RUS 98 turns up the heat in La Baule..

505435_6adbe48c95df4547b236651d9b1fb689.jpg_srb_p_841_561_75_22_0.50_1.20_0RUS 98 “Zenith” helmed by Igor Goihberg won the second race yesterday in La Baule.

At last the wind coincided with the tide to allow three more races to be sailed in this beautiful bay of La Baule-Escoublac situated on the west coast of France. In race one of the day, former French Champion Luc Pillot helming FRA 386 “Lady Jane” showed good speed off the line as the fleet split right & left. Half of the 52 boat fleet opted to head for the beach hoping to gain a  “lift” from the shore, whilst others held onto their starboard tack keeping in a lane of wind that favoured the left hand side of the course. RUS 27  (AnatoloyLoginov) was one of the boats that gained on the shore side with GBR 633 (Ron James), while FRA 386 came in strong from the left hand side with NED 309 (Guus de Groot). 

However, it was the first downwind leg that opened a gap between this leading bunch and the chasing pack, seeing GBR 633 slip into 2nd place finishing closely behind FRA 386 who won the race. In the end RUS 27 just got the better of NED 309 to take 3rd place.

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NED 309 “Furie” helmed by Guus de Groot had a good first race after leading at the top mark.

In race 2 of the day, a left hand shift came in with more pressure just after the start, so the boats heading right for the shore were left completely frustrated as there was nothing they could do to recover. However, those boats that started at the pin end of the line were in great shape and more or less made it to the windward mark without tacking. This saw RUS 98 helmed by Igor Goihberg helped by his brilliant tactician, Dimtry Berezkin take the lead and never look back as they went on to win the race. In 2nd place also making a good profit from the left hand shift was French legend Marc Bouet helming FRA 412. Marc managed to just keep ahead of the overall leader RUS 27 Anatoloy Loginov who had another excellent race to finish 3rd.

DSC_0969Dimitry Berezkin waiting for his moment to tack and clear the fleet in race 2 yesterday.

Finally, in race 3 of the day, the breeze really settled in and we had a “Full On” race with all three sailors sitting up on the top side and the dragons really picking up speed. The line was well set by PRO Yves Pottier and the windward mark extended to suit the favourable conditions. With the fleet using the full extent of the bay it was 50/50 which side of the beat would pay as the tide was more or less ebbing consistently across the race area. In the end FRA 365 “Ar Youleg” helmed by Christian Guyader rounded the top mark, just ahead of GBR 755 “Danish Blue” Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen and GBR 585 “Full Speed” Martin Payne. These three boats made a jump on the fleet on the downwind leg and with the course shortened on the next upwind (due to the  tidal level required to get back into the harbour), this remained the finishing order..

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Victorious Christen Guyader sails his beautiful wooden Dragon back into the marina.

So the points overall still favour RUS 27 “Annapurna” Anatoly Loginov but today he will need to keep a watchful eye on fellow RUS 98 “Zenith” Igor Goihberg who is just 4pts back and FRA 386 “Lady Jane” Luc Pillot a further 6pts. With a possible two more races today anything could and probably will happen… :-)

Higher, Faster, Longer……….   Stavros.  (GBR 585).

Many thanks once again to these superb photo’s from professional Stephanie Billiarant.

 

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RUS 27 wins again in La Baule….

DSC_8099RUS 27 rounds a leeward “Gate Mark” in race 2 of Derby Dragon, La Baule.

The sun shone brightly as the 52 Dragons made their way out to the starting area assisted by one of the many helpers who skilfully tow out up to 6 boats at a time against the strong “flood” tide in La Baule. Each team wait patiently to be escorted out of the inner harbour Marina which takes away the stress of trying to sail out of such a narrow entrance…..

Once out on the race course a postponement flag was raised and the fleet had to wait, as they had done the previous day, for the sea breeze to fill in around 1pm. By the time the wind was steady enough for a race it was nearly 1.45pm, so the likelihood was for just one race as the return trip back into the harbour had to be completed by 4.00pm.  After one general recall the PRO Yves Pottier, used the Black Flag and got the fleet away at the second attempt.

