“Dragons” 2K in Venice, Final Day.

IMG_20151004_134700 (640x480)Winners of the 2K in Venice, Kasper Harsberg, Grant Gordon (Helm) & Ruairidh Scott.

After three fantastic days of 2 Boat Team Racing in Venice the overall winners were the Team of Grant Gordon, Kasper Harsberg and Ruairidh Scott who finished with 7 wins from 9 races…  An excellent display of tactical awareness, boat speed and a great understanding of working as a “Team” with a variety of partners.

12096392_906483692769242_525399403696322519_n (2)Close racing in Venice as Teams battle 2 verses 2 to try not to be the “last” boat to finish !

The runners up overall were Javier Scherk, Javier Aguado & Gustavo Lima, who held the lead after 2 days, with 4 wins from 5 races, a very impressive display of “Team Racing”. However, by losing one match on the final day their “percentage” score dropped slightly, so this very happy team had to settle for 2nd place.

IMG_20151004_141913 (640x480)Javier Aguado, Javier Scherk (Helm) and “Olympian” Gustavo Lima runners up overall.

The event was organised by Alberto Sonino who represented both the Vento di Venezia and Compagnia della Vela Yacht Clubs, assisted by many helpers and volunteer’s for which all the competitors were extremely grateful. Principle Sponsors included, the Metropole Hotel, Glenfiddich and Giuseppe Duca.

12119163_906483686102576_4422886092216114477_n (2)Close mark rounding’s were the order of the day as Teams try to help their partners keep ahead.

In 3rd place overall out of the 12 competing boats were “Team Stavros” with Graham Bailey at the helm, Julia Bailey and Martin Payne. This team finished the event with 5 wins from 8 races despite being the most penalised team due to some over aggressive sailing on day one :-)

12144676_906483682769243_4621204293136598235_nThe “Yankee” Flag is waved by Julia Bailey after slight contact was made during a “Hook” !

IMG_20151004_134550 (640x480)3rd Overall Graham Bailey (Helm), Julia Bailey and Martin Payne..  “Team Stavros“.

However, the main priority at this inaugural event was “Having Fun” as the Dragons were extremely well receieved in Venice blending in nicely with the magnificent surroundings and wonderful backdrop of the most historical buildings…. There is no doubt the “Dragons” will return in 2016 as overall co-ordinator Klaus Diederichs is already drawing up plans with Bruce Hebbert the number one expert in 2K “Team Racing”. Bruce was also the first person to start “On-the-Water” Judging back in Sevenoaks in 1994. Each morning he gave the 12 competing teams a great insight into the requirements and skills of 2 Boat Team Racing, which certainly improved all the sailors knowledge and encouraged every team to make sure they are included in next years event to do battle once again in Venice….  :-)


Higher, Faster, Longer….     (with your Team Mate)   Stavros.


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Dragons Day 2 in Venice, by Stavros.

Dragons Day 2 in Venice…

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Dragons having “Fun” in Venice…..

_MAT0350 (640x426)One of the 2 “Fleet Races” yesterday in Venice enjoyed by all 36 International Sailors.

Friday 2nd Oct and the beginning of the 2015 Metropole-Glenfiddich Dragon Team Racing event organised by the Vento di Venezia and the Compagnia della Vela Clubs with 12 invited International Teams.

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The event started with 2 “Fleet Races” around a short 1.5 mile course in the heart of Venice.

Although the “Fleet Races” will not count in the overall Competition, it was great to start this “New” and “Exciting” event off with a bang & let this amazing Italian City know the Dragons had arrived in style :-)  The winners of the first Fleet Race was Dmitry Samohkin, Alexsey Bushuev and Andrey Kirilyuk and the 2nd Fleet Race was Grant Gordon, Kasper Harsberg and Ruairidh Scott.

Venice is a City situated in north-eastern Italy sited on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is well know for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artwork. It is entirely listed as a “World Heritage Site” along with it’s Lagoon which is where the Dragons have been granted permission to race over the next few days.

