob Wallenberg and Gutta Johansson's ClubSwan 50 Regina 2.0, Björn Rosegren's Swan 45 Brujo and Marcus Letsell's ClubSwan 42 CLC Housing Blue, with Whitbread Round the World Race winner Klas "Klabbe" Nylöf in the crew. This spread may prove crucial as all three can pursue their personal class ambition without any risk of negatively affecting the 'national team's' aims.

The Nations Trophy 2019 opens with a practice race on Tuesday, 8 October and concludes with the Final Prize Giving on Saturday, 12 October. A maximum of nine races will be sailed with no discard.

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