Dragon Grand Prix Spain – Day 2 Report

The Dragon Grand Prix Spain off Puerto Portals, Mallorca, produced a splendid second day of racing thanks to a generous if shifty north wind that did not stop blowing in the nearly five hours in which the fleet of 44 teams from 12 countries were competing.

The first race of the day, the third of the event, started at 1.43pm after two general recalls. With a 320º wind blowing at up to 12 knots, the first two legs of a windward-leeward course were completed with the leaders of the fleet sailing in tightly packed formation. At that point the wind increased slightly to 14 knots and the course was changed to 295 degrees allowing the fleet spread out a little over the second lap. Race four got underway at 3.38pm, after another general call, and with the wind now established in the North West the race committee was able to complete a five leg windward/leeward course finishing the boats downwind.

It wasn’t a good day for overnight leader Otto Polhmann sailing Meerblick, who dropped from first to eighth position overall after scoring a sixteenth and fifteenth in today’s races. However, the Dutch team aboard Troika, helmed by Pieter Heerema, seized the day and took the lead. Yesterday Troika scored a fourth and ninth and today they added two third places to escalate them from sixth to the top of the classification. With two days and up to four more races to go, they currently lead the regatta with 19 points.

Lying in second place overall is the German Ingrid team, who hold a podium position for the second consecutive day, moving up from third to second with 27 points. Peter Gilmour, aboard the Japanese Yred, climbs a position and lies third with 28 points and is tied on points with the British Fever helmed by Klaus Diederichs, who lies fourth on count back. Fever has a single point advantage over the fifth placed Rocknrolla, helmed by Russia’s Dmitry Samokhin who took a second in race three but followed up with a thirteenth.

With the wind coming down off Mallorca’s western mountains conditions were so shifty that to quote Pieter Heerema’s crew, Ukrainian 49er Olympian and World Champion George Leonchuk, “Even the shifts had shifts!” Consistency was unsurprisingly hard to find and in addition to Heerema and Diederichs, only two other boats achieved a pair of top ten finishes today. Russia’s Evgenii Braslavets sailing Bunker Prince took a fourth and second to jump into sixth overall, while Germany’s Nicola Friesen, sailing Khaleesi, won race three and then placed eighth in race four. Unfortunately she was disqualified after protest from race two and placed 22nd in race one, so despite a great day today she still finds herself in 15th overall at the regatta’s halfway point.

Race four was won by Portugal’s Pedro Rebelo de Andrade who is having a decidedly mixed regatta, as he explains; “Yesterday we had a bad day and the first race today also wasn’t great, so we were desperate for a good race. The conditions on the race course yesterday and today were very very tricky with lots of shifts and gusts, and the wind was changing strength and direction all the time and it was really hard to predict what was going on. So tactics were a little bit strange on this race course.

“The last race of today we decided to play the right hand side and we discussed how hard the race course was and we just said OK, we just have to keep doing what we are doing, we don’t think we are doing a bad job, it’s just we are missing a little bit of luck, and finally that luck came in for us on that last race. There were some moments that it could have been really bad for us on the right hand side, but a saviour puff came from the right and we managed to get to the top mark in front of the fleet and after that we just tried to manage the distance. We didn’t focus on the wind, we just focused on the boats behind us because of such tricky conditions.”

Up to four races remain to be sailed in the Dragon Grand Prix Spain which continues until Thursday 14 November. The completion of the fifth race will see the introduction of the regattas single discard.

Once the Grand Prix Spain is completed the top twenty teams from the overall 2019 Dragon Grand Prix Series will move forward into the Grand Finals, a knock out competition that will be sailed on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 November to decide the ultimate champion.