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Javier Scherk and Gustavo Lima approach the start line for the “Yellow Team”

When the 2K “Team Racing” began, the 12 Individual Teams take it in turn to “Pair Up”.. 2 Boats make up a “Team” and when the 4 boats race over a short upwind and downwind course, the last boat to cross the finish line defines the loosing “Team” and will score Nil Points…  Whilst the “Pair” who manage to not be last will score 1 point each…  Simple..  :-)

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Dmitry Samohkin, Alexsey Bushuev and Andrey Kirilyuk fight hard to win for the Blue Team.

After three days all 12 Teams will have raced not only with each other but against each other after completing a total of 42 races !!  With each Dragon Team having 11 chances to score a point, it will be unlikely that any one team will keep a 100% record…  Indeed after 9 races it is Graham & Julia Bailey who lead the event on 3 wins out of 4, along with Marcus Blackmoor who also has a 75% win ratio…  Here below are the full scores after Day 1.

12 schedule 5 boats (2)

This Detailed Table shows the Races Sailed and Points gained so far….

Between races competitors wait aboard one of 2 “Mother Ships” and view the racing from close hand as the teams go head to head….


Some of the competitors watch the racing from one of the “Mother Ships” in Venice….

So stay tuned for some more photos and results from this fantastic event……


Higher, Faster, Longer…….      Stavros. (with the Baileys).



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Michael Schmidt Wins the Regates Royal….

IMG_20150925_191644 (640x480)Stefan Waack, Michael Schmidt (helm) & Mario Wagner are the Champions of Cannes.

It was a wonderful final day of the 2015 Regates Royal yesterday, with a clear blue sky, 10 hours of sunshine and a gentle 7 kts of a warm southerly breeze. So after a short postponement the 40 Dragons were released from the beautiful “Old Port” in Cannes and made their way over to the East Bay for the final race of the week. After losing Thursday due to 30+ kts of wind, the series was eventually completed with a total of 6 races and one discard.  

In the end there was no doubt about the winners, as GER 1157 “M3″ (a brand new Petticrows) helmed by Michael Schmidt, crewed by Stefan Waack & Mario Wagner had out-sailed the rest of the fleet recording 3, 1, 1, 4, 6, & 5. This was enough to win the regatta by 4 clear points from runner up & last year’s champion, GBR 375 “Blue Haze” helmed by Ivan Bradbury, crewed by Lars Hendriksen & Claus Olesen (despite winning the final race).

3rd overall after sailing a superb last race was GBR 761 “Jerboa” helmed by Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, crewed by Marc Hart & Philip Catmur, who climed up through the fleet to finish 2nd in the final race which gave this excellent team the final “podium” place.

IMG_20150925_191008 (640x480)          (3rd) Philip, Gavia & Marc .  (1st) Michael, Mario & Stefan.  (2nd) Lars & Claus.

The first beat was interesting as the fleet divided with half choosing to go left and out to sea, whilst the other half went right towards the Island. For a while the left looked strong, but the Island once again produced her “Magic” and it was the boats from the right who rounded ahead. GBR 375 “Blue Haze” was determined not to give up the trophy won last year without a fight and were soon to take the lead and eventually go on to win and secure the runners up spot. Many congratulations to Ivan, Lars and Claus.

So the fight was on to see which of the remaining top 3 boats (Jerboa, Pow Wow or Bear) could secure the final podium position. On the final downwind whilst the 3 mentioned boats were all abreast in amongst the first 10 boats the wind completely shut off from the favoured right side of the course which allowed Jerboa to gybe away and round the bottom gate ahead of her rivals. This move proved to be crucial as Gavia, Marc and Philip were able to chase the lead boat in clear air and finish in 2nd place, thus take 3rd overall.

Top “Corinthian” Team was NED 305 “Dawn” helmed by Bram de Wilde, crewed by George Etty and Etty Ruitenberg who finished the regatta very strongly with a 6th position. Bram and his team finished just outside the top 10 overall and is a great supporter of Cannes where he will keep his boat so that he can take part in the popular “Winter Series” which begins in November. Many of the 40 competitors will also winter their boats here after a short trip over to St Tropez in a few weeks time…..

