42 Entries for Italian Championships, San Remo !

20150325_105625 (640x360)Tatiana and Lilly help organise competitors at the Yacht Club San Remo, Italy.

With a Southerly wind of around 10kts forecast over the next 4 days, there should be plenty of close racing for the 42 Competing Teams gearing up for the Italian National Championship hosted by the Yacht Club of San Remo.

One of the main Sponsors “Transbunker” have been here for 4 days preparing their new boats built in Dubai, unfortunately the strong nearly gale force winds have prevented any training. Although Markus Wieser was frustrated at not being able to sail, he was very happy to offer me Bed & Breakfast inside his huge front Box, as it make’s full use of the standard Harbeck Trailer…..

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The “Great” Markus Wieser offering a place to stay @ 50e Breakfast (inc) in San Remo  :-)

Also testing out a new boat this week will be German Sailor Markus Brenneke, sailing with the legendary Vincent Hoesch and Joost Houweling. This is the latest “Petticrows” boat with a few extra little Vincie “tweaks” and with CID (David Howlett) here to coach and oversee their World Championship bid, it should prove very interesting…

20150325_110522 (640x360)                                                         Yacht Club San Remo, Italy.

Another “New Launching” is for the current Italian Champion Giuseppe Duca who has acquired the most recent KIN from Simon Brien and has re-named it Cloud. However, Giuseppe will have to look elsewhere for his tactics as his normal crew and great French Sailor JEAN SEBASTIEN PONCE is in Hospital recovering from a terrible road accident. Although J.S. is currently still not 100% I am sure you will all join me in wishing him a speedy and total recovery from what was nearly a fatal accident…  Get well soon my friend….

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Jean Sebastien (Left) with Giuseppe collecting one of their many trophies from 2014…

So in closing as you read this “Blog” in your armchairs at home and all the teams here make their final preparations for tomorrows 12.00 start, spare a thought for those friends and dear ones that maybe suffering from illness or recovering from an accident. Life does and must go on but we want to wish everyone strength, good health and happiness in the future……   :-)

Higher, Faster, Longer…….    thinking of J.S.            Stavros.



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5th “Stavros” Match Race in Cascais…

20140305_150318 (320x180)Match Racing, Cascais in 2014.  This April 6th- 8th will see the 5th Stavros Championship.

Calling any “budding” Match Racing Dragon Sailors who would like to join in this years fun in Cascais during April 6th to 8th, just prior to the Juan Carlos Trophy…  due to late withdrawals I have space for just two more teams….  :-)

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Pedro Andrade’s “Team” 2014 Winners of the Stavros Match Race Championship.

So if you fancy doing battle against the current World Champion Klaus Diederichs, or perhaps the current European Champion Lars Hendriksen or maybe the Dutch National Champion Pieter Heermea then contact Bruno at the Club Naval de Cascais to see if you can grab one of the two “late entry” places…..  Bruno can be contacted by email   bsantos@cncascais.com

Day 2 of the 2014 Grand Prix Guyader - Dragon Class                       2012 Winner, Pieter Heerema will be racing with North Sails Theis Palm.

Day 2 of the 2014 Grand Prix Guyader - Dragon Class

European Champion Lars Hendriksen will be trying to win this 5th Match Race Event!

Other teams taking part this year will be World Champion “Runners Up” RUS 76 “Strange Little Girl” with Dmitry Samokhin at the helm, also GBR 795 Tom Vernon who has come from a very popular and competitive X Boat Class in the Solent, UK.. Tom is quickly adapting to the skills required to make a Dragon go fast, so will be a difficult team to beat on a One to One basis…


“OLYMPIAN” Gustavo Lima who won the 3rd Stavros Match Race event in 2013.

Local hero Gustavo Lima will also be taking part to see if he can take the title back from his close friend Pedro Andrade….

Day 2 of the Belgian Dragon Championship 2014

Team “Stavros” will be battling hard, after two runner’s up places it’s time to Win !

