The first edition of the Nations Trophy, organized by the Real Club Nautico de Palma, is about to start. From the 10th to the 14th of October this regatta will see the participation of over 12 nations and represents a central event in the Swan One Design world.
Nautor’s Swan: short story of a myth
The Swan hulls, produced between 1967 and 1979, still represent absolute nautical jewels, a synthesis of high performance and sophistication, symbols of a golden age for the world of sailing.
This story begins in 1966, with the unbelievable meeting between Rod Stephens (one of the world’s largest yacht design experts) and Pekka Koskenkyla (employee of a paper factory) which formed the embryo of this unique project destined for success.
The two were in Finland at Pietersaari, in the Gulf of Bothnia, 500km north of Helsinki and 400km south of the Arctic Circle to discuss an ambitious project: to build a small, 36ft, high performance boat with high quality finishing.
Swan 36, 1966
The production of a small, 36′ One Ton Cup class, was the first step. It was called “Tarantella” and launched on July 17th, 1967. The boat, a perfect synthesis between American design and the impeccable execution of Finnish constructions, immediately marked a great success: ninety yachts Swan 36 were produced between 1967 and 1971.
The shipyard was called Nautor, while the prototype boat was named after one of the most beloved birds in Finland: the Swan.
Tarantella Swan 36
The first five years of Nautor’s life were full of success and the yard became famous all over the world. In 1967, the second model built by Nautor, the Swan 43, was launched and 67 copies were made between 1967 and 1972. This yacht, commissioned to Sparkman & Stephens by Ake Lindqvist, Lloyd’s consultant in London, was the beginning of the Nautor and S&S partnership.
Sparkman & Stephens
However, it was with the arrival of Strom in 1973, a well-known Finnish engineer, that the design of the real symbol of this ingenious collaboration between Finland and the United States began: the Swan 38. This boat is still the best-selling exemplar in the history of Nautor with 116 hulls made between 1974 and 1979, only four years.
Closing the list of these well-known boats is the Swan 65 which is still today one of the most successful cruise regatta and cruising boats ever built.
From the 80s to the present: the birth of the Swan One Design project
From 1979 on, the new technologies began to spread and the production techniques started to change.
After Strom, the official designer designated to continue the Swan myth, was German Frers. Argentine born, he was a student of the Sparkman & Stephens studio and he collaborated with the Finnish yard in the 1980s giving birth to another successful Swan: the Swan 46.
The last successful yacht of the shipyard, the new Club Swan 50, which immediately became a winner in ocean regattas, is however designed by another Argentine yacht designer, Juan Kouyoumdjian.
In 1998, the Nautor yard was acquired by Leonardo Ferragamo, the Italian fashion entrepreneur. Sailor and Swan enthusiast as a boy, his contribution was along two lines: a push for Swan sportsmanship, creating single-tier classes in which shipowners compete with equal tools without the pressure and distortions of the various ratings and in parallel, a commercial segment of the highest level, that of 30+ metre hulls, specifically created on request from a specific shipowner.
Nautor Swan officially entered the Swan One design project in 2001. Creating the One Design class allowed on one side to protect the inheritance by codifying its production criteria and on the other hand to be able to allow competitions between equally equipped boats which can only highlight the excellence of their teams, giving rise to high-profile sport.
The Nations Trophy: First Edition
The Nations Trophy, from the 10th to the 14th of October, is organized by the Real Club Nautico de Palma in collaboration with Nautor’s Swan and represents the culmination of the Swan One Design Mediterranean Season.
The Nations Trophy formula includes the World Swan Championship 45 and the European ClubSwan 50 and ClubSwan 42 Championships with the assignment of the respective titles. In parallel, the Nations Trophy will be awarded to the nation’s boats that will have achieved the best combined result in two of the three Swan One Design classes. The competition is open to all ClubSwan 50s, Swan 45s and ClubSwan 42s.
The event, which launched this year, will become a biannual event.
Italy has boats registered at all three championships of The Nations Trophy: Ulika in the ClubSwan 50 class, along with Cuordileone, and Thetis who will participate in the Swan World Championships 45. Also Far Star, Digital Bravo and Mela will contest the European Championship ClubSwan 42.
The Nations Trophy will be assigned to the nation that achieves the lowest overall score combined with the results of two boats of each nation in two separate classes. The cup has been specially made by the Buccellati brand, which will also provide prizes to be awarded to the individual winners of the three classes in the race.
The Trophy of Nations reflects the commitment in promoting the sense of belonging to the Swan One design category and at the same time the passion for high-level sports. Each yacht will represent a nation and this will be highlighted by the flags placed on each boat and on the stickers that each participant will wear on the arm bearing the name of the boat owner.
As Jochen Schümann argues, “A One design race, defined by clear rules, is a synonymous of pure sports. Boats are the same and what makes the difference are strategy, tactics, teamwork and navigation techniques”. In short a fascinating competition that will see all the Swan placed on the same starting line giving you moments of high competition and breathtaking duels.