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ClubSwan crews target success for their country in Nautor's Swan Nations Trophy

by Nautor's Swan 14 Sep 23:16 PDT 14-18 September 2021

A frisky breeze and changeable forecast greeted crews and owners assembling in Palma de Mallorca for the Nautor's Swan Nations Trophy. With it came the promise of some edge-of-the-seat racing in the days ahead, as boats compete both for individual glory and national triumph.

Crews jostling on the quays outside the prestigious Real Club Náutico de Palma, which is hosting this event, were eager to get out into the bay for today's practice race. Moderate easterly winds gusted up to 20 knots to keep the crews on their toes, and there should be more of the same later in the week.

But unsettled is the best description for the forecast over the five-day event, with wind coming from all around the clock, plus some very light conditions. Boats will be forced to make difficult sail choices, and tested across the full range - tearing along one moment and hunting for every breath of wind the next.

As it often does, Palma will bring local knowledge to the fore. "There are some peculiarities in the Bay of Palma," confirms local sailor Nacho Postigo, navigator on the CS50 Perhonen. "You need to understand where the gradient wind encounters the thermal wind. There is an effect when it mixes with the heat of the land. That said, it was very difficult today. Wind from 90-100 degrees here is practically non-existent, so every day you learn something!"

It sets the stage beautifully for the fourth event in the 2021 ClubSwan racing calendar. After the planned 11 races, the best performing two boats under each nation's flag will contribute their points to a national tally. This will be used to determine which nation has triumphed at the biennial Nations Trophy.

Going into the racing, Germany has the edge, with the strongest performance in the season so far. This, and a win last season, look likely to generate bonus points that Germany's closets rivals Italy and Russia are desperate to overcome with a winning performance here in Palma. Nonetheless, all 14 of the nations competing here are capable of winning races and taking a podium place.

Christian Plump, owner of the CS42 Elena Nova described the racing to come: "It's fantastic - boat against boat; man against man. We have a new crew, with only three days practice in Palma, but we've made great progress. The national dimension is on the top - the kick is all sailing together. We can only contribute, but every little helps."

Nikolai Burkart, German owner of the ClubSwan 36 Goddess said the point of the event was to have fun sailing. "I don't feel pressure for Germany to win," he said. "But let's speak again after the racing!"

Held every two years, the Nations Trophy 2021 is also the final event of this year's four-regatta Nations League. The points won by each country at this regatta will feed into the ultimate scores for the Nations League. It means there will be prizes awarded to the winning boats in each class, the winning nation in the Nations Trophy and in the Nations League

Nautor Group Chairman Leonardo Ferragamo paid tribute to President Emerico Fuster, Commodore Jorge Forteza and the whole team of RCNP, as well as to Palma Mayor José Villa and tourism councillor Elena Nano Duch. "The Nations Trophy is the pinnacle of the global Nations League project, which we hold tremendously at heart. It was conceived to bring quality one-design racing to a high level of visibility, and return to the sailing world the gentlemanly competition between countries and friendship among them."

The practice day concluded with a convivial opening ceremony, which included music from the band of the Spanish Navy, a parade of national flags and a reception offered by the Real Club Náutico. Racing proper will kick off at 12:00 on Wednesday.

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