In closing it was nice to see two new “Young” teams on the water GBR 770 and GBR 610. Both boats were racing with 4 crew and I am sure Jonno Brown & Selina Dicker will be back next year.. This was an excellent regatta with 6 quality races.  Winning helm Michael Schmidt thanked the International Race Officer Philippe Faure and all the helpers & Volunteers of the Yacht Club de Cannes for setting nice long courses after sensibly keeping us ashore until the wind filled in.  Michael also complimented the organisers and thanked the sponsors for the superb “Gala Party” at the Palma Beach Casino on Thursday.

Great Sailing Michael, Stefan and Mario, very well done.

So in closing we will all be back next year, so why not come to Cannes in 2016 & join in the fun yourselves  …?

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



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The Flags Fly in Cannes……


Attachment 1 (480x640)Wednesday in Cannes, the wind was simply too strong for both the Classic Yachts and the 40 International Dragon’s who waited patiently for the wind to drop, but to no avail….

So the International Race Officer Philippe Faure, had no choice but to signal an abandonment for the day…  Here in the photo you see the D for “Dragon” & T for “Traditional Boats” Flags above the Postponement Flag, then the A Flag to signal Abandonment.

However, Thursday (yesterday) we experienced another stunning day with 2 more races completed in 12 to 16 kts of wind from a mean direction of 200 degrees. In the first race of the day RUS 27 “Annapurna” showed better form and dominated the fleet, as she so often does. Helmed by Anatoly Loginov, crewed by Vadim Statsenko and Alexander Shaligin, this very successful team played the left side of the first beat to always just stay ahead of the chasing pack. With L2 as the course, Anatoly managed to control the fleet over the two upwind & two downwind legs to take the victory.  2nd was RUS 34 “Even Better” helmed by Vasily Senatorov and 3rd GER 1123 “PowWow” Michael Zankel.

Race 2 of the day (race 5 of the series) started shortly after 3pm in a building wind and a course W2. Which meant three upwind and two downwind legs, this longer course really made for a great battle which was very appropriate as HRH Prince Hendrik of Denmark was in Cannes to watch the Dragons. In addition the Island of Mauritius sponsored a free Holiday for the winning team! So everything to play for as the fleet got away cleanly at the first attempt.

We (Martin Payne, Donal Small & Gillian Hamilton) started in GBR 789 “Bear” towards the PIN end of the line as there was probably around a 10 degree bias. GBR 375 “Blue Haze” helmed by Ivan Bradbury was close by, as was RUS 35 “Sunflower” helmed by Victor Fogelson. After about 7 mins on starboard tack, the majority of the fleet had tacked in towards the shore, so all three mentioned boats also tacked and headed into the glare of the bright sunshine which made seeing the first mark a little difficult. I can tell you now that the stress levels on the “Bear” rose significantly as the leading boats approached the end of the beat ! However, after eventually spotting the mark we managed to guide GBR 789 around in first place closely followed by RUS 35, GBR 375 & FRA 402.

It was a tremendous battle over the next downwind leg with surfing opportunities and a building breeze which made for some spectacular sailing. In the end the “Bear” just managed to stay ahead of “Blue Haze” with the “Outlaw” finishing well to take 3rd place. So it will the happy team from “Bear” Myself, Donal Small & Gillian Hamilton who will be packing our bags sometime this winter for a nice holiday in Mauritius, which was awarded to us at the Gala Party last night by HRH Prince Hendrik.

Overall standings are now very interesting although after another solid day yesterday, GER 1157 “M3″ produced a nearly unbeatable score by recording a 4th & 6th, so it will take a miracle for anyone to pass Michael Schmidt and his team of Stefan Waack and Mario Wagner. However, 2nd to 5th place is very interesting  with 4 boats within 2pts of each other……. GBR 761 “Jerboa”, GBR 375 “Blue Haze”, GBR 789 “Bear” & GER 1123 “Pow Wow”.