Provisional Top Ten After Four Races

1. NED412 – Troika – Pieter Heerema – 4,9,3,3 = 19
2. GER16 – Ingrid – Dirk Pramann – 8,2,13,14 = 27
3. JPN56 – Yred – Peter Gilmour – 7,4,5,12 = 28
4. GBR819 – Fever – Klaus Diederichs – 5,7,7,9 = 28
5. RUS76 – Rocknrolla – Dmitry Samokhin – 1,3,2,13 = 29
6. ITA77 – Bunker Prince – Evegnii Braslavets – 13,11,4,2 = 30
7. GER62 – Desert Holly – Stephan Link – 2,5,12,11 = 30
8. GER1205 – Meerblick – Otto Pohlmann – 3,1,16,15 = 35
9. GER1170 – Cameleer – Marcus Brennecke – 9,10,19,6 = 44
10. RUS27 – Annapurna – Anatoly Loginov – 6,17,6,22 = 51


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Dragon Grand Prix Spain 2019 – Day 1 Report

11 November 2019 – The fourth and final event of the Dragon European Grand Prix circuit, the Dragon Grand Prix Spain hosted by the Club de Regatas Puerto Portals, began today in the Bay of Palma (Mallorca) with two exciting races in northerly winds. After overnight thunderstorms, the day dawned cloudy and everything pointed towards a hard day for sailing, although in the end the conditions were near perfect to compete. “I hope we have this luck all week,” said Marta Reynés, of the Club de Regatas Puerto Portals and sports coordinator of the event.

Gusts of just over 20 knots were recorded in the first race as the fleet of 41 teams from 12 countries, completed a three leg 7.2 mile windward/leeward course. The second race consisted of five legs, the first four of 1.8 miles and the fifth of 1.2, with a running finish. The wind, which at one point in the last race fell briefly to five knots, oscillated very little: from 0 to 355 degrees. “There were the typical shifts when the wind is blowing offshore, but in general it was pretty stable,” said Reynés.

Otto Pohlmann’s Meerblick (GER) took first place in the provisional classification with a third and a first in the two first races of the eight race regatta. This gives him a three-point advantage over his compatriot Desert Holly, skippered by Stephan Link (2 + 5). In third place sits another German Dragon, Ingrid, helmed by Dirk Pramann (8 + 2), who led for the first three legs of the second race, but ended up conceding victory to Meerblick in the closing moments.

The Russian Rocknrolla, skippered by Dmitry Samokhin (1 + 14), completed an astonishing first race, heading the fleet at all the marks. However, a bad start in the second race hindered his chances of finishing the day on the podium. On the contrary, Peter Gilmour, commanding the only Japanese team of the fleet, went from less to more and now lies fourth overall with 11 points (7 + 4).

After racing overall leader Otto Pohlmann paid tribute to his crew, Olympic Star Class Gold and Bronze medallist Mateusz Kusznierwicz and reigning Dragon World Champion crew Simon Fry, saying, “It was our first time to race on the outer course area and we were looking forward to what was going to happen there, so for us it was new today but we hit always the right side and finished very well. The closest moment as always is the start but in both starts we came very well out of the fleet and we had good speed so could tack to decide where we wanted to go, and the rest was down to boat speed and a good tactician.”

Also quite happy with his performance today was Klaus Diederichs (GBR) sailing Fever, who hasn’t set foot in a Dragon since the World Championship in January. “The boat has been in a container since the Worlds in Fremantle,” explained Diederichs after racing “and we hadn’t even seen her until we arrived here a few days ago, so we’re pretty happy to with how things went.” With a fifth and seventh place Diederichs slots into fifth overall, a single point behind Heerema.

For two of the leading protagonists in the European Cup Series today was not such a success though. Both Portugal’s Pedro Andrade, who won the opening event in Cannes, and Britain’s Grant Gordon, who was victorious in leg two in Cascais, found themselves struggling to escape the start lines cleanly and gain traction around the course. In a fleet of such high quality the slightest error is mercilessly punished and despite the best efforts of both teams they find themselves down in 18th and 19th places overall respectively. Gordon’s crew member, J80 World Champion Ruairidh Scott, summed up their situation wryly saying “Some days you are the hammer. Some days you are the nail!! Today was one to forget. Onwards and upwards tomorrow!!”

