A Living Tradition

A few weeks after visiting the Nautor’s Swan yard in Finland I was lucky enough to take part in the Swan Owners Association’s 2013 American Swan Regatta on Narragansett Bay.
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 The Swan 53 Nai’a luffs up against Cygnus Montanus at the start of the regatta

The Swan 53 Nai’a luffs up against Cygnus Montanus at the start of the regatta

A few weeks after visiting the Nautor’s Swan yard in Finland I was lucky enough to take part in the Swan Owners Association’s 2013 American Swan Regatta on Narragansett Bay. Hosted by the Jamestown Boat Yard (JBY), which specializes in maintaining Swans of all ages, the event underscored another important aspect of the Nautor’s Swan phenomenon: the passion and dedication of the company’s customers.

Although a separate organization from the company-sponsored “Club Swan,” which holds events around the world and includes membership in Finland’s Segelsallkapet Yacht Club, the U.S. Swan Owners Association takes its responsibility for keeping the flame alive no less seriously—with the help of the folks at JBY, they know how to throw a heck of a party.

This year’s festivities included cocktails aboard the Nantucket Light Ship and a true-blue lobster bake on the beach alongside the JBY yard. There were also mixers and award ceremonies out at Clingstone, the historic “house on the rock” in the middle of Narragansett Bay, which JBY helps manage.

 A traditional lobster bake afterward

A traditional lobster bake afterward

As for the racing, three varied courses over three days provided the dozen or so boats taking part with ample opportunity to show what it means to be a Swan. This was especially true of the first day, which featured 25-knot-plus northerlies, rain and a wicked chop under a low overcast. For many fleets, the conditions could have spelled serious trouble, but not this one.

Working the foredeck aboard the Swan 53 Nai’a, which is also the waterborne home for Swan Owners Association board member Bob Beltrano and his wife, Kirstin, I couldn’t get over how the boat seemed to just eat up these conditions. It was the same thing with Todd Stuart’s Swan 56 White Rhino, which would eventually go on to win the regatta overall. As for Carl-Henric Svanberg’s Swan 77 Cygnus Montanus, the big boat crushing the seas was a sight to behold.

Afterward, there was the usual sense of accomplishment and camaraderie that inevitably comes in the wake of a heavy-air day on the water—in this case coupled with a particular sense of pride in the fact that it had all been done aboard a fleet of magnificent Swans. I think the folks back in Jakobstad would have been equally proud.

Read more about Swan here

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