11249308_10153460343625757_301261571618754144_n          Clear start of race 2 in La Baule yesterday, photo by Stephanie Billarant.

Although the line had a bias at the pin, most of the fleet tried to start at the committee boat knowing how much the right side of the course had paid the previous day. However, the smart money was to start in the middle or towards the pin as these boats could have speed & space off the line, meanwhile the rest of us battled to get going at the congested committee boat end, big mistake….. believe me !

The pin end boats held the advantage shortly after the start and were able to tack onto port and clear the majority of the fleet. RUS 27 was the boat furthest left and top crew Alexander Shalagin told me after the race “After we sailed for about 5 minutes on starboard most boats had tacked away from us, this allowed us to tack freely and sail in clear air. At first it looked 50/50 but as new pressure came in from the sea we lifted above the fleet and rounded the top mark first”.  (Had they tried that the day before it would not have worked), but tactician Vadim Statsenko called it “spot on” yet again and so helm Antoloy Loginov added to his success of the previous day with another 1st place.

In 2nd place was FRA 416 helmed by Tam Nguyen who had a great start from the middle of the line and was able to control the rest of the fleet once RUS 27 had crossed ahead. 3rd place went to FRA 386 helmed by Luc Pillot. However, second place overall is RUS 98 who added a 4th place to his 2nd yesterday, here we see Igor Goihberg and his professional crew……

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A good Spinnaker Drop by RUS 98, making life easy in La Baule.

With a later high tide tomorrow and an more optimistic weather forecast, this 52 boat fleet are looking forward to a possible 3 race day :-).  Remember…

Higher, Faster, Longer……………    Stavros.  :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RUS 27 wins 1st race in La Baule….

20140607_203227 (1) (320x180)52 boats are racing in La Baule this week for the French National Championship.

It was a beautiful day in La Baule, this wonderful seaside town situated 77 km west of Nantes, for the 52 teams taking part in the annual Derby Dragon. This year the event is also the French National Championships, so we have the maximum number of boats that can be safely handled in this idyllic tidal harbour which can only be entered or vacated at above half tide. Unlike Deauville, this harbour has no “Lock Gates” to send out a clear message…  No in La Baule, you just check your watch and know the exact time of high tide, then make your own call depending on the depth of your keel !!!!

This morning all 52 boats left the marina promptly as each team carried a White Rose to commemorate the past President of 24 years Jean-Francois Baley, “FanFan” who sadly passed away earlier this year, a great loss to us all.

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However, as the new President Dominique Molette said “The Show Must Go On” and so it did for the happy 52 boats who got away cleanly on the second start under a black flag. The most happiest was RUS 27 helmed by Anatoly Loginov, crewed by Alexander Shalagin and Vadim Statsenko who started perfectly alongside me at the committee boat. They tacked and headed right, I continued to the left….  The results speak for themselves…..

Basically what happened was, the tide had just started to turn and in a bay like La Baule, the tide will begin to change earlier in the shallow water.. So although high tide was 12.05 today it was already beginning to ebb on the beach. Those boats, including RUS 27, RUS 98 and FRA 417 who went to the right managed to pick up this early favourable ebb tide. Those boats who started at the pin end of the line, or like us, who went left, were still in slack tide… The other advantage for the inshore boats was the wind began to head as you sailed to the shore…  normal tactics, head to the shore, take the header & tack. So the boats furthest right had current & wind to their advantage.. simple!  (So Stavros, why did you go left?) good question….  My only defence is that we were covering the majority of the fleet after a good start…but by the time we tacked back towards the right, the game was up.

Moral of the story, do your homework, learn the venue, tides, winds, shallows etc…  Then stick with a game plan. As winners for the past 2 years you would think we should have known better, but mistakes happen, such is life. Dust yourself off, take a beer or two, smile and get back out onto the race course the next day.. 

My congratulations to Anatoly and his team in RUS 27, also to RUS 98 Igor Goihberg, Dmitry Berezkin and Roman Sadchykov who finished 2nd and FRA 417 “Corto” owned by Hacene Abbar and helmed by Arthur La Vaillant and third crew Bernard Lauvray for taking the final podium position, 3rd.