Let’s see what the day brings……..


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

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The “M3″ Motorway in Cannes !

GOPR0568_1443004324254_high (640x480)Dragons & Classics wait patiently for wind at the Regates Royal in Cannes, Tuesday 22nd.

As far as I am aware the M3 is a Motorway in the UK that links Southampton to London, it is a very busy road and the traffic runs smoothly and fast…..

Yesterday here in Cannes on Day 2 of the Panerai Classic Regates Royal we also had a M3 running smoothly & very fast….only this M3 (GER 1157) was being driven by Michael Schmidt and crewed by Mario Wagner & Stefan Waack. This very relaxed German team won both races sailed in wonderful conditions in the East Bay of Cannes, with winds between 10 to 14 kts from predominately 195 degrees. The sky was blue, the Mediterranean sea a beautiful Turquoise and even the majestic Dolphins joined in the fun. :-)

Also having a great sailing day was the experienced team from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, the GBR 761 team “Jerboa” helmed by Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, crewed by Marc Hart and Philip Catmur. Gavia and her team always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and thoroughly deserved their 3rd in race 1 and 2nd in race 2 of the day, which moves them up to 2nd overall behind the “M3″….

3rd overall after 3 races is GBR 375 “Blue Haze” Ivan Bradbury, who followed up his race win on Monday with a 5th and 9th yesterday. Ivan’s top Professional Crew of Lars Hendriksen and Claus Olesen did a great job in holding on to a 9th place in the final race after a 40 degree windshift to the right put paid to the hopes of RUS 35 Victor Fogelson who lost 13 places !! By finishing 9th, the “Blue Haze” team are still very much in the hunt to defend their 2014 Regates Royal title won so convincingly last year.

Another team who had a very encouraging day yesterday was GER 1123 “Pow Wow” helmed by Michael Zankel, crewed by Pedro Andrade & Phil Blinn. This team, who finished 12th in the Worlds, battled hard to record a 2nd & 5th place after receiving a Black Flag on day 1. So Michael and his team will look forward to when the discard kicks in after 5 races….

Top Corinthian Team is GBR 770 “Storm” helmed by Jono Brown, crewed by his Father David, his Mum Lyn and James Howard. These experienced sailors from the “Elite” Class are soon getting to grips with their boat speed and general sail trimming.. a team to watch for in the future….

Also having a good day in the overall ranking was GER 1071 “Kleine Brise” helmed by Helmut Schmidt who recorded a 7th and 8th which puts this excellent team in 5th place right behind GBR 789 “Bear” in 4th…..

Today (Weds) we have winds gusting above 30 kts at present, however the forecast is for it to drop as the day goes on so it should be another wonderful sailing day for the 70 + Classic Yachts and the 40 Dragons……….

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

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Regates Royal in a “Blue Haze”…

Affiche-RR2015Beautiful weather for the 40 Dragon’s & wonderful “Classic” Yachts in Cannes.

Yesterday, Monday September 21st, was the beginning of the 2015 Regates Royal which started with a clear blue sky and in beautiful warm sunshine that put a smile on all the lucky Dragon Sailors who have made the journey south.

With the Classic Yachts starting today, Tuesday the Dragons had the option of racing in the West Bay yesterday. However, with all the visiting Million Dollar Yachts and Huge Cruise Liners moored in close proximity to the “action” our experienced Race Officer, Philippe Faure took us all over to nearby Gulf Juan Bay that offered a more peaceful and less hectic race area.

After several General Recalls, in which 9 boats were Black Flagged, the first race eventually got underway shortly after 1pm in a light Easterly wind of no more than 7kts. The remaining 31 boats split sides with half the fleet heading to the Island and the remaining boats trying to make a gain from the left side. At the top of the 1.5 mile beat the 2 lead boats were GBR 761 “Jerboa” who came in from the left and GBR 789 “Bear” who had gone all the way right to the Island (showing that both sides of the course were equal).   With FIN 85 “Thouban” & EST 17 “AAB FUN” in hot pursuit these 4 boats where the first to hoist their spinnakers for the downwind leg.

