Coasting gracefully above the water, the elegant streamlined body of the swan is a sight of strength, balance and calm. Little wonder then that the sailing yachts named after this majestic bird cause a similar sense of wonder when gliding across the waves. Regarded the world over for producing some of the most finest regatta sailing yachts, much like the swan that initial sense of tranquility masks the real battle going on beneath the water; the turbulent paddling of the swans’ feet, an unseen frenzy, is matched by the unforgiving environment in which these beautiful vessels are built.
In the harsh lands of Pietarsaari in Finland, where the sea is frozen for up to five months of the year, the relationship between the land and water – along with hundreds of years of Finnish boat building tradition – inspired Pekka Koskenkyl to found Nautor’s Swan in 1966, to produce a sailing yacht worthy of both cruising and racing. As can be seen in the latest chapter of their regatta series, he has fully succeeded. Living in such an environment naturally produces the need to adapt to difficult situations on a daily basis, a mindset fully adopted by those craftsmen who produce the entirety of these beautiful boats from their fully integrated in-house factory. Maintaining all manufacturing activities within the same location is what really sets these sailing yachts apart, with gains in both efficiency and quality increasing year-on-year. And since 1998 being under the auspices of the fashion-forward Leonardo Ferragamo, there’s an added level of luxury too.
From that first Swan 36 skippered by British sailor Dave Johnson in the Cowes Regatta in the late 1960s, to the 41 entries into this years’ The Nations Trophy, it can be clearly seen that the love for these sailing yachts has not yet diminished. ClubSwan 50s, 42s and 36s, as well as Swan 45s, took to the glistening grand prix waters of Palma de Maiorca this October to compete in the second edition of the Nations Trophy, all looking to claim World and European titles. Hosted by Real Club Náutico de Palma, President José Javier Sanz Fernández summed up his pride in hosting when he said “The Nations Trophy is a symbol of the union of two great names. The Real Club is a reference in sailing and Nautor’s Swan is one of the best yacht manufacturers in the world. This is why our collaboration has to be a success and is such a success.”
With participating nations from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, the regatta was a truly international affair, with Spain looking to retain the trophy won in the inaugural Nations Trophy in 2017 with Swan 45 Porron IX and ClubSwan 42 Nadir, both returning.
Each race day enjoyed the added, if not unwelcome, anticipation of the fickle breeze that has teased sailors for generations in the bay, yet once stabilized, these conditions saw Italy take the early lead ahead of Spain, toasted to with post-race aperitif’s provided by event partner Quantum Sails. The remaining days of the regatta were plagued with delays caused by the changeable conditions, the drama building like the wind up until the final day of competition.
Proving world-class throughout, Dmitry Rybololev’ Skorpios (RUS) won the ClubSwan 50 World Championships; Germany’s Klaus Diederichs’ Fever topped the three-yacht tussle to claim the Swan 45 world title; while Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuordileone and Andrea Masi’s Ulika helped deliver The Nations Trophy to Italy for the first time.
With a competition so intense, superbly organised and well-attended, 2021 cannot come quickly enough.