August 04, 2015
2015 SOA New England Rally
Our SOA New England Rally was great Fun and a great success. We had 12 Swans on the starting line each day, racing with either a Racing or Cruising rating and both classes doing the same course. The weather was perfect with mostly clear skies, Temperatures from 28-30C each day and winds from 15-18 kts all three days of racing.
The Event started with a cocktail party/ Skippers Briefing on Clingstone, the house on the rock at the entrance to Newport, with nearly 100 people attending. This is always a popular venue as Clingstone is an invitation only venue and not many people have actually experienced viewing the nearly 100 year old house. In attendance on the first night was Robert Holm, Customer Care Director of Nautor Swan. He was warmly received and had good discussions with many owners.
Friday Morning's start was in light air as the Fleet started off in front of Jamestown Boatyard, Nautor Swan's newest Service Yard, and headed for Block Island, some 23 miles away. The leg was entirely upwind and was challenged by some strong currents. After some four hours of sailing, First and Second Place was decided by 10 Seconds! The finishing order:
1- Nai'a - Swan 53
2- White Rhino - Swan 56
3- Dragon - Swan 48
Friday night, the fleet was treated to a great Surf and Turf dinner, New England Lobster, Clams and Chicken, at the famous Spring House Restaurant on Block Island. Our back patio seating area, overlooking the ocean, allowed everyone to watch the full "Blue" moon rise during dinner.
Saturday's race was a little different. The race committee opted to have a Pursuit Race, featuring staggered starts, with the intent of the fleet to arrive together at the finish. 11 boats got across on time, only one boat had to restart. That last boat that restarted raced very hard and ended up finishing a VERY close Second. The finish was back in Newport with a pin abeam the Clingstone House. Every finisher was greeted by a Cannon Shot fired by the RC! Saturdays Results were:
2- White Rhino
Sunday's final event was the 17 mile race around Conanicut Island. The Day was forecast to be a little lighter than the other days and combined with strong out going currents it was bound to be a challenging race day. Winds at the start was only 8-10 kts, but, by 20 min into the first upwind leg...winds increased to a non-forecast 12-15kts. Those winds held (and increased a bit) for the rest of the race. The long Downwind leg featured many boats using "local" knowledge to avoid the the greatest current. Interestingly, those in the know, had diverse ideas about which was the best Strategy. Some favored one shore over the other, some stayed in the middle, everyone had a different plan. The finish was abeam of the Clingstone house again and was accompanied by the RC and their Cannon fire!
Sundays Results were:
1- White Rhino
2- Flying Cloud
While there were daily awards for each days race. The fleet was competing for the "Highland Fling Trophy" presented by Nautor Swan for this event. It was awarded to the best "Owner Driver" of the event. The Final results for 3 days of racing was:
1- White Rhino
Todd Stuart of White Rhino repeated as the winner of the Highland Fling Trophy. Not an easy feat as he had great challenges and was pushed by several other boats.
One of the goals of the Swan Rally is to include as many Swans as possible...our format of including both Cruising and Racing ratings as well as racing to at least one different location where we can anchor out includes a little cruising and some good racing. Judging by the owners comments and enjoyment of the event, we think we reached a nice inclusion of both worlds of Swan owners...Racing and Cruising.
We plan to continue this concept with the SOA's organization of the Caribbean Swan Rally in March of 2016 in the British Virgin Islands. Stay Tuned and Thanks for being members of the Swan Owners Association.
Swan Owners Association