Although the “Bear” took the lead at the bottom gate and decided to cover the top 10 boats who elected to play the left hand side of the second beat, it was in fact GBR 375 “Blue Haze” and FRA 371 “Childs Dream” who rounded the top mark in front for the second time. These two boats along with GER 1157 “M3″ had chosen to sail all the way right towards the Island and all three managed to pass the “Bear”….

This decision won the race for GBR 375 “Blue Haze” a beautifully restored Pedersen & Thuesen from 1959, owned and helmed by Ivan Bradbury, crewed by experienced Lars Hendriksen and Claus Olesen. In 2nd place was FRA 371 “Childs Dream” helmed by local sailor and Yacht Club de Cannes President Jean Pierre Gailes and 3rd was GER 1157 “M3″ helmed by Michael Schmidt.

I spoke with winning tactician Lars Hendriksen after the race he told me “Yes Martin, you were leading by a mile after a great first beat and extending on the downwind. You did cover the fleet and did a great job covering them all. We just chose not to follow the fleet going left, as it did not look so good from behind, we saw more pressure on the right, plus a right shift sneaking in due to the sea breeze effect late into the afternoon. It worked out well” :-)

Yes, indeed it did Lars and many congratulations to Ivan, yourself & Claus. Today I shall be keeping a watchful eye on you for sure….


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

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A Dozen Dragon Teams go to Venice…..

Dragons in Venice (640x427)Dragons will be racing in Venice October 2nd to 5th for the very first time, what fun !

Yes fellow Sailors, it’s true there will be Dragons in Venice very soon…. A number of Dragon Teams were invited by former World Champion Klaus Diederichs and 4 times Italian Champion Guiseppe Duca to take up a “team Race” challenge this October….

The event is called “Metropole-Glenfiddich Dragon Team Racing” in Venice. The organising clubs are Vento di Venezia and Compagnia della Vela. Chief Umpire will be Team Race Guru Bruce Hebbert who will organise the excitingly new “2K” format of 2 v 2 with the last boat of any team losing….

There will also be two 6 boat fleet races to allow the interested Public the opportunity to see our wonderful boats sailing close to the picturesque shores of the most romantic City in the World.

Follow the day by day happenings here on the IDA Home Page and who knows.. maybe next year you could bring your own team down to Venice to join in the fun. The 12 competing teams this year are: Anatoly Loginov, Klaus Diederichs, Julia Bailey, Jens Rathsack, Giuseppe Duca, Javier Scherk, Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, Marcus Blackmore, Grant Gordon, Quentin Strauss, Dmitry Samokhin and Igor Goikhberg…..

Watch this space for up to date info & results….

Higher, Faster, Longer…………    Stavros (racing with Julia Bailey).


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“Gorgeous Worgeous” leads in Medemblik…..

Dragon Open Dutch Championship 2015-1029 (640x427) (2)GBR 803 “Gorgeous Worgeous” leads overall after 4 races of the Dutch Open Championships.

It was another fantastic day of sailing on the Ijselmeer for the 32 registered Dragons who added two more races to their Open Dutch Championship series. With an oscillating wind on average from around 85 degrees the races were completed under a clear blue sky in 10 to 14kts of wind, which offered wonderful conditions and saw two different winners……

In the first race of the day (race 3 of the series), the start got away at the second attempt under a Black Flag. GBR 789 “Bear” helmed by Martin Payne, crewed by Pim Harmsen van der Beck & Pier de Longh made an excellent start at the PIN end and were soon able to cross the fleet on port tack. Although the line was set square, at the start most boats sheet in and are forced to sail in “high mode” to hold their lane, this often allows boats to leeward of the main bunch to run low, free and fast. The speed differential, particularly in choppy sea conditions, can see some boats make a big jump forward which is exactly what allowed my team & I to have the room to tack and cross the fleet…. :-)

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GBR 789 “Bear” Stavros with Pim Harmsen van der Beck & Pier de Longh Win race 3.