Full results on the La Baule web site…

Higher, Faster, Longer……………………   Stavros.   (GBR 585).

 

 

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It’s Family First on the Ijsselmeer….

DSC_0331 (640x426)Olivier, Dominic & Jan Bakker winners of the Grand Prix of Enkhuizen. Hold the Silver Model of the “Santa Maria”.. whilst proud Mum Evelyne watches in the background :-).

21 boats raced for a total of 5 days in which 13 races were completed on the famous Ijsselmeer, in Holland. With winds mainly between 12-25 kts over the three weekends it was “Typical Dutch Spring Time Weather” for all the competitive teams. Overall winners in their new acquisition NED 422 “Elephant” were Jan Bakker and his sons Olivier and Dominic.

DSC_0237 (640x426)NED 422 “Elephant” lead around the windward mark, just ahead of NED 311 (varnished).

The “Santa Maria” was of course the largest of three ships used by Christopher Columbus on his first expedition voyage. This 70 year old Silver Model has some stories to tell and will be with the Bakkers until next spring.

 DSC_0308 (640x426)                                           The Silver Model of the Santa Maria.

Runner up overall was NED 311 helmed by Bram de Wilde. Here we see Bram and his crew of Pier de Longh and Rudi Holman with the Red, White and Blue Spinnaker sailing downwind fighting for second place…..

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Third overall was NED 424 helmed by Andre’ Dupon, crewed by Siebe de Boo and Robbert Blauwkuip. Andre’ is the Dutch Petticrows agent based in Aalsmeer and is  consistently at the front end of the fleet….

This spring series of three weekends is getting ever more popular so why not join in the fun next year ?  Details of the series and photo’s from Philip de Koning….. Dutch Secretary. 

Higher, Faster, Longer…………..     Stavros.

 

 

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Bonnie Scotland Calling For The Edinburgh Cup 2015

normal_Largs_MarinaHave you wanted to visit Scotland; touring the scenic highlands and islands, visiting Loch Lomond, spending time in historic Edinburgh with its castle in the centre, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe?

This summer, you can combine this with competing in the Edinburgh Cup June 30 th to July 3rd at Largs, just 1 hour from Glasgow International Airport. Dragons can be left free of charge before or after the event at Largs marina while you visit Scotland.

Racing will take place in senic sheltered water a short sail from the marina. The race area is 8 km square and has mininimal tide.

Find out more at www.edinburghcup.org or by contacting BDA Secretary Tim Wilkes on timwilkes6@gmail.com.

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Double “Top” for the Dubai Team….

20150508_182244 (640x360)Winner’s of the Guyader Grand Prix, Douarnenez.   UAE 20 “Desert Eagle” do the Double!..

Hendrik Witzmann, Markus Koy and Henrique Anjos followed up their Grade 1 event victory in Cascais, with another fantastic win here in Douarnenez…..

This very experienced team sailing one of the new prototype PCT Dragons from Dubai, put together another excellent series to beat their “training partner” and fellow Dubai based Professional, Markus Wieser by 9 pts…

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Runners Up UAE 7 Markus Wieser and Georgii Leonchuk, with Christan Guyader & Jean Gabriel de Cleach.

In 3rd place overall was DEN 138 Lars Hendriksen helming his Pedersen & Thuesen “Eva” crewed by Bo Selko and Anders Ekstrom. Lars and his team actually finished level on points with Marcus, but lost out on count back !!

Top CORINTHIAN was NED 309 “Furie” Guus de Groot, Richard Van Rij & Hay Winters.. this team sailed consistently well and also won the “elegant” prize for their beautiful wooden, cold moulded dragon.

One very happy team were the “local” Bideau Family! As father Rene and his two sons Stevenn and Mathieu WON the prize “Lottery” draw, a new Petticrows Dragon…….   Yes the number 8 came up in the final spin of the wheel that saw this much liked Corinthian team jump for joy and celebrate well into the night when their lucky number came up  !

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Here we see Rene Bideau with his two sons Stevenn and Mathieu with an on board “selfi” :-)

Rene told me “We will call the boat ‘After 8′, as eight was our last lucky number, after getting into the final round of the draw. ”

Full report of the last 2 races and more will follow when I return home……….