The regatta continues until Thursday with up to six further races planned. This regatta is the fourth and final event in the 2019 Dragon European Cup Circuit. The overall scores this week will be combined with the results from the earlier events in Cannes, Cascais and Kühlungsborn to decide the overall winners of the series, who will receive the new Standfast Trophy, and the winning Corinthian team who will receive the the Lowell Phyllis Cup.

The top twenty boats from the overall ranking will then move forward into the two day Grand Final knock out competition, being raced on Friday and Saturday, to decide the ultimate Dragon European Cup Champions, who will receive the Sami Salomaa Trophy.

Provisional Top Ten After Two Races

  1. GER1205 – Meerblick – Otto Pohlmann – 3,1 = 4
  2. GER62 – Desert Holly – Stephan Link – 2,5 =7
  3. GER16 – Ingrid – Dirk Pramann – 8,2 = 10
  4. JPN56 – YRed – Peter Gilmour – 7,4 = 11
  5. GBR819 – Fever – Klaus Diederichs – 5,7 = 12
  6. NED412 – Troika – Pieter Heerema
  7. RUS76 – Rocknrolla – Dmitry Samokhin
  8. SUI311 – Sophie Racing – Hugo Stenbeck
  9. GER1170 – Cameleer – Marcus Brennecke
  10. RUS27 – Annapurna – Anatoly Loginov

Full Results






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Dragon Grand Prix Spain – Photo Gallery

All images courtesy of Elena Razina.

Dragon Grand Prix Spain Day 1

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Lake Cazaux….. 32nd Drag’s Cup.

The top 3 teams FRA 391 Jean Breger 2nd, FRA 420 Stephane Baseden 1st, FRA  207  Fred Gourlaouen 3rd…

16 crews took part last weekend at this year’s edition (32nd) of the Drag’s Cup on lake Cazaux.
All fleets from France were represented : Deauville, Douarnenez, La Baule, Arcachon and Mediterranean
Perfect sailing conditions with winds ranging from 6-12 knots on the first day up to 18-22 knots on the 3rd day, as the storm “AMELIE” was approaching the south west atlantic coast of France.
Always great food in Cazaux, Steak, Oysters, Mussels, Cheese and fantastic regional Wine.
Last day (Sunday) was cancelled as the storm hit the area with gusts recorded at 85 knots !!
11 races were completed over 3 days with excellent race management.
3 crews competing “hard” at the front especially on the last day with a very tight final result.
hospitality by the club …oysters, wine, steaks…. as always.
Overall : an excellent Cazaux vintage !
Important information : the France Dragon National Open will take place in Cazaux next year on April 30th to May 3rd 2020 when weather conditions are usually favourable (with long days)
and a convenient stop for crews heading back north after winter series from  Portugal and Spain.
Higher, Faster, Longer……..     Stavros.
p.s.  Many congratulations to Stephane Baseden and his team onboard “Outlaw” for winning this event and for his report.
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Teams Gather in Mallorca for Dragon Grand Prix Spain and European Cup Series Finals 2019

The 2019 Dragon European Cup will culminate off Mallorca with a final qualifying regatta, the Dragon Grand Prix Spain, to be raced from 11 to 14 November, followed by the spectacular Dragon European Cup Grand Final on 15 and 16 November. The events are being hosted by the Club de Regatas Peurto Portals with the boats based in the chic Peurto Portals Marina with its superb facilities, elegant restaurants, trendy bars and designer stores.

The 2019 Dragon European Cup Series started in April with the Grand Prix Cannes, in May the teams travelled to Cascais, Portugal for the HM King Juan Carlos Trophy and then in July they moved onto Kühlungsborn for the German Grand Prix. After a summer break that encompassed both the 100 boat Dragon Gold Cup in Medemblik and the spectacular 160 boat Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta in Sanremo, the teams now come together again for this final four day qualification regatta and two day grand finals, for which only the top twenty teams will qualify.