Also sailing well was BEL 80 helmed by Ben van Cauwenbergh, crewed by Thibaud den Hartigh & Siebe de Boo. Ben is still getting to grips with his newer boat after selling his “Black Out” (Half Black/Half White) Petticrows, but today showed he is getting back to his tremendous upwind speed as he eventually finished in 2nd place. Following Ben over the finish line was NED 412 helmed by Pieter Heerema who finished 3rd.  However, Pieter then sailed a near perfect second race to win by a comfortable margin. I spoke to Pieter’s crew Lars Hendriksen after the races “Yesterday we felt the boat had no speed and the rigging seemed a little slack. So when we investigated further, we found the shroud fittings below deck on the Pedersen & Thuesen were coming loose! So Claus & I worked long into the evening to make all secure”. Well done to the “Troika” team, you certainly deserved todays success.

Dragon Open Dutch Championship 2015-1044 (640x427)Winners of Race 4 (second race today) NED 412 Pieter Heerema, Lars Hendriksen & Claus Olesen.

2nd in race 4 of the Championship was NED 311 Bram de Wilde, crewed by Rudi Hofman & George Etty. Following Bram and finishing in 3rd place were my good friends and excellent sailors NED 422 Jan Bakker, crewed by his sons Dominic & Olivier. This consistent team have now recorded 4,4,4,& 3, which actually ties them in first place overall with GBR 803 Quentin Strauss, who after their excellent two 2nd places on day one, had to settle for a 5th & 6th today with his crew Nigel Young and Pedro Andrade.

So after the 4 races, leaders GBR 803 “Gorgeous Worgeous” & NED 422 “Elephant” have 15 pts. Then right behind is NED 345 & NED 311 on 16 pts… Four boats all within one point of each other, all in with a great chance of overall victory…  Lurking in the shadows a little further back are three boats who have all shown their potential having already won races…  NED 300, NED 412 & GBR 789.. However, if Michiel, Pieter or I want to stand any chance of a podium finish we will need two “Bullet’s” tomorrow……  :-)

Not outside the dreams of possibility, but difficult to execute at this level of completion…

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



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NED 345 leads Dutch Open..

ONK Stavros (640x320)NED 345 wins race 2 of the Dutch Open Championship in Medemblik, Holland.

32 Dragons are registered for the 2015 Open Dutch Championship which began in style today in an easterly breeze of around 10 to 12 kts in the usual short “choppy” waves on the famous Ijsselmeer.  Two of these boats NED 345 & GBR 803 had a fantastic battle all day at the front end of the fleet in both races. In the photo above, NED 345 helmed by Reinier Wissenraet, crewed by Marc Reijnhoudt & Gijs Evers win race 2 just ahead of GBR 803 helmed by Quentin Strauss, crewed by Nigel Young & Pedro Andrade. This exciting finish was captured just as Reinier put his bow up to guarantee the win!

In the first race of the day, both Quentin & Reinier had to settle for 2nd and 3rd place respectively, as it was NED 300 helmed by Michiel Van Dis, crewed by his brother Wouter & Jeroen Burks who took the victory after making a great start and showing good speed throughout the three up winds and two down wind leg courses. So it is NED 345 who leads overall after two races counting a 3rd & 1st then on equal points is GBR 803 with two 2nd places. 3rd overall is NED 311 helmed by Bram de Wilde, crewed by Rudi Hofman & George Etty, who had a very consistent day recording a 5th and 3rd….

Today was a day where you had to keep the speed in the boat through the short waves typical of the fresh waters in the Ijsselmeer, constant changes of runner tension along with regular sail trimming was essential. With a similar forecast expected over the next few days it will be interesting to see if these top three boats will be able to maintain their advantage in this highly competitive fleet. The courses were well set and frequently adjusted as the wind changed through 20 to 30 degrees at times, our PRO did a very good job and caught a few of us by surprise at the quick turn around between races. Well done, this was excellent sailing in this wonderful part of Holland…

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



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