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Irish Crew on Black Seal Topping the Swan 36 Leaderboard at Sardinia Challenge

3rd June 2022
Dun Laoghaire bowman Will Byrne from the National Yacht Club, North Sails sailmaker Nigel Young from Royal Cork and Kinsale ex-pat Jeremy Elliott lead the Swan 36 sailing on Richard Thompson's Black Seal
Dun Laoghaire bowman Will Byrne from the National Yacht Club, North Sails sailmaker Nigel Young from Royal Cork and Kinsale ex-pat Jeremy Elliott lead the Swan 36 sailing on Richard Thompson's Black Seal Credit: Stefano Gattini/Swan 36

A trio of Irish sailors on the crew of the Guernsey-based Swan 36 Black Seal skippered by Richard Thompson are at the top of the leaderboard after the second day of racing at the Swan Sardinia Challenge. 

Dun Laoghaire bowman Will Byrne from the National Yacht Club, North Sails sailmaker Nigel Young from Royal Cork and Kinsale ex-pat Jeremy Elliott had three wins yesterday to be seven points clear at the top of the eight-boat fleet with four races left to sail.

Based in the Marina di Villasimius on the tip of Sardinia's southeast coast, the Swan Sardinia Challenge has attracted a fleet of almost 30 one-design Swan yachts across three classes – the renowned Swan 45s, the ultra-modern ClubSwan 36s and what will be the season's largest gathering of the high-performance ClubSwan 50s – between them flying the flag for at least 12 countries.

Richard Thompson's Swan 36 Black SealRichard Thompson's Swan 36 Black Seal Photo: Stefano Gattini/Swan 36

The ClubSwan 36 class welcomed the appearance of Alex Kudlich onboard Bracing Breeze, another asset for Germany in the Nations League, and Thompson's Black Seal flying the flag for Guernsey in the Channel Islands.

In the pre-event billing, the fleet was expected to face stiff competition from their hard-charging classmates, not least Italy's Fra Martina who placed fourth in the season opener in Tuscany but so far it's all going Black Seal's way.

 Swan Sardinia Challenge

"We knew from the outset that the competition in the ClubSwan 36 class was going to be both fun and intense, and we saw the reality during last season," said Vanni Pavesio, owner of Fra Martina and Class president.

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