The sailors will be competing for three exciting new perpetual trophies which have been presented to the International Dragon Association (IDA) specifically for the competition.

The first of the new trophies to be awarded will be the Standfast Trophy, which will be presented to the overall top scoring boat from the qualifying regatta series. The Standfast Trophy has been gifted to the Class by leading international Dragon sailors Klaus Diederichs, who also heads the IDA’s Technical Committee, and Grant Gordon in honour of their late fathers, who each owned a Standfast yacht, and who shared a passion for sailing.

The top twenty teams from the qualifying series will go forward to the Grand Final. The first day of finals racing will feature up to four fleet races and the top ten teams will then progress into the final day of racing. That final day will feature Quarter and Semi-Finals before just four teams progress the Finals to decide the Champion.

The ultimate victor will be presented with the stunning Sami Salomaa Trophy, which has been created for the class by renowned Finnish sculptor and Dragon sailor Sami Salomma. The trophy, which is cast in bronze and entitled “Flow”, eloquently conveys the power and elegance of a Dragon powering upwind in heavy airs.

The winning Corinthian, all amateur, crew will receive the Lowell Phyllis Cup, a stunning antique silver cup which was originally created for Queen Marie of Denmark more than 160 years ago. The trophy has been presented by Lowell and Phyllis Chang of the Hong Kong Dragon fleet, who are both long standing supporters of Corinthian Dragon racing and who played a key role in the resurgence of the Hong Kong Dragon Class in the late 20th century.

Some 50 teams are expected to compete in the Dragon Grand Prix Spain with crews travelling from across Europe and Scandinavia and as far afield as Japan. Currently leading the series ranking is Russia’s Dmitry Samokhin who won the penultimate regatta in Germany. But he will have his work cut out to fend off serious challenges from Holland’s Pieter Heerema, Hugo Stenbeck of Switzerland, Russia’s Anatoly Loginov, Australian Peter Gilmour, sailing for the Japanese Yanmar team, Britain’s Grant Gordon, Portugal’s Pedro Rebelo de Andrade and Germany’s Otto Pohlmann, Marcus Brennecke and Stephan Link, all of whom are still in striking distance of the overall lead and fighting to secure their places in the Grand Final.

Newly appointed International Dragon Association Chairman Jens Rathsack of Monaco paid tribute to all who have helped make the new series such a triumph. “The concept for the Dragon European Cup Series was developed by my predecessor Vasily Senatorov, and his vision combined with the commitment of our sailors and the support of our host clubs has ensured outstanding success in this inaugural season. That over 100 teams from 20 nations across Europe, Asia and the Middle East have taken part in the four qualifying events is testament to the strength and depth of the Dragon Class. I eagerly anticipate finding out which 20 teams will qualify for the Grand Final and ultimately to congratulating our winners.

Already the venues and dates for the 2020 Dragon European Cup Series have been confirmed and I look forward to racing with the fleet in Palma de Mallorca in March, Scarlino in May, Douarnenez in August and Vilamoura in November. 2020’s International Dragon calendar will also encompass the Prince Philip Cup in Australia, the European Championship in Palma and the Dragon Gold Cup in Kinsale, Ireland, as well as a host of regional and national events.

With some 1400 boats registered and racing under 31 national class associations across four continents and more than 30 new boats being built each year, the Dragon Class is in excellent shape and I’m honoured to have been elected as its new Chairman. After more than 16 years enjoying great sailing and friendship on the international circuit it’s a pleasure to be able to give something back to the class and sport that has given me so very much.”

Full entry list and further details can be found at www.crpuertoportals.com

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Puerto Portals Grand Prix & Finals…


Dragons are arriving in Puerto Portals for the Grade 1 and Finals 11th to 16th November. 

With nearly 50 boats already entered for the last Grade 1 of 2019 the beautiful Puerto Portals on the west side of Mallorca is ready to host what will be an enthralling ending to a wonderful International Dragon season…

Not only will there be 4 days of racing (11th to 14th Nov) in the centre of Palma bay, but the top 20 qualifiers (counting their best 3 results from all the Grade 1’s) will participate in the European Cup Finals 15th & 16th Nov. A perfect “finale” to see who will be crowned Champions!

