Drama Aplenty On Day 3 Of The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Edinburgh Cup 2015

IMG_7776_2After two days of light airs trials and tribulations, the third race of the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Edinburgh Cup was finally completed in Largs on the penultimate day of the regatta.  A lack of breeze continued to dog the event meaning only one race was possible, but that one race has ensured that the championship is now valid and a Dragon Open British Champion will be declared.

The day kicked off with a light but fairly steady south-south-westerly and after just a short postponement to tweak the course the fleet was ready to go for the long awaited race three. At the first attempt their eagerness results in a general recall, but the boats were quickly turned around and got away cleanly at the second time of asking, with the aid of the black flag.

So far…. so good. That was until the security flotilla surrounding a nuclear submarine outbound from Faslane hove into view and instructed the race committee to abandon the race and the boats to clear the area. To add insult to injury the wind began to die and it then took until late afternoon before enough wind returned to allow a re-start.
Once underway the fleet finally got to enjoy a full race in a 9-10 knot southerly. Martin Payne sailing GBR789 Bear made the best of the first beat by going right and even managed to cope with a minor drama when the weather mark went adrift just as the fleet approached and a mark boat had to recover and stand in for it.  He extended his lead on the next five legs, but allowed the fleet to creep back up on him when he chose to go left on the final beat. Julia Bailey, sailing GBR720 Aimee went the other way to pull up from third to second, although she was unable to break through Bear’s cover  Tom Vernon sailing GBR795 Excite followed Aimee across the line with Mike Budd in GBR793 Harry fourth and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox in GBR720 Jerboa fifth.

IMG_7769As the Dragons finished the wind died in that area so, keen to get another race in if at all possible, the committee upped sticks and took the boats in to the channel between Largs and Great Cumbrae where a building 10-15 knot southerly was blowing.  The committee attempted to set up for the fourth race but it was not to be and they sent the fleet home after another very long day on the water.

As the boats came ashore it was in the expectation that Aimee now led the regatta by three points from Jerboa with Bear one point behind in third and Bocci Aoyama sailing JAP50 Yevis II fourth. But the day’s drama was far from over and back ashore Cathy Sedgeworth’s GBR509 Kismet lodged a port/starboard protest against Jerboa which Kismet won. As a result Aimee continues to lead the regatta on 7 points with Bear now second on 11 points, Yeavis II third on 17 points, Patrick Gifford’s GBR515 Basilisk fourth overall and leading Corinthian on 22, Excite fifth and Jerboa now sixth.

IMG_7765_2The start time for tomorrow’s final day of racing has been brought forward to 10.00 and the committee will attempt to sail the remaining three races before the 15.00 final start cut off.  Once a fourth race has been sailed the single discard will come into play, something both Jerboa and Excite, who was OCS in race two, will be particularly looking forward to. With so much racing still to come Aimee’s four point lead is far from unassailable so tomorrow’s finale promises to be a thrilling one.


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No Wind And No Racing On Day Two Of The Edinburgh Cup In Largs

image005Day two of the 2015 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Edinburgh Cup in Largs proved to be a long drawn out and extremely frustrating affair as the wind gods played cat and mouse with the fleet.  After yesterday’s strong winds the opposite was delivered today.  Early morning brought sunny skies, unusually warm temperatures for the region and a forecast for good sea breezes in the low to mid teens. The fleet went afloat on time and with every hope of rapidly completing the two planned races, races three and four of the six race series.

At the published start time of 11.00 northerly and south easterly winds were vying for supremacy over the race area and the race committee announced the first of the day’s postponements. Initially the wind looked as if it was going to favour the south east as forecast, but then it flipped back to the north and began to build.  With what appeared to be a reasonably solid 7-9 knots from the same direction at both ends of the course Race Officer Chris Hadden and his team got the fleet underway smartly.  All looked very good until about a third of the way up the first beat when the wind turned itself inside out and the race had to be abandoned, much to the frustration of Gavia Wilkinson-Cox in GBR761 Jerboa who was leading at the time.