With live Irish Music during the Happy Hours after Racing, fuelled with Vodka on Monday 6th and Hendriks Gin on Tues 7th, are you up for the ultimate test of sailing skills, teamwork and high pressure decisions ??

If you are, just let Bruno or I know, a.s.a.p.

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






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Jose’ beats Lawrie to Win in Cascais…

RP_150315_CDWS5S_2055 (1) (640x428)Frederico Melo, Gustavo Lima and Jose’ Matoso win the 5th Winter Series in Cascais.

What a fantastic final day the 27 teams had in Cascais yesterday, with a cloudless deep blue sky and a 14 to 16 kt wind from the East, perfect sailing conditions for the final two races….

Indeed it was a most “perfect” day for GER 1123 “Pow Wow” helmed by Michael Zankel, crewed by Pedro Andrade and Vasco Empis as they won both races to bring them up to 3rd overall in this excellent fleet. I spoke with local Professional Pedro after the sailing ” Yes Yes Yes…. a perfect day for us, we took the bias on the line at the pin end and made a very good start. This gave us the opportunity to do what we wanted which was to continue for 150m and then tack to cross and cover the fleet. As we got near to the starboard lay line we were just ahead of the boats coming in from the right and so we tacked below POR 66 Jose’ to lead around the top mark. On the first down wind Jose’ gybed away to stay with Lawrie, so this allowed us to sail away from the fleet and have a comfortable win”.  Well done my friend, and race 2 ??

Pedro continued ” We felt the right was getting stronger so we ignored the line bias and started at the Committee Boat, then tacked to the right into more pressure. Although we were 5th at the first mark, we again chose the right on the second beat and in doing so covered RUS 76 Dmitry, who was our closest rival for 3rd place overall. This move gave us the lead so we continued to build on this to win again !  Cascais showed us the best sailing conditions the Dragon Fleet could ask for and the PRO Jose’ Cancela did an excellent job”  Well said my friend and another fantastic “podium” place overall.


GER 1123 Michael Zankel & Pedro Andrade celebrate their “perfect” day, with Vasco Empis.

Meanwhile the battle was on for the overall Championship between POR 66 and GBR 801, so I spoke with winning tactician Gustavo Lima about his day. “As we went into the day with a 1 point lead over Lawrie we just needed one good race, in race one Lawrie was 2nd and we were 3rd. This meant that we could not finish worst than 2nd overall and the only boat that could beat us was Lawrie” !  So as the points were very much in your favour as Lawrie and his team had a worst discard than you did you “Match Race” them in the final race ?  “Yes Stavros, it was a Match Race because our worst score was a 4th, this meant we just had to keep Lawrie back.  After a good fight during the pre start we were in control starting below Lawrie, he had to tack and dip below  all the fleet out to the right. At the first crossing we tacked on top of them, still in control, as they had to tack away again. At the second crossing we tacked on them again and the game was over “.  Congratulations to the POR 66 team.

RP_150315_CDWS5S_5767 (640x426)Runners Up GBR 801 “Alfie”  Lawrie Smith, Tim Tavinor and Joost Houweling.

When you study the results it is plain to see that Lawrie and his team started the event with an 8th and 6th place, so this was always going to be a big ask to win overall. However, I am sure Lawrie, Tim and Joost are looking at the “Big Picture” and will be delighted with their speed developed during this excellent regatta. Cascais offered sailors a most glorious opportunity to revel in the most perfect conditions at this time of the year !

In this strong fleet it was great to see GER 1103 “Rosie” helmed by Benjamin Morgan crewed by his father Karl Morgan and Nicholas Raedeche, finish in a very creditable 7th position and take the “CORINTHIAN” first prize. Benni has been gaining in confidence and improving his skills after several winter series in Cascais and it is fantastic to see Young Sailors pushing the rest along !! Many congratulations to Benjamin and his team on Rosie, pictured below.