With an extended entry opportunity , Puerto Portals invites all Dragon teams to join the fun and travel over to sunny Mallorca in the next few weeks….   A simple and fair priced overnight ferry from Toulon to Alcudia or Barcelona to Palma will provide easy access to this great location..

More information and registration (the Organisers must know you are coming before you enter the port) can be found on web site crpuertoportals.com    Or email   info@crpuertoportals.com

Come and join the Party instead of sheltering from the rain at home!

Higher, Faster, Longer……     Stavros.


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IDA AGM 2019 San Remo – Flash Minutes

* Jens Rathsack elected IDA Chairman to succeed Vasily Senatorov
* Justus Kniffka elected as a Vice Chairman to succeed Helmut Schmidt
* They join current Vice Chairmen Marc Castagnet and Gérard Blanc, and Treasurer Anne Vanneste to form new IDA board
* New entity IDA Events Association is successfully used as funding vehicle for 90th Regatta and improving race management
* Electric bilge pump rule tightened to stop water ballast management
* 2023 Worlds to be in Bodrum, Turkey
* Safety Task Force investigates ways to prevent Dragons sinking

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Denmark’s Jens Christensen Declared Champion at Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul & Shark

  • Denmark’s Jens Christensen, Anders Bagger and Thomas Schmidt are declared Champions at Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul and Shark
  • Ivan Bradbury, Malte Phillip and Claus Oelsen are Classic Dragon 90th Anniversary Champions
  • Dragon fleet say a fond farewell and thank you to the Yacht Club Sanremo at Gala Prize Giving Ceremony

For the 150 participating crews, the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul & Shark will live on in their memories for many years to come. The regatta concluded in spectacular style with two glorious final races in an 8-10 knot sea breeze and a prize giving party that matched both the Dragon and the Yacht Club Sanremo’s renowned reputations for warm hospitality and exceptional camaraderie.

The regatta has brought together Dragon sailors old and new from all four corners of the globe to celebrate their beloved class. The racing has been superbly competitive, but it has only been a part of the story. Just as important has been the opportunity to mark 90 years of a boat that Johan Anker originally designed to be an inexpensive inter-islands cruiser for young people. From those simple beginnings has grown a class that transcends generations; that safely negotiated the transition from wood to GRP; that not only survived deselection as an Olympic class but used it as a platform to launch a whole new era of growth and success; and that today is one of the strongest international sailboat classes in the world.

The final day of racing in Sanremo was an absolute cliff-hanger as the leading teams played snakes and ladders on the leader board. The quality of the sailors is so high that the slightest stumble is punished mercilessly and several of the leading teams found themselves well down the pack in the opening race, as Anatoly Loginov sailing RUS27 ‘Annapurna’ romped home to race victory.

Going into the last race just two points separated the three leaders, Jens Christensen in DEN410 ‘Out of Bounce’, Victor Fogelson in RUS35 ‘Sunflower’ and GER16 ‘Ingrid’ sailed by Dirk Pramann. With all races to count the regatta was still wide open. Even getting that final race started was nerve-wracking as the race committee battled to get the fleet underway before the 16.00 cut off time, something they impressively achieved with just minutes to spare despite a general recall. Once underway it was to be nip and tuck all the way and as the teams crossed the line, led by Eugenii Braslavets in ITA77 ‘Bunker Prince’, none of them was quite certain who had won overall. It was only on arrival at the dock that Danish Olympian, Dragon European and two-time H-Boat World Champion Jens Christensen, crewed by Anders Bagger and Thomas Schmidt, was confirm as the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta Champion by a seven point margin over Pieter Heerema in NED412 ‘Troika’ who had finished second in the race. Third place overall went to Christof Wieland helming GER69 ‘Dirndlwind’ with Braslavets fourth.