The AP was rehoisted and the boats slowly drifted back towards the committee boat. By this time the sky was decidedly overcast and hopes for a true sea breeze were fading, so when the wind showed signs of stabilising from the north again the race committee immediately leapt to take advantage of it. Once again a course was set up and once again the fleet got underway. And once again they got a third of the way up the beat only to have the wind gods turn the fan off again.  This time it was Martin Payne sailing GBR789 Bear who was leading when they had the rugged pulled out from under them.

image004There was a further period of postponement, but with conditions showing no sign of improvement and the afternoon wearing on the decision was made to send the fleet home for a much needed cold drink on the Largs Sailing Club balcony. Whilst very disappointed not to sail it was clear that the competitors were in full agreement with the race committee’s decisions.  “He did everything he could and the mark layers must be exhausted, but the conditions just never gave him a chance.” said Martin Payne after racing. BDA Chairman Ron James, helming GBR633 Fei-Lin’s Flirtation, wryly concurred, “He didn’t miss an opportunity to try to start a race. There were only two and he went for it on both of them!”

The Piping Of The Haggis

The Piping Of The Haggis

As some compensation for today’s missed races the competitors are this evening enjoying a wonderful Scottish Supper featuring delicious local fayre and music. The festivities opened with the Piping of the Haggis and entertainment is being provided by local folk band Heritage Soundz.

One question that has cropped up a number of times this week is why the “Edinburgh” Cup, is being raced for just outside Glasgow. To clear up any confusion we should explain that the Edinburgh Cup is so named because it was presented to the class by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, and not because of any geographic connection with the City of Edinburgh. The Duke presented the trophy to the class, which is awarded annually to the winner of the Dragon British Open Championship, after he had been given a Dragon in 1948 by the members of the Island Sailing Club. This was also incidentally the first year in which the Dragon was an Olympic Class. The Duke was a keen sailor and his Dragon Bluebottle was to play a part in the Edinburgh Cup competition under various sailing masters, finishing second in 1954 with Lt. Commander Hewitt, second again with Graham Mann in 1956 (also the year in which Mann won an Olympic Bronze Medal in the Dragon) and third with Ross Coles in 1960. The Edinburgh Cup is rightly regarded as one of the most prestigious trophies is British yachting and a glance at the winners plaques reveals the names of many illustrious sailors.

Naturally the overall standings remain unchanged tonight with Julia Bailey, sailing GBR720 Aimee, and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, sailing GBR761 Jerboa, on equal points at the head of the leader board with Aimee ahead on count back. Bocci Aoyama’s JAP50 Yeavis is three points behind in third, Martin Payne in GBR789 Bear a further two points back in fourth and Patrick Gifford sailing GBR515 Basilisk one more point adrift in fifth overall and leading the Corinthian (all amateur) competition.

With up to six races remaining to be sailed before the regatta concludes on Friday, the Race Committee has published an amendment to the schedule to allow for up to three championship races to be sailed on Thursday and two races to be sailed on Friday. If all the championship races have been completed the second race on Friday will be the traditional Edinburgh Cup Crews Race. Tomorrow’s forecast is similar to that for today and so everyone has fingers crossed that this time one of the wind directions will prevail and give some decent racing.

You can follow the action at the event via the British Dragon Association Blog and the British Dragons at Facebook.


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It’s Ladies First in Largs…..

dcda3dbb-ece6-44c7-902d-c94b4ad8e32bGBR 720 “Aimee” helmed by Julia Bailey wins the opening race of the Edinburgh Cup.

Mixed conditions of zero wind then “full on” 27+kts of wind tested the 20 boat fleet in Largs, Scotland yesterday at the 2015 Edinburgh Cup. It was a day of sailing that all the crews will remember for a variety of reasons as they crawl out of their beds this morning aching from head to toe, bruised, battered but very happy to be been part of this exciting competition.

