Stark Raving Mad VII wins Swan American Challenge trophy

Jim Madden's Swan 601 Stark Raving Mad VII racing in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race
Daniel Forster/PPL
Jim Madden, owner of Swan 601 Stark Raving Mad VII (USA), is the winner of the Swan American Challenge trophy based on their performance in IRC in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race. This is the second consecutive win of this title for Madden and his fourth race to Bermuda, having competed in each of them since 2008.

ClubSwan recognizes Swan owners competing in the world’s most important offshore regattas with beautifully handcrafted Asprey Swan Challenge trophies.

Nautor’s Swan had an extraordinary fleet competing in the 49th Newport Bermuda Race, with 24 Swans ranging from the Swan 39 to the Swan 601, a clear indication that this biennial ocean race is still one of the most accessible tests of seamanship.

The 2014 Newport Bermuda Race started on June 20th in a light and shifty breeze and will be remembered as one of the slower editions, as the 164 competing crews were challenged by the conditions throughout the 635 nautical miles of the course.

For Madden and his crew on Swan 601 Stark Raving Mad VII, this year’s race was very different from the winning one in 2012, when they finished in less than 60 hours, with speeds of over 20 knots. This year it took them three days 17 hrs 19 minutes and one second to reach the finish line in Bermuda.

'Though a long, frustrating light air race with lots of wind holes and downpours, we could not be more pleased with the result - a first in Class 8 IRC,' commented Madden. 'The crew was exceptional - focused, patient, and there were few, if any, errors. The navigation was very challenging in the first 36 hours of the race, but then we found some nice lanes around the rain clouds,' added Madden.

This is Madden’s second Swan, 'and it’s been everything I’d hoped for and more. She’s fast (for a non-grand prix race boat), she’s graceful, she’s extremely well built, and she’s fun,' says Madden, who was extremely pleased with his boat’s performance in the challenging conditions of this year’s Newport Bermuda Race. While ten teams retired from the race, mostly due to small gear failures, constraints on the crew’s schedule, or lack of progress, Stark Raving Mad VII had no problems: 'The boat could not have performed better. Good in light air and exceptional when the breeze came up. We're pleased to report that not a single piece of equipment broke.'

The crew's morale was kept high by strong camaraderie spirit, tough determination and of course the ever-so important amenities on board: 'The crew especially enjoyed the air conditioning, and our chef was outstanding with hot cooked meals daily!'

Following the Bermuda Race, Madden’s Swan 601 placed second in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club’s Anniversary Regatta, claiming the IRC title of the Onion Patch Series 2014 and is now headed back to Newport, RI, where she’ll be participating in the NYYC Annual Cruise in August and a few other events following - and they’re already entered for the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2015.

Among the other Swans competing in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race, Hiroshi Nakajima’s Swan 43 Classic Hiro Maru placed third in IRC Class 1; Michael K Maholchic’s Swan 44 Stormy Weather was third in IRC and ORR Class 3; Hanns Ostmeier’s Swan 45 High Yield from Germany was first in IRC and ORR Class 7, followed by John A. McNamara’s Swan 45 Lir in second. Devin McGranahan’s Swan 56 King Daddy placed second in ORR Class 7; Hendrikus Henk Wisker’s Swan 55 Haerlem was first in ORR Class 11 Cruiser Division, and Peter B Noonan’s Swan 56 Defiance was third in ORR Class 12 Cruiser Division.

The 2014 Swan Challenge Trophies include the following:

Swan Caribbean Challenge/RORC Caribbean 600
Swan Baltic Challenge
Swan East American Challenge/Newport to Bermuda Race
Swan Mediterranean Challenge/Rolex Middle Sea Race
Swan Transatlantic Challenge