After racing Jens Christensen explained, “In the first race we got a terrible start and we kind of wiggled our way out and we saw who was up there, so it was not disastrous, and we fought our way back and got ten or fifteen boats, so we finished twenty something. In the second race we got a good start and were fourth at the top mark and we could see how things were playing out and it didn’t look too bad, so we were just trying to hang in there. But we were not 100% sure, but I felt it looked pretty good.”

Racing in the Silver Fleet was equally exciting with victory ultimately going to Per Arne Nilsen sailing NOR275 ‘The Knucker’ with Philipp Skafte-Holm in DEN394 ‘Blue Lady’ third and Richard Franklin in AUS216 ‘Liquidity’ third.

In the Classics Fleet, for planked wooden Dragons built prior to 1972, first place went to Ivan Bradbury sailing GBR375 Blue Haze, a beautifully restored and maintained 1959 Pedersen & Theusen, which also finished 26th in the overall classification.

At the prize giving there were two very special presentations. The first was a privately commissioned silver bowl which was presented on behalf of the Dragon sailors by incoming International Dragon Association (IDA) Chairman Jens Rathsack to Vasily Senatorov, who stands down as IDA Chairman tomorrow. Jens paid tribute to Vasily’s personal commitment to the class, and in particular to his determination in bringing this Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta to fruition. As he came to the stage, Vasily received a standing ovation from his fellow Dragonists.

The second special presentation was the Spirit of the Dragon Class Trophy which is awarded to a team from the Classic Division who embody the true spirit, fair play and seamanship of the class. The winner is elected by his fellow sailors and to rousing applause Ireland’s Don Street, who raced the oldest boat in the regatta IRL15 Gypsy, came forward to receive the trophy. Don kept his acceptance speech typically brief but entertaining saying simply, “I sailed a 1937 boat at the 75th Anniversary Regatta, here I’ve sailed an 86-year-old boat and I’m 89 years old, and I’m aiming to do the 100th Anniversary Regatta too!”

With the formalities completed the band struck up and the sailors enjoyed one final evening celebrating this unique milestone in their class’s history. America’s Cup veteran and four time World Match Racing Champion Peter Gilmour, who finished the week in fourth overall sailing event sponsor Yanmar’s JPN56 ‘YRED’, summed up the feelings of so many when he said; “This has been an extraordinary event, to see first of all so many Dragons all together and also to have that big race where we were all on the start line together. It’s been a difficult week to get all the racing in, but we have a winner and that’s exciting. I’ll never forget in 2001 when they held the anniversary event for the America’s Cup Jubilee in Cowes, and this is just as significant.”

Grant Gordon of event sponsor Glenfiddich, who also raced the regatta at the helm of GBR820 Louise finishing ninth overall, paid tribute to all the very many people who helped make the regatta happen. ‘San Remo did our Class, arguably ‘the world’s greatest classic one- design keelboat’, very proud. There was a wonderful atmosphere throughout the whole of the Dragon 90th regatta. Thank you to all the volunteers and organisers for an unforgettable event.’

Whilst the sun has now set on the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul & Shark, the season will continue for the Dragons, with the next major event in the calendar being the Dragon Grand Prix Spain and grand finals of the Dragon European Cup Series which take place in Puerto Portals, Mallorca from 11 to 16 November 2019.

Full results can be found at www.dragon90.com and updates from the regatta are available on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and at www.dragon90.com

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Light Airs, Big Seas and Close Racing on Day 4 of the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta

  • Opening race of the Finals series completed in light airs and big seas following Gold and Silver Fleet splits on fourth day of the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul and Shark
  • Denmark’s Jens Christensen wins Gold Fleet race to take three point overall regatta lead
  • Yanmar host delightful aftersail party as Dragon sailors continue to enjoy the perfect combination of great racing and warm hospitality at Yacht Club Sanremo

10 October 2019 – Sanremo, Italy – Day four of the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul & Shark saw the fleet divided into Gold and Silver groups following the initial qualifying rounds, with the boats carrying their overall ranking position from the qualifiers into the final series. Going into the day the forecast looked super light and there was a big question over whether sailing would even be possible. Luckily, just as the sailors were settling in for a morning of coffee drinking and chat, a light easterly sprang up and everyone was called afloat.