 The first race was won by Julia Bailey helming “Aimee” with her 4 person team of Pedro Andrade, Will Heritage and Keith Tipple. This top team did an excellent job of keeping good speed and making no mistakes in these difficult conditions. 2nd was GBR 795 helmed by Tom Vernon who is fresh back from his race win in La Rochelle. 3rd was GBR 761 helmed by Gavia Wilkinson-Cox who also did a good job to keep the boat below the mast :-) and finish well in these extremely testing conditions.

The seconded race of the day was started in completely different conditions, with the left side of the course favoured (or so we all thought), many boats battled to win the pin. This caused a little bit of chaos as some boats had to round the pin boat and re start, which meant dipping the whole fleet. Fortunately this actually turned out to be not a bad thing, as GBR 793 and GBR 761 were soon to make a substantial gain out to the right. However, it was our good friend Bocci Aoyama from Enoshima, Japan helming his beautiful Petticrows “Jevis II” who stole the show !  Seeing the huge gains the first boats on the right had made, tactician Kasper Harsberg took Bocci all the way out to the right and had a lead of 400m by the top mark…  :-)

20150630_172521 (640x360)Winners of race two, 2015 Edinburgh Cup, Kasper Harsberg, Bocci Aoyama & Igen Notion.

As the wind continued to drop the last beat saw GBR 761 “Jerboa” just slip past GBR 793 “Harry”, helmed by Mike Budd from Abersoch, to take 2nd place right behind JAP 50, with Mike having to settle for a solid 3rd.

This was the first competitive race Bocci has won outside of Japan in his 30 years of Dragon Sailing, a fantastic achievement and very well deserved. It is races like this and seeing the smiling faces on this happy team that brings home the reason we all love sailing the Dragon. The boats are so evenly matched but it takes time to learn the skills and techniques to achieve success. However, if Bocci lives to be 100 years old I bet he will never forget the day he won the 2nd race of the 2015 Edinburgh Cup ! … Congratulations again to his excellent team.

So overall its Ladies First as Julia and Gavia are equal on 5pts and Bocci is 3rd with 8pts.  With 4 more races to go there is still lots of sailing to do, so lets see what Scotland can offer us today ……..

Higher, Faster, Longer…………    Stavros.   (Bear GBR 789).



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GOLD CUP, in Kuhlungsborn, Germany.. (reminder).

G4253The original    GOLD CUP     on it’s new and recent mounting, a spectacular trophy…

Quoting from the original 1937 rules the intention of the Gold Cup  was to “bring together as many competitors of different Nationalities as possible in a friendly spirit”.  It was donated to the Dragon Class by the Clyde Yacht Clubs and has been supported most years by between 80 to 100 boats.


The magnificent “EBB TIDE” our Committee Boat for the Gold Cup in Kuhlungsborn.

This is simply a reminder to you all that entries are now being accepted for this prestigious event that takes place immediately after the German Grand Prix in Kuhlungsborn, late August.  The organisers have kindly requested Dragon Sailors to complete the registration form so that numbers can be co-ordinated…

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Some of the Organising Teams and helpers at last years successful Grand Prix.

The Gold Cup is the one opportunity for all sailors both Professional & Corinthian to come together without “qualification” and test their skills over 6 races with no discard, to see who will lift this wonderful historical trophy..

As I had the pleasure of being in Kuhlungsborn last year I can confirm it is a great place to visit, sail and relax.  With well maintained golden beaches, a super town and sea front and a fantastic sailing area, it should be a “must do” regatta on your 2015 calendar. So please take the time to send in your entry if you intend to compete…


The Marina and Beaches of Kuhlungsborn… This photo speaks for itself, will you be there?


Higher, Faster, Longer…………   Stavros.


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It’s the “Phantom” of Dublin Bay….

20150621_151137 (640x360)Irish National Champions, IRL 176 “Phantom” David Williams, Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring

Neil Hegarty helmed “Phantom” to victory yesterday and won the Irish National Championship, with David Williams & Peter Bowring for the impressive 5th time. This brilliant Irish Team finished the championship in style after 4 days of wonderful racing in Dublin Bay, hosted by the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire.