Higher, Faster, Longer….                                     Stavros. (GBR 585).

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3 Races in DZ and 3 Winners…..

RP_150507_GPGuyader_2680 (640x426)GBR 764 “Naiad” Winners of race 1 yesterday Mike & Monique Hayles, with Geoff Butcher..

Eventually Douarnenez got up and running  with 3 back to back races yesterday in this years Guyader Grand Prix. With the wind dropping and turning to the south east, the PRO Jean Gabriel de Leach set three courses in quick succession for the 58 boat fleet to enjoy and finally get some serious time on the water.

The first race of the day was race 2 of the series. GBR 764 Mike Hayles and his team had a great battle out in front with FRA 365 Christian Guyader, as both boats pulled away from the fleet after catching a nice shift on the right hand side of the first beat. The two boats extended their lead on the first downwind leg as they sailed away in more pressure and never looked back!

For the second race of the day, race 3 of the series, was the turn for GER 1162 “Desert Holly”, helmed by Stephan Link and crewed by Frank Butzmann & Michael Lipp, to secure victory.  Such was the “snakes and ladders” board of the race course  yesterday this experienced team, sailing their brand new PCT boat built in Dubai, had a terrible first race of the day but then bounced back to win this second race by a mile! They were always in control after playing the right hand side of the first beat and made huge gains on the downwind legs, each time sailing further away from the rest of the fleet.  

RP_150507_GPGuyader_2831 (640x426)Stephan Link & his team in the new PCT Dragon “Desert Holly” GER 1162 lead race 3.

Then in race 3 of the day, race 4 overall, there was a huge shift one minute before the start, which meant it was impossible to cross the line on starboard! However, the race was not postponed, so the whole fleet tacked onto port and it was a test of speed up to the windward mark. Lars Hendriksen in DEN 138 held the lead with UAE 7 Markus Wieser and RUS 31 in hot pursuit…

After a course change at the bottom gate, it was Markus Wieser in his new PCT Dragon who just took the victory from Lars Hendriksen right on the line.

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Markus Wieser, Georgii Leonchuck and Serguy Pugachev in UAE 7 win race 4.

Top Corinthian Team and 2nd overall sailing brilliantly is “Furie” NED 309 Guus de Groot and his team of Richard Van Rij and Hay Winters. This excellent team have put together some very consistent results and are still very much in the hunt with two more races scheduled today…

Higher, Faster, Longer……………    Stavros.   (GBR 585).

 

 

 

 

 

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Too Much Wind in Douarnenez…..

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Christen Guyader, the main sponsor of the Grand Prix, trains with a “Jib” in 30kts of wind..

With no racing in Douarnenez for the last 2 days due to excess wind, the 58 boat fleet have been kept safely ashore by the PRO Jean Gabriel Le Cleach. However, one or two Dragons have ventured out into the wild and windy conditions for a little extreme practice……

One such team, led by owner and helmsman Christian Guyader who purchased Louis Urvois’s beautiful cold moulded Dragon, crewed by Grand Prix organiser Gwen Chapalain, did so today using a jib instead of the usual genoa.  From both the pictures above and below its apparent, even with just the jib, conditions were beyond racing conditions. 

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Here we see Christen and his team power over the waves with the jib tightly sheeted…

Photo’s were taken by Francois Van Mulleghem…..

Tomorrow there are 3 races planned, with a 10.30am start. The forecast is good so fingers crossed for a successful day…  For sure there will be one very happy team leaving Douarnenez at the end of week as proud owners of a brand new Petticrows Dragon, having won first prize at the Lottery Gala Dinner on Thursday night …   

Watch this space for the latest news…

Higher, Faster, Longer…………….    Stavros.  (GBR 585).

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“Desert Eagle” UAE 20 wins 1st Race in Douarnenez….

11210268Hendrik Witzmann, Markus Coy & Henrique Anjos lead the first race from start to finish..

