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Sail Trim - Theory & Practice by Peter Hahne
 Sail Trim - Theory & Practice by Peter Hahne

Winning boats and nations crowned after successful Nations Trophy

by Nautor's Swan 19 Sep 08:21 BST 14-18 September 2021

A day full of drama on the water has seen the winning boats and nations crowned in the Nautor's Swan Nations Trophy. Italy's near monopoly in the ClubSwan 36 class wasn't enough to overcome German domination in the ClubSwan 50s, with the result that Germany took first place in the hotly contested Nations Trophy. Italy came second and Russia third.

The winning boats in each class were honoured at a special ceremony hosted by the Real Club Náutico de Palma this evening. In the ClubSwan 36 class, it was Andrea Lacorte's Vitamina which held on to victory over G-Spot and Farstar with a virtuoso performance that ran to a 2-1-2 finish in today's three races. "Victory is always great," says Lacorte. "We were in seventh place in race three. In the last two legs upwind and downwind we caught up a lot of boats and came out second. We're fighting all the time."

In the smaller ClubSwan 42 fleet, the competition was fierce up until the last downwind leg of the last race, with almost every boat capable of victory. In the end Natalia helmed by Natalia Brailoiu made up two places in the last few hundred metres to score a second place and a well-earned victory across the whole event.

"I was nervous with a lot of emotions," says Brailoiu, describing how she felt before the day's racing. "The winner was decided in the last race and even in the last downwind. My team is amazing and we work well together - this is the most important thing. I'm so happy and proud!"

Balthasar and Earlybird were the best placed ClubSwan 50s overnight, after a good performance from the Belgian boat yesterday. But while Balthasar lost ground today, Sönke Meier-Sawatzki's Niramo came steaming up with three consistently good races. It was just enough to edge Earlybird into second place overall, although there were anxious minutes after the finish while the crews did the maths.

"At the beginning, we hadn't realised it," admits Meier-Sawatzki. "When we counted all the results, we thought we had to be in the top three. Then a couple of press RIBs came next to our boat and we thought, 'nice!'. And then of course were really happy. We have really, really good quality in the fleet and any boat can win. If you're always in the top five you have a good chance."

A league of nations

Throughout the season, winning boats have been contributing points to their flag in the Swan Nations League. This regatta in Palma marked the fourth and final event in the Nations League, deciding the winning nation and winning boats across the four regattas this year.

Topping the leader board by a strong margin, Germany proved itself to be the strongest country in the Nations League, followed by Italy and Russia. "Every event had a different winner - that's the nice thing about the class," says Marcus Brennecke, who collected the Nations League trophy with compatriot Hendrik Brandis on behalf of Germany. "But we are very proud to see the German flag up there in first place. First of all it's about our own team, but it's also about being sportive and the best nation."

Race organisers have also been keeping a careful tally of the scores of individual boats across the season. After the four regattas, the winners were G-Spot in the CS36 class, Natalia in the CS42 and Hendrik Brandis's CS50 Earlybird. Each received a special Nations League award of a beautiful Luca Ferron half hull.

"Being the first year in the 36, I am really proud of winning and very happy," says Giangacomo Serena di Lapigio, owner of G-Spot. "We are coming from another class, and for the last seven years we have been sailing altogether as the same crew. This is the secret. That and the fact I am the oldest of the owners in this class, and so the most experienced!"

After the prize-giving ceremony, owners and crews enjoyed a well-earned aperitivo and let off steam at the RCNP clubhouse. As the sun set behind the forest of masts in the harbour, it brought to a close a week that combined some excellent sailing with the warmth of shared experiences.

The highpoint off the water came last night, with the owners' dinner. ClubSwan Racing offered the guests a beautiful evening in the evocative setting of the Castillo San Carlos with a unique atmosphere created by a special light show from the Salvatore Ferragamo brand celebrating the love for nature and the sea.

"Thanks to the owners and sailors - this great group of sailors that make this happen with a lot of passion," says Giovanni Pomati, CEO of Nautor Group. "It is amazing to see how the level is growing regatta after regatta. The teamwork between you sailors, the racing team of Nautor and the yacht club that hosts us is growing every time, improving everybody's performance and the satisfaction of participating."

He also thanked the event partners, including BMW, Rolex, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ferrari Trento, Sease, Banor, North Sails, Quantum Sails, Gottifredi Maffioli, Garmin and Marevivo.

Federico Michetti, head of Swan sports activities at ClubSwan Racing describes a great season. "It has been a great emotion all week long - I would say all season," he says. "Super tight racing on the water, great atmosphere between sailors. It's unbelievable the feeling there is at the dock. In ClubSwan racing, lifestyle, passion and love for sailing are our first priorities."

The Nations Trophy and Nations League may have been decided, but all eyes now turn to St Tropez for the final ClubSwan event of the year. The Swan One Design Worlds take place from 13-17 October and offer the teams a shot at the ultimate glory of being declared World Champions in their class.

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