The final day began with an 11am start in a stiff westerly breeze of 15 gusting 22 kts and the beginning of a strong flood tide. The excellent PRO Con Murphy set an intelligent line, with a slight starboard bias knowing that the fleet would all want to go left towards the port of Dun Laoghaire so as to catch the maximum tidal advantage. Whilst the “Phantom” team started well towards the pin end, the 3 boats who were still able to win a podium place, “Chimera” (Andrew Craig), “Little Fella” (Cameron Goode) and “Bear” (Martin Payne), all started nearer to the committee boat trying to take control of the fleet. However, as soon as “Phantom” reached the main advantageous current they were launched, leaving the rest to fight for 2nd place….

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Tight racing in Dublin Bay after rounding the right-hand gate mark in final race.

The “Bear” rounded the top mark in 6th position but just ahead of “Chimera” and “Little Fella” and so the race was on to settle the runner’s up spot and 3rd overall. On the first downwind leg the wind increased to 20 kts and made the first leeward gate interesting, most boats opted for the right-hand mark so as to head left again for the current. A few teams took the left mark to keep clear air, but were soon to realise the left side of the course was favoured.

In the end after some exciting “tactical” covering and positioning it was the “Bear” helmed by Martin Payne, crewed by John Mortimer & Matt Walker who finished in 2nd place and were runner’s up overall. “Chimera” with Andrew Craig, Brian Matthews and Mark Pettit stayed ahead of “Little Fella” to take the final podium position…

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Runner’s Up, “BEAR” a very happy Matt Walker, Martin Payne and John Mortimer.

The port of Dun Laoghaire has three magnificent Yacht Clubs and a superb inner harbour who’s high walls protect an area which offers the most perfect sailing for young sailors to hone their skills. It was a sheer joy to see so many sailing schools & clubs providing a host of activities on this wonderful venue. Ireland is a fantastic country to visit with excellent facilities and sailing opportunities. There are very competitive Dragon Fleets in Kinsale, Glandore and Dublin so why not consider a visit and experience the friendly atmosphere of the Irish way of life, you will never regret it…….



3rd overall, “Chimera” Brian Matthews, Mark Pettit & helm Andrew Craig (former IDA Treasurer).

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






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Beautiful Day 3 in Dublin Bay…

IMG_3972 (640x480)IRL 176 “Phantom” leads the fleet home in the second race yesterday, under a fantastic sky..

It was a full on day in Ireland with 2 more races for this competitive fleet at the Irish National Championships.. With an ever increasing oscillating wind, again from the west, neither race was over till it was over…

The PRO Con Murphy has controlled the starts well and set some challenging courses with quick mark laying and square lines. Although the tide plays a significant part in the up wind strategy it has really been the major wind shifts that make the difference. If you happen to be near to a lay-line when the shift comes, happy days, if not you sail a “banana” around the fleet…  :-(

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“Bear” GBR 789 (Red White & Blue Spinnaker) won the first race of the day, yesterday.

Race one of the day was won by “Bear” helmed Martin Payne and his crew John Mortimer and Matt Walker. They did a good job to hold off Martin Byrne (Former National Champion) in “Jaguar” on the final beat. In the second race of the day, it was “Phantom” (top picture) who sailed the final beat to perfection to seal the Championship for a 5th time without needing to race today. So skipper Neil Heggarty, crew David Williams and Peter Bowering can relax in todays final race, whilst “Chimera” & “Little Fella” go to catch a “Bear” :-)

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

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Day 2 in Dublin Bay…

Another two races on day 2 of the Irish National Championship in Dublin Bay saw two more different winners in this very competitive fleet. With the wind again from predominately the west, oscillations would measure up to 25 degrees in some shifts which kept everyone at full alert.  No time for “corner bashing”, no time to relax, just full on tacking and gybing on the substantial wind changes..

