One of the most prestigious regattas in the world started in Split – the Swan Croatia Challenge 2023, which officially opened this year’s regatta calendar of Nautor Swan, as the world’s most elite nautical competition.
On Wednesday, April 26, one of the most prestigious regattas in the world began in Split – the Swan Croatia Challenge 2023, which is proudly hosted by ACI and ACI Sail. After last year’s premier ClubSwan 36 championship, Split is once again a global nautical center, and for the second year in a row, which irrefutably confirms that Croatia really stands on an equal footing with the world’s most exclusive nautical destinations. Thus, from April 25 to 29, a race will be held in the Split waters and hosted by ACI Marina Split, which will officially open this year’s regatta calendar of the elite nautical competition, which gathers the world’s best sailors who visit destinations such as Monte Carlo, Porto Cervo and St. Tropez. Thanks to ACI’s exclusive partnership with Nautor Swan as the main organizer of this competition, the long-term benefits for Croatia will be seen in the form of extending the tourist season, attracting a clientele with increasing paying power and strengthening the overall destination competitiveness.
A sports mega event that profiles Croatia as a global nautical brand
ACI d.d. and ACI Sail, in partnership with the organizers Nautor Swan and JK Labud, brought the Swan Regatta to Croatia for the second time – a nautical mega event that aims to further strategically position Croatia as a world nautical superpower and an elite destination in nautical tourism.
„First of all, this regatta aims to raise the quality of nautical tourism and demonstrate what Croatia really can and knows. With the presence of top sailors and experienced sailors at this exclusive regatta, we want to attract clientele who have previously visited other parts of the Mediterranean. Our mission is to encourage the development of destinations within the Adriatic so that these clients stay here, that is, to further establish Croatia as a global nautical brand and an elite sailing destination that belongs to the very top of the world. This major sporting event is of exceptional importance for strengthening the competitiveness of Croatian tourism in the context of extending the season and attracting a more exclusive clientele with higher paying power,“ said the president of the ACI Management Board, Kristijan Pavić.
The Croatian crew combined youth and experience
On the first day of the competition, which brings together the world’s best sailors, it was the Croatian nautical future that weighed against the competition of the highest level. More precisely, our colors were defended by the students of the Maritime Faculty in Split, who tested their skills on boat number 2 and helmed by the celebrated Croatian Olympian and ACI ambassador Ivica Kostelić, who returned to the Split Swan Regatta as the winner of the highly competitive regatta „Roma per Due“. By the way, ACI and the Faculty of Maritime Affairs have been nurturing quality cooperation in the education of students in the nautical tourism industry for many years. Prof. Ph.D. Pero Vidan, dean of the Maritime Faculty in Split, expressed his pride in the Faculty’s participation in the regatta, but also in its cooperation with ACI.
„This year we took part in the regatta hosted by ACI with a regatta crew made up of students from the Maritime Faculty and the University of Split. Their instructor is our assistant professor Luka Pezelj, a kinesiologist by profession and an experienced skipper. I wish them the best placement possible. Students will show what they have learned in competition with much more experienced crews, wanting to promote the Faculty and the University, but also to invite young people to engage in the sea as much as possible, to cultivate a love for the sea. Otherwise, ACI not only participates in the educational process, but is a welcome employer of our students through seasonal jobs and permanent employment after graduation from the Faculty, so this regatta is an additional confirmation of this great traditional cooperation“, he emphasized.
After the second day of sailing, G Spot, skippered by Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio from Monaco, is in first place. In four races, Serena di Lapigio was first four times and has four negative points. He is followed by Edoardo Ferragamo (Cuordileone) with 12 negative points, who achieved fourth and second place on the second day, while Italian Edoardo Pavesio (Fra Martina) took third place with 15 negative points after fifth and third place.
Under the watchful eye of the giants of Croatian sport and eminent representatives of Nautor’s Swan
Given the publicity character of the regatta, both for domestic nautical and for Croatian sports as a whole, the competition was followed by Ratko Rudić, expert advisor of the Croatian Water Polo Association and a celebrated water polo coach, as well as Federico Michetti, head of sports activities at Nautor Swan.
„It’s fantastic to return to Split and start the ClubSwan Racing 2023 season right here. The conditions for sailing are phenomenal, and the welcome and support we receive from our partner ACI is second to none,“ said Federico Michetti, head of sports activities at Nautor Swan.
„Sailing is one of the pillars of Croatian sport and it gives me great pleasure to be here with our sailors and sports friends from all over the world. I want to give them support to continue like this. I was a coach in countries where sailing is highly valued, so I am also familiar with international sailing. I also follow our sailors, who are extremely good. Moreover, Croatian sailors are very famous in the world, thanks to which we have firmly established ourselves as a sailing nation that ranks quite high on the global level and should remain so,“ concluded Ratko Rudić, the legendary coach of the Croatian water polo team.
Photos: ClubSwan Racing / Studio Borlenghi