Offshore Yachting : October November 2007
RACE & REGATTA ROUND-UP 42 | offshore Like Alan Bond before them, the crew of Senta try to wrest the Cup from the Americans. Unlike Bond, they miss out. Hopefully the race will not be their Swan song! By Karen Eriksen Next year will mark a quarter-century since Australia prised the Auld Mug from the New York Yacht Club's hands. The America's Cup had been held by the United States for 132 years until Australia II made yachting history in 1983. As the only Australian entry in the Swan American Regatta held in Newport in July, we - John and Karen Cole - decided to set our sights slightly lower than Bondie did back in 1983. Our boat was the cruising Swan 46 centre board Senta, built in the same year as the Cup win and purchased by us six months before the regatta. Our crew was premier league, though and included Stephen Ainsworth and Chris and Yvonne Gorman from the CYCA, Loki's mast man Richard Hall, several more Australians, two Americans, three Germans and a Cornish man. Thirty-five boats entered the regatta in four classes, with centre stage taken by the brand new New York Yacht Club Swan 42s, a one-design class commissioned by the club for its members. It was their first major racing event and 11 of the 35 boats sold so far, were on the start line. In our spinnaker Group C we had American Swan 44 Crescendo with Australians Jamie and NathanWilmot, and Hugh Treharne - Australia II's tactician in 1983 - on board. The biggest participant was the new Swan 100S Virago; an awesome sight. The training day was slightly chaotic as these days tend to be, culminating in a seriously ripped mainsail. After a major overnight repair job by North Sails it "looked like a muffin" according to Stephen, our main sheet trimmer. The pole beak broke as well, luckily we borrowed a pole from another Swan 46. The good news was our rating got slightly adjusted due to the fact that our rig was two feet shorter than the deep keel Swan 46s, which made our sail area smaller. At the welcome reception at the NYYC 's Harbour Court Club, the champagne was free but the beer was not, peculiar. In the elegant library with its half models on every wall somebody joked: "I can't see Australia II here; they might have hung her in the toilet." According to local sources Newport has never recovered from the loss of the Cup and the consequent reduction of its international sailing scene, emotionally and financially. Aussies go for the Cup!
December January 2008