It was a very wet and gloomy day to begin the Guyader Grand Prix in Douarnenez yesterday, but the 58 boat fleet all survived the dismal conditions to start this highly competitive series. The first start was recalled then, with the Black Flag introduced for the second start, the PRO Jean Gabriel Le Cleach called the line “all clear” ….. and the 58 boats got away cleanly.

The wind was very light from a direction of around 145 degrees and the pin end of the line was slightly biased which allowed those boats who made a good start the option of tacking or continuing further to the left. One of the boats who trusted their “transit” to make an excellent start was GBR 780 “Louise” helmed by Grant Gordon, crewed by Kasper Harsberg and Ruairidh Scott. Kasper told me “We had good speed and were confident with our transit which enabled us to get clear air and continue for a third of the beat on starboard. When we tacked onto port we held our lane all the way to the starboard lay line, to round the top mark 5th.”

11216340_942360559137207_1533542117_n (640x426)Kasper Harsberg, Ruairidh Scott & Grant Gordon GBR 780, sailed well to finish 3rd.

Also having an excellent race was GBR 761 “Jerboa” helmed by Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, crewed by Mark Hart and Paul Fletcher. This experienced team challenged the leaders throughout the race and chose to take the opposite “gate mark” each time to keep the UAE 20 team on their toes right to the finish.  Gavia told me “After our good start we mainly played the right on the first beat and then the left on the second beat. The top 5 boats had a super race with many place changes. At the end we thought we may even pass UAE 20 but they took the small bias on the finish line to win the race”. What did she think of the course? Gavia said she thought it was a very fair race course with even sides to the beats. “We had a nervous time on the second run as the wind filled in from behind. This allowed NED 309 Gus de Groot to make a gain by sailing lower with more pressure”.  Having kept their cool, Jerboa secured a well deserved 2nd. 

RP_150504_GPGuyader_2019 (1) (640x426)Team “Jerboa” GBR 761, Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, Mark Hart & Paul Fletcher finished 2nd.

Top Corinthian Team was NED 309 “Furie” Guus de Groot, crewed by Richard Van Rij & Hay Winters. With an excellent final downwind leg, Guus and his team secured 4th place despite not being able to keep his “Cigar” lit throughout the 2 hour race…. :-)

11216287_942360232470573_119275802_n (640x428)UAE 20 “Desert Eagle” leads the fleet downwind and takes 1st place in the opening race.

So 57 boats managed to finish the first race with just one boat GBR 801 “The Wealdstone Raider” helmed by former World Champion Lawrie Smith who had to make a mad dash back into the harbour to make use of the “rest room” facilities !  Maybe it was not such a good idea to have celebrated his crew Joost Houweling’s birthday with Tim Tavinor the night before quite so vigorously with copious helpings of the seafood platters……ah well some people never learn!    :-)

Higher, Faster, Longer…………..         Stavros.  (GBR 585).

Thanks once again to Top Professional Ricardo Pinto, for these fabulous photo’s…

 

 

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Come WIN a Dragon in Douarnenez…..

grand-prix-guyaderWith over 60 Dragons now registered  for the 3rd European Grade 1 event of 2015 the “new format” Guyader Grand Prix, in Douarnenez will be a fantastic regatta. The “who’s who” of Dragon Racing fill this star studded line up and each team will have one eye looking just a little further ahead to the World Championships in June. Yes fellow sailors, who ever wins this event must be favourite to lift the World Crown in just over a months time in La Rochelle..

Also every team will have a chance to win a brand new Petticrows Dragon on the Thursday evening at the Guyader Dinner….. !   Yes, this fantastic Lottery Prize is up for grabs and one lucky winner will wake up on Friday morning (most probably with a hangover) wondering how the hell will they get 2 dragons back home :-)

Joining the Dragons in this wonderful Brittany Town that is the home of the great Louis Urvois who started this extravaganza 16 years ago, are Paddle Boards, Kite & Moth’s on Foils, Kayaks, J 80’s, Class 40’s, Multihull 50’s & Open 60’s…  plus many more colourful designs of all shapes & sizes…  Yes this will be a spectacular sailing event in a most picturesque part of France.

Are you coming to join in the fun………..??

Higher, Faster, Longer………………….     Stavros.   (GBR 585).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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