In the race area the teams found a nice 8-10 knot breeze from the north east accompanied by a large swell from the west and a strong west to east current which was pushing them over the line. Aware that the breeze may not stay long the race committee moved quickly and after a couple of false starts both fleets were underway. The wind held up the beat, but on the run, it began to drop. With the boats fighting against the current and big seas the effect was to compress the fleet, who found themselves gybing at acute angles to try and retain boat speed. As the wind began to die completely the committee wisely decided to stop both fleets after a single lap. It soon became clear that the breeze would not be returning, and further hopes of racing were abandoned for the day.

The Gold Fleet took two attempts to start, the second being under U Flag with only Britain’s Mike Budd being called over the line. The quality of the fleet is exceptional and despite the difficult conditions the boats remained closely bunched around the course. Jens Christensen in DEN410 ‘Out of Bounce’ took a narrow early lead from Germany’s Christof Wieland aboard GER69 ‘Ingrid’, and he then spent the rest of the race fighting off Wieland’s endless advances. On the line the two were separated by less than a boat length with Pedro Mendes Leal in POR87 ‘Uranus’ third, Nicola Friesen’s GER1207 ‘Kahleesi’ fourth and Pieter Heerema in NED412 ‘Troika’ fifth.

In the Gold Fleet overall standings Jens Christensen now counts three points, giving him a five-point lead over Pieter Heerema. Britain’s Mike Hayles aboard GBR764 ‘Naiad’ finished tenth in the race, which combines with his first place from the qualifiers to put him into third overall. American Mike Breivik in USA88 ‘Jupiter’ finished eighth and now counts fourteen points, putting him fourth overall with a two-point delta on fifth placed Christof Wieland.

In the Silver fleet the race winner was Ole Christian Gahr Vordahl sailing NOR300 ‘Still Crazy’, who now has a seven-point overall lead from Walter J Zuercher in SUI322 ‘Gitane Eight’. Per Arne Nilsen sailing NOR275 ‘The Knucker’ finished third in the race and is third overall, a single point behind Zuercher and a single point ahead of Richard Franklin in AUS216 ‘Liquidity’. The Silver Fleet top five is rounded out by Philipp Skafte-Holm’s DEN394 ‘Blue Lady’.

Back ashore the sailors were in complete agreement with the committee’s decision to shorten the race as Soling and 5.5 Metre World Champion Ron Rosenberg, sailing this week as tactician for Mike Breivik, explained. “The Race Committee has been doing an outstanding job here, managing two racecourses of nearly 80 boats each, it’s been really quite remarkable, they achieve such a high level of race management.”

For Rosenberg, a thirty-year veteran of the Dragon fleet, racing with Mike Breivik is turning out to be not only a personal pleasure, but also an unexpectedly competitive experience too, as Mike only started sailing just over two years ago. A mutual friend introduced the pair, explaining that Mike, a competitive skier in slalom and giant slalom and marathon runner, was interested in learning to sail better. Mike and his wife had previous powerboating experience but had only recently decided to learn to sail. He’d caught the bug and now wanted to improve quickly.

Rosenburg knew that the European Dragon class was the perfect fit for Breivik and last year they chartered a boat and did two regattas together. Breivik took to it like a duck to water and when Ron suggested they attend the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta he jumped at the chance. Asked about his experience of racing against multiple Olympians, World Champions and America’s Cup veterans and of taking on yesterday’s 150 boat Anniversary Race start line he said. “It’s been an unbelievable experience, a little bit nerve wracking out there today and with the big race yesterday, but a lot of fun and I really enjoy it. I’ll definitely be back for more!”

