Maxi and Swan World Report

08/10/2016


This year, two Younger Members were given the opportunity to compete in the Rolex Maxi and Swan Worlds, Porto Cervo, Sardinia in September 2016, racing aboard Lord Laidlaw’s newly commissioned and modified Swan 115, Highland Fling 15.

The first week was primarily taken up by sea trials and testing of sail configurations, along with crew familiarisation. The conditions ranged from 10-16 knots primarily from the north and east with a slight sea state. The final days of testing comprised of practice starts and speed tests with one of the other Wally 100s, Open Seasons. With testing over, the Maxi Worlds started on the 4th September.

A record number of Maxis took part, ranging in size from 115ft to 60ft, with a separate class for the Maxi 72 Worlds. Highland Fling 15 was to compete in the 10-strong Super Maxi Class. Racing conditions ranged from 10 to 18knts, with the wind primarily from the NNE. Racing was competed over 4 of the 5 days programmed.

Highland Fling 15 had a successful regatta, posting 3, 1, 2, withdrawing from one race due to a technical difficulty. Highland Fling 15 proved herself the fastest boat on the race track, winning the top boat speed competition. We ended up 4th overall, quite a positive result considering we only raced in 3 of 4 races.
With the success of the previous week, there was an air of excitement ahead of the Swan Worlds and the 50th Anniversary of Nautor Swan. Some 120 yachts raced in the Swan Worlds, split over a total of 7 classes, including the Swan 42 and 45 one design classes. The highly competitive Maxi class included two Swan 115s, with the remainder between 80 and 100ft. Four races were scheduled. Whilst Highland Fling 15 had superior speed, topping out at 22knts, we were unable to put enough distance between us and the chasing pack. By the end of the competition Highland Fling 15 finished a disappointing 7th in class.

We have both had a little time to reflect on this amazing opportunity, and absorb all the racing tips we were given by the crew. We have both learnt numerous invaluable lessons and had a fantastic time racing in ideal conditions, and we would encourage all Younger Members to take up the future opportunities presented by the Big Boat programme.

Matthew Blachford & Jolyan Lumai