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                                       Corinthian Champions GER 1103 “Rosie”.

In closing the Club Naval de Cascais and their excellent PRO Jose’ Cancela look forward to inviting even more sailors down to Portugal for the 20th Juan Carlos Trophy in April. This will be the second Grade 1 of our European Circuit and many more teams will be joining this already multi talented fleet. Demark’s Jens Christensen will be unwrapping his new Petticrows, Russia’s Anatoly Loginov will also join the fold. Plus we have the current European Champion Lars Hendriksen and the excellent Pieter Heerema on their way from winter training in Lanzarote…..  is there no end to the countless top sailors in our wonderful International Dragon Fleet…….  ?

Finally, it will be quick turn around for some of us who now travel to San Remo to join in the activities at the Italian National Championships. I understand we will see the Gold Cup holder Markus Wieser testing out his new PCT boat from Dubai along with Evgeny Braslavets, Stefan Link (winner of Cannes Grade 1) and Henrik Witzmann.  Is there no end to the Dragon “FUN” :-)

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





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Lawrie does a “Messi”

RP_150314_CDWS5S_3554 (640x427)GBR 801 “Alfie” Lawrie Smith, Tim Tavinor and Joost Houweling squeeze out POR 66..

Many of us have won a race, some of us may have even won 2 races, but how many sailors in the world have won 3 races in one day ?? Well fellow Dragon sailors, it happened here yesterday in Cascais . It was achieved by former World Champion Lawrie Smith helming his new Petticrows “Alfie”, crewed by Tim Tavinor and Joost Houweling. When I congratulated Tim he simply said “We did a Messi”…  explaining of course that he was referring to their “Hat Trick” of wins and thus relating it to the Worlds best Footballer Lionel Messi!   (I tell you they must have some breeding issues up in Burnham on Crouch)..  :-)

Actually I did once do the “Hat Trick” in Dublin Bay at the Dun Laoghaire Regatta with an Irish gentleman call Dennis Bergin…  but that’s another story…  So back to Cascais and Lawrie Smith really turned up the heat. What was even more impressive was that the races were on three different courses as the PRO used the full scope of the sailing waters off the coast of Cascais and Estoril. This meant that Lawrie and his team had no idea which way would pay on each beat as there were no obvious signs of an advantage right or left.

However, the overnight leader POR 66 “Drago” helmed by Jose’ Matoso was determined not to give up without a fight and by recording 3rd, 4th & 2nd yesterday, still lead the 5th Winter Series by a slender point!   In 3rd place overall is RUS 76 “Strange Little Girl” helmed by Dmitry Samokhin who also had a good day recording 6th, 2nd and 5th. So everything to play for with two more races planned today, with an 11am start.

RP_150314_CDWS5S_3507 (640x427)Here you see POR 66 holding a slight lead on a down wind leg, in perfect sailing conditions

With the wind remaining mostly from the north at around 18 to 20 kts, it made the three race sailing day an exhausting but exciting experience. My two friends from Abersoch, will return home to the UK with some fantastic memories of their first experience of racing at the very highest level in Portugal. As you can see Simon had a bit of a “thirst on”  :-)

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Simon Todd and Graham Price, enjoy a refreshing beer, or two, after racing in Cascais.

Meanwhile our Professional Photographer Ricardo Pinto, took to the air yesterday to bring us some amazing images of this superb regatta hosted by the Club Naval de Cascais…  here are a few to wet your appetite

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These really are “Higher” Faster, Longer…………     Stavros.


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“Many” of the Worlds Best in CASCAIS…..

RP_150313_CDWS5S_4928 (640x360)“Pow Wow” GER 1123 leads the competitive fleet in race 2 yesterday, 5th Cascais W.S..

With the current World Champion, Klaus Diederichs sailing and the former World Champion, Lawrie Smith also “setting” up his new Petticrows boat, the 5th Cascais Winter Series was always going to attract serious competition….

Indeed last Worlds Runners up RUS 76 also have been here in sunny Portugal training all through the winter, to see if Dmitry Samokhin and his team can go one better this year, in La Rochelle, and take the title. However, it was former European Champion Jose’ Matoso POR 66 who won the first race of the day. With the strong “gusting” wind from the North, oscillating at times through 30 to 40 degrees all the teams had to be at the top of their game to avoid any mishaps and be competitive in these testing conditions.

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Jose Matoso, helming POR 66 with Gustavo Lima and Frederico Melo win Race 1.

Here you see Jose’ and his team keeping the boat as flat as possible to minimise the “leeway” slide, also helming exactly on the wind as his Genoa sets perfectly gaining maximum height… 

In race 2 in was GER 1123 who took a commanding lead, with Michael Zankel at the helm, local professional Pedro Andrade as tactician and Vasco Empis as 3rd crew, this team sailed a brilliant race. After starting 4 boats up from the pin end of the line, Pedro took his team towards the left side of the first beat, which seem to lift on starboard going out and port coming back…”Happy Days” !

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The Pow Wow team, celebrate their deserve win of race 2 of the 5th Cascais Winter Series.

Another team really starting to show some form is GBR 780 helmed by Grant Gordon, crewed by North Sails Ruairidh Scott and Kasper Harsberg, who finished 3rd in race one and 4th in race two. This currently puts this relatively new team in 3rd place overall, behind POR 66 1st and GER 1123 2nd.. 

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Grant Gordon and his team on “Louise” GBR 780, currently 3rd overall in Cascais.

Another fantastic forecast today with sun and again a brisk northerly wind will hopefully see 3 more races completed for this excellent fleet…..

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

p.s I would like to thank top Professional, Ricardo Pinto for all of these fantastic “Action” photo’s !!



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Prize Winners in Cannes…..

20150228_220202 (640x360)Gerard Blanc present’s Winners STEPHAN LINK & MICHI LIP (Frank Butzmann had to fly home, so unfortunately missed the excellent Prize Giving, with the Mayor of Cannes :-).

20150228_215944 (640x360)Runners Up RUS 27, Alexander Shalagin, Vadim Statsenko & Helm Anatoly Loginov.

20150228_215930 (640x360)In 3rd place overall, BEL 80 Dominic Bakker, Ben Cauwenbergh & Thibuad Den Hartigh.

Yes fellow sailors, it was an excellent Prize Giving to round off this first Grade 1 event of the European “Circuit”…. With the Town Mayor stating how the elegance and class of the Dragon fit in perfectly with the ambience of Cannes…..

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



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Stephan Link Wins Cannes Grand Prix…

DSC04634cnL_Link_Team14Michi Lip and Frank Butzmann the winning crew in GER 1125, helmed by Stephan Link..

No race today in Cannes so the Championship goes to overnight leaders, GER 1125 ” Dragoni Holly” helmed by Stephan Link, crewed by Michi Lip and Frank Butzmann. 2nd place RUS 27 Anatoloy Loginov, crewed by Vadim Statsenko and Alexander Shalagin … 3rd BEL 80 Ben Cauwenbergh, crewed by Thibaud Den Hartigh and Dominic Bakker…….  

Full report and more photo’s of the Prize Giving to come….

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

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Day 3 in Cannes brings new Leader’s….

It was an overcast sky that greeted the sailors as they arrived at the Yacht Club de Cannes yesterday morning, so no hope of a sea breeze. However, at around 1pm quite a strong breeze surprised many of us who even elected to change Genoa’s, from light/Medium to Heavy. Alas, as all 53 boats enthusiastically made their way out onto the race course in the West Bay, the wind died away to nothing… So patience was the name of the game..

In the end our experienced PRO Philippe Faure managed to get the 4th race of the series away in an unstable wind of around 200 degrees, at the second attempt under a Black Flag. The majority of the fleet tacked immediately and chose the right hand side of the beat, whilst a few of us elected to head out towards the open sea and hope for more pressure…. RUS 98 “Zenith”, looked to have a good advantage as they came in with speed from the left hand side, but also GER 1123 “Pow Wow” looked good from the right! Yes it was one of those days… Lots of shift’s, lots of place changes and a few costly Black Flags, one in particular was the overnight leader ITA 56, who just put their bow over in the final second…  a tough call but with two more races planned for today, a discard will apply.

Finally after various course changes to compensate for the ever changing wind, the full course 3 was completed and it was GER 1150 “AIGH” who took the winning gun, helmed by Ingo Kohn, crewed by Mario Wagner and Stefan Waack. In 2nd place was GER 1151 “Puck IV” helmed by Philip Dohse, crewed by Christian Moeller and Volker Kramer. Then in 3rd place and now the overall leaders were GER 1125 “Dragoni Holly” Stephan Link, Frank Butzmann and Michi Lip. After the race Michi told me “At the final beat we were lucky and finished 3rd, lets wait and see for the discard today!”  Yes my friend lets see what the final day brings !!

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

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Today in Cannes, at the club waiting for wind….   The Final Day of the Grand Prix !!

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Perfect Conditions in Cannes….Day 2.

Day 2 of the Cannes Grand Prix started with a slight delay until the predicted sea breeze began to fill into the West Bay at around noon. Although the wind was very light at the start of the first race of the day (race 2 of the series), it slowly began to increase in strength as the beautiful town of Cannes bathed in sunshine this allowed the colder air above the sea to sweep in towards the land replacing the hot air that was now rising from beaches, buildings and land… A typical “Sea Breeze”…..  from around 160 degrees. Perfect sailing conditions for all 53 multi-International teams on the 26th February 2015….

The boats that started at the Pin end of the line and could tack immediately (RUS 27 and FRA 391), made a nice “jump” on the fleet as they were able to cross many of the boats who were prevented from tacking due to being “locked in” off the start line on starboard tack. This can be very frustrating for a sailor when they know they should be tacking onto port to take advantage of the “favoured” tack, but are prevented from doing so by the boat immediately to their right. Picking the right opportunity of when to tack is an experienced skill and sometimes a “gutsy” call as you need to be able to clear the oncoming “right-of-way” starboard tack boat or risk a penalty….

At the other end of the line and using all of his “local” knowledge was experienced tactician Jean Sebastien Ponce, who was guiding his helm of ITA 56 “Cloud”  Giuseppe Duca towards the right hand side of the race course. As the 1.4 mile first beat developed, it was indeed RUS 27 “Annapurna” helmed by Anatoloy Loginov, crewed by Vadim Statsenko and Alaxander Shalagin, who had continued from the pin all the way to the favoured right side before tacking on the starboard “layline”, who held the lead. Closely followed by FRA 391 “Ulysse” helmed by Jean Breger, crewed by Clement Soulet & Simon Troel in 2nd place and then ITA 56 3rd… This is indeed how it remained to the finish.

In the second race of the day (race 3 of the series), the line was set perfectly and the start got away first time under a “P” flag (which is a compliment to the PRO of a well set line), and the fleet split tacks up the first beat in a slightly oscillating breeze that was still predominately from 160.. Although the left hand side looked good halfway up the 1.5 mile beat, it was again the right that saw the most gains. The only “Cloud” to be seen was ITA 56 who came “storming” out of the far right, to hold a comfortable lead at the top mark. Giuseppe Duca, Jean Sebastien Ponce and Zaoli Vittorio got it correct again and made no mistakes to hold their position to the end and win the race. FRA 391 finished the day with another brilliant 2nd place, well done Jean Breger and BEL 80 “Way Out” was “Way In” ! By sailing well to creep up to 3rd place (nearly taking 2nd on the line), so I was told by crew Dominic Bakker, who was on board with helm Ben Cauwenbergh & Thibaud Den Hartigh. Ben is settling in his recent boat after upgrading from his success in “Blackout” the boat we all know and love that starts off Black and gets Whiter..

I congratulated Jean Sebastien after the races, he told me ” I went right in both races. Sometimes in this kind of wind, you can expect a constant veering with some Oscillation”. Now why did I not speak to him BEFORE the race !

So with 3 races sailed it is ITA 56 who lead overall, with GBR 761 “Jerboa” helmed by Gavia Wilkinson-Cox in 2nd place and RUS 27 “Annapurna” 3rd. Two more races are planned today and likewise tomorrow, as the final day’s “cut-off” time is not until 4pm, which will give PRO Phillip Faure every opportunity of completing a most exciting series…..

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




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FRA 412 Wins First Race in Cannes….

53 Dragons took to the water yesterday for the first race of the Cannes Grand Prix, the beginning of the European Grade 1 events for 2015. After a 2 hour wait, conditions were “stunning” as the wind came in from 160 degrees and the sky stayed blue without a cloud to be seen…..

Although it took 4 attempts to get the fleet away, with 6 Black Flag DSQ’s (including the event favourite and last years winner Lawrie Smith), the remaining 47 boats had a fantastic race over a superbly set course by PRO Philip Faure, who is also in charge for the Worlds in La Rochelle in June.

First advantage went to German sailor Helmut Schmidt and his team in GER 1071 “Kleine Brise” who had started well down towards the pin end and picked up a nice port tack shift that saw him cross the whole fleet on the 1.5m first beat. Rounding in the lead Helmut and his crew of Stefan Hellriegel and Jannik Von Reichmann, elected to “bear-away-set” so as to not sail back into the “dirty” air of the fleet, also they had made their gain from the left side of the beat, so it made sense to run back down that same side.

In close pursuit were FRA 409 “Tsuica” helmed by local sailor Gerard Blanc and FRA 412 “Irina” helmed by legendary Marc Bouet , these two boats had made good starts from the middle of the line and were able to hold their “lanes” well to enable them to also pick up the left-hand shift that had given the lead boat his comfortable position.

On the second upwind the wind was slightly stronger on the right hand side of the course, so when a 10 degree wind shift also came in with the added pressure, gains could be made. This enabled FRA 409 Gerard Blanc to take the lead at the top mark and with his experienced crew of Jean-Gabriel Charton and Pierre Germain they elected to “gybe-set”.  The fleet were now more spread out (so less bad air after gybing) and the 10 degree shift meant the port gybe was now more favourable for the downwind leg…..

Also having made a nice gain on the second beat ,FRA 412 Marc Bouet and his team of Pierric and Morvan Bourbin, elected to gybe set and follow the leader down the final run. With GER 1071 now in 3rd place these three boats pulled away from the chasing fleet despite many top international sailors doing their best to catch up. At the leeward gate FRA 409 rounded the left hand mark first with FRA 412 directly behind, Marc Bouet then tacked immediately both to clear his air and also “split” tacks with the lead boat to give him a chance of a victory.

This was to prove the winning move, as when the boats next came together on the final beat, it was indeed FRA 412 “Irina” with Marc Bouet at the helm that took the win. 2nd was FRA 409 “Tsuica” Gerard Blanc and 3rd GER 1071 ” Kleine Brise” Helmut Schmidt.  A very close finish to an excellent race… With no time remaining for a second race the fleet sailed back into the much improved facilities of the Yacht Club de Cannes. With extra room made in the Marina by the locals removing their boats for the week, all 53 boats can easily be catered for with fresh water hoses and ample storage space for the trailers.

Today will see the competitors meet on shore at 10.30am and receive instructions for racing, lets hope we can get 2 more races in as the sun shines and all sailors appreciate how lucky they are to be part of this excellent event.

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





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