Whilst competitive racing lies at the heart of the Dragon fleet, camaraderie and fun are also an important part of class life. Back ashore the participants ensured they kept up that carefully nurtured balance by enjoying a delightful dockside aftersail party hosted by event sponsor Yanmar.

Racing for tomorrow’s final day of competition is scheduled to start at 11.00, there is a latest start cut off time of 16.00 and a maximum of three races remain to be sailed to decide the overall winner of the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta. This extraordinary week-long celebration of the International Dragon’s 90th Birthday will conclude with a spectacular final Gala Prize Giving party.

Full results can be found at www.dragon90.com and you can follow the regatta on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and at www.dragon90.com

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A Sailing Extravaganza on Day 3 of the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul & Shark

  • Day three of the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul & Shark featured a spectacular 90th Anniversary Race as 150 boats came together on a single start line
  • Gold and Silver Fleet splits announced for series finals.
  • Participants enjoy a gala dinner and birthday celebration evening

9 October 2019 – Sanremo, Italy – The Dragon is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful one-design keel boats in the world, and the spectacle of 150 Dragons coming together on a single start line to celebrate the class’s 90th Anniversary was truly a visual delight. For the 150 crews who have flown in from all corners of the globe to compete in the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul and Shark, the 90th Anniversary Race was the experience of a lifetime. For race winners Benedikt Gach, Johannes Schmohl and Florian Abele from Germany, it was quite simply a day that exceeded all possible expectation.

The Yacht Club Sanremo’s Race Committee had set a special course with a 3 mile beat to ensure fleet separation prior to the first mark. This was followed by a down-wind leg featuring two reaches and then a run into the finish. The fleet came close to getting underway at the first attempt, but a wind shift in the closing moments of the sequence forcing the committee to hoist the postponement flag and abandon. Within a few minutes the breeze had stabilised again, and the second attempt was stunningly successful with the huge fleet all hitting the line together.

With a north easterly breeze of around 12-15 knots Benedikt Gach sailing GER1216 got a good start, hit the left side of the beat and sailed superbly well to head the fleet at the first mark. Jens Rathsack in MON2 ‘Jeanie’ rounded the first mark 100 yards behind him with Ron James helming GBR633 ‘Fei Lin’s-Flirtation’ at the head of the chasing pack. From this point onward the leading three held position and were never seriously challenged, but the battle behind them for fourth place went down to the wire. Ultimately, Frank Berg helming DEN408 ‘Flawless’ took fourth, with Gerard Blanc helming FRA409 ‘Tsuica’ fifth and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox helming GBR761 ‘Jerboa’ sixth. As the rest of the fleet streamed over the line it was all the recorders could do to keep up as they came through thick and fast.

A former Laser sailor, Benedikt Gach is no stranger to big fleet starting but this was his biggest Dragon race by some way. His fortunes on the first day of racing had been mixed, leaving him in the lower half of the fleet, but today Gach and his team made a plan, executed it perfectly and kept their cool, as he explained after racing. “We decided basically to go for the left side and that it was more important for us to go left than get a good start. We had quite a nice spot there with free wind and we got some nice shifts on the left side and it worked out pretty well. Being a lake sailor, I’m not too used to sailing downwind in waves, so we expected that we would lose some of the lead, but amazingly we managed to hold everyone off! We are really enjoying the regatta, it has great organisation, great hospitality and the race organisation is great, so it’s just perfect.”

The fleet assembled truly represents the diversity of the Dragons. The Dragon is sailed in over 40 countries, there are 31 official National Class Associations and 26 of those nations from four continents are represented this week. The oldest boat racing is IRL15 Gypsy which was built in 1933 and the newest is but a few months old. Gypsy also perfectly demonstrates the wide age range of the crews, with her Skipper Don Street being the oldest competitor at 89 years and his crew Fin Bradburn being the youngest at 16. Dragon sailing gets into the blood and it’s no surprise to see many family crews here, with two and even three generations of the same family often racing together. With the option to sail three or four up, mixed, youth and ladies’ crