For The Examiner | ClubSwan recognizes Swan owners competing in the world’s most important offshore regattas with beautifully handcrafted Asprey Swan Challenge trophies. This year’s Swan Caribbean Challenge was awarded to Swan 51 Northern Child (GBR), for their performance in the RORC Caribbean 600.
What’s in a trophy? For starters, it’s pride, recognition, merit, reward and long standing memory of a great achievement. Trophies have marked victories since ancient times. Chalices were given to winners of sporting events at least as early as the very late 1600s in the New World. Chalices, particularly, are associated with sporting events, and were traditionally made in silver. The Davis Cup, Stanley Cup and numerous World Cups are all now famous cup-shaped trophies given to sports winners – and of course then there is the America’s Cup, the world’s oldest continually contested sporting trophy.
Competition is an integral element of ClubSwan, whose close-knit family of owners meet regularly at exclusively appointed regattas, cruising rendez-vous and social events around the world. No wonder that ClubSwan decided to recognize Swan owners competing in the world’s most important offshore regattas with a special set of “chalices” – beautifully handcrafted Asprey Swan Challenge trophies. Excellency and craftsmanship, which are core values at Nautor’s Swan, are here matched by the tradition of renowned global luxury brand and British jewelers Asprey, founded in 1781. Asprey has a long and established relationship with British royalty dating back to the 1800s when Queen Victoria awarded the first Royal Warrant. Since then, Asprey has held a Royal Warrant for every British monarch, and several other foreign heads of state.
Asprey prides itself on attention to detail, and sophistication across its catalogue of products. The brand crafted the original Swan Cup in 1984, and all of the trophies to date, including a scale model of the Swan 45, which is on display in the lobby of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Other highly sought-after trophies include the Swan Maxi trophy, awarded to the top Swan in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup; the Swan 45 Gold Cup; the Swan 60 Gold Cup; the Nord Stream Race Trophy and the Gazprom Swan 60 Class Trophy.
The Swan Challenge Trophies hold a special significance since they recognize achievements that are not easy to accomplish, hence showcasing the qualities that make Swans unique and so special. As much as Swans are strong, powerful and reliable yachts, it’s their owners and crews who exhibit determination, skill, passion and resilience.
During 2015, five Swan Challenge Trophies will be awarded, beginning with the Swan Caribbean Challenge at the RORC Caribbean 600, and then followed by the Swan Transatlantic Challenge for the NYYC Transatlantic Race, Swan North European Challenge at the Rolex Fastnet Race, Swan Baltic Challenge at Flensburger Fördewoche and Swan Mediterranean Challenge at the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
Lucy Reynolds’ Swan 51 Northern Child conquered the first Swan Challenge Trophy of the 2015 season, as the first Swan and third in IRC 2 at the RORC Caribbean 600.
On February 23rd, 66 yachts started the 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands. After a classic trade-winds start, the breeze shifted and decreased on the second day as the yachts approached the wind shadow of Guadeloupe. By day three, the trade winds were back to make for an exhilarating race for the fleet. By day four, the wind had built to over 20 knots, with gusts in excess of 30 knots and the beat to finish in Antigua from Redonda became a real test for the remaining yachts and the exhausted crews.
Northern Child enjoyed a fantastic battle in her class with Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster (who won in IRC 2 for the third time) and with Andy Middleton’s First 47.7, EH01. Northern Child finished third, by just under one minute on corrected time, after three and a half days of hard racing. The three skippers are great friends, and thoroughly enjoyed the spirited competition.
Next up will be the Swan Transatlantic Challenge trophy, which will be presented to the first Swan in the NYYC Transatlantic Race this June. Driven by passion, these teams continue to travel the world for the challenges, world-class events and an opportunity to sail away with one of these fine trophies by Asprey.