In race one of the day (race 3 of the series), the three leading boats after the first lap were passed on the final beat by eventual winner “Phantom” helmed by Neil Heggarty, crewed by Peter Bowering and David Williams. This very experienced local team who have won this title on numerous occasions always managed to keep in pressure and just stole the win from “Basilisk” on the finishing line. “Basilisk” is a Borresen Dragon from the late 80’s and still extremely competitive, sailed by owner Patrick Gifford and Tim but helmed by Patrick’s daughter Frances who normally races Merlin Rocket’s.

In race 2 of the day (race 4 of series), it was “Dublin Bay” helmed by Max Treacy, crewed by Anthony Shanks and Stephen Ackland, that seized the initiative shortly after the start by making the most of a right hand shift, whilst the majority of the fleet battled for pin end success. After making a sizeable jump on the fleet these young men in IRL 198 covered the fleet well to take the victory from “Little Fella” helmed by Cameron Goode, crewed by Simon Furney and Henry Kingston.

With 4 races of the 7 now completed it is very close at the top. 

Phantom leads on 7pts, Little Fella 8pts, Chimera 9pts and the Bear 11pts.

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


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Irish Nationals in Dublin Bay……

20150618_112231 (360x640)This Magnificent Irish National Championship Trophy will be won by the best team competing in Dublin Bay this week at the Irish Nationals, hosted by the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.. The trophy was restored 5 years ago by Tommy Muller (Germany) after suffering a few dents and bruises from typical Irish Celebrations of previous winners! (The cup that is not Tommy)..  :-)

Yesterday in a north easterly 10 to 14 kt  oscillating wind, two races were completed with 18 teams from the UK and Ireland fighting hard to gain every edge possible. In race 1 the team in “Bear” Martin Payne, John Mortimer & Matt Walker took an early advantage and held on throughout the shifting conditions to finish ahead of “Phantom” helmed by Neil Heggarty, crewed by Peter Bowering and David Williams.

In race 2 a slightly longer race in an ever changing wind meant choosing a side of each beat could win or lose the race. Indeed it was “Little Fella” the team from Kinsale, Cameron Goode, Simon Furney and Henry Kingston who made a huge jump on the 2nd upwind from the right to hold a comfortable lead by the final stages. However, “Little Fella” could not cover both sides of the bay and “Zu” helmed by our IDA Secretary Tim Pearson, crewed by Coner Grimley and Charlie Bolger took the left side which proved to be the winning side! Many congratulations to Tim and his team….

Today will see two more races and everything to play for….

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


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New World Champions, UAE 8 “Bunker Boys”….


20150612_175506 (640x360)Yvegen Braslavets wins in La Rochelle with Alexander Mirchuck & Sergiy Timokhov

The final day in La Rochelle began with an short delay to allow the wind to settle after an overnight front had seen rain move up from Bordeaux. This more or less prevented any chance of two races, so when the fleet eventually left the marina we all knew it would be just one final race….

With an overnight lead of 10pts UAE 8 only had to keep a couple of boats in their sights to guarantee victory….  indeed that is exactly what they did.

The race started with a westerly breeze of around 10kts, boats that chose the right side of the course made out better than the left. However, go too far right and it was possible to over-stand the first mark and that is exactly what a large group of competitors did !!  The three boats that sailed the first beat perfectly were UAE 7 Markus Wieser, RUS 27 Anatoly Loginov and GER 1123 Michael Zankel.  Although there were a few place changes throughout the race, this was the finishing order of the top three boats…

20150612_175030 (640x360)Silver Medals for Dmitry Samokhin, Andrey Kirilyuk and Aleksey Bushuev in RUS76.

Meanwhile UAE 8 made their way up through the fleet to finish 10th, RUS 76 had a fine race to make it to 8th place and take the Silver Medal spot, but GER 11 dropped back to 22nd and thus out of the top three overall. However, Markus Wieser’s excellent final race win, rewarded his team with the final podium position and the Bronze Medal at this fantastic Championship… 

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Bronze Medal Winners, Markus Wieser, Sergey Pugachev and Georgii Leonchuk. UAE 7.

Winners of the Corinthian Fleet & the Master’s Trophy (new), was the fantastic team from Australia sailing AUS 225 “Dragonfly”, helmed by William Packer and crewed by Julian Harding and Denis Cullity. These guy’s had an amazing regatta, finishing 7th overall and extremely happy.. Many congratulations my friends for this unique and brilliant “Double”.  :-).

20150612_174418 (640x360)20150612_174230 (640x360)The “Dragonfly” team from AUS 225, William Packer, Julian Harding & Denis Cullity.

This was a most wonderful World Championships and the SRR led by Claire Fountaine did an excellent job, supported by our fantastic International Race Officer, Philippe Faure. The courses were well laid with fair and skilfully set starting lines, whilst the On-the-Water management was second to none.

Many congratulations to all concerned.  La Rochelle is a stunning place to sail and visit, it has everything going for it…  First Class Yachting of the highest order…..

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



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UAE 8 Now Lead in La Rochelle…

dragon Wolrd Championship 2015GBR 795 “Excite” wins the 5th race of the Dragon Worlds in La Rochelle..

Tom Vernon, Adam Bowers and Oliver Spensley-Corfield sailed a most perfect race yesterday, on Day 4, of the Dragon World Championships to win the 5th race in La Rochelle. It was a race started in 16 to 20 kts of wind, but gradually dropped away to just 10 kts towards the end. The port side of the course proved to be the winning move as all the leaders at the first windward mark came from the pin end of the line. Following GBR 795 across the finish line in 2nd place was UAE 20 Hendrik Witzmann in “Desert Eagle”.

Desert Eagle, 2nd in race 5 & race 6 of the Dragon World Championships in La Rochelle.

In 3rd place was GER 11 “BBXXL” helmed by Vincent Hoesch, crewed by Marc Pickel and Markus Steinlein, This ever consistent team have now moved up to second place overall and are strong contenders for the World Title of 2015.

In the second race of the day (Race 6) everything changed on the start line as the favoured side of the course for the first beat proved to be the right ! Indeed it was fellow British boat GBR 801 “Alfie” helmed by Lawrie Smith, crewed by Tim Tavinor and Joost Houweling who took the lead at the first mark and maintained their advantage right up until the last half of the final beat. With the wind really shifting and two top boats to cover, Lawrie was just passed in the end by UAE 20 who took 2nd and UAE 8 “Bunker Boys” Yevgen Braslavets, who not only won the race but now lead overall…

dUAE 8 “Bunker Boys”  Yvegen Braslavets, Aleksander Mirchuk & Sergiy Timokhov lead overall.

So UAE 8 have 16pts, GER 11 are on 26pts and RUS 76 just a few behind on 37pts..  You would think the overall winner will now come from one of these three boats, but believe me anything can and probably will happen..  Yes fellow sailors, with two more 3 hour races still to go in an 80 boat fleet, huge changes can be made…


RUS 76 “Strange Little Girl” hold on to 3rd overall and Dmitry, Alexsey and Andrey still have a great chance to win.

Leaders of the Masters are still the team from Australia AUS 225 “Dragonfly” helmed by William Packer, crewed by Julian Harding and Denis Cullity. These guy’s are having a fantastic Worlds as they sit in 5th place overall and deservedly so..

However, even at 5th overall it does not secure them as the Top Corinthian Boat !!  How can that be ? I hear you say …  well it’s all down to the scoring system, but basically each race a Corinthians score is taken as where they finished once all the professional teams are removed… so if for example Dragonfly was to win a race, the next Corinthian boat would score 2pts, even if it finished 20 boats back….  Get the picture ?  Yep, thought so, clear as mud :-)

In any case, if you look at the Corinthian Results you will see that SWE 358 “Sweet Alice” helmed by Hans Liljeblad, crewed by Johan Hedberg and John Magnusson are tied with AUS 225 on 9pts. Then GBR 610 “Rackham” has moved up to 3rd overall after a splendid day yesterday, well done to all..

Higher, Faster, Longer…………    2 days to go…..     Stavros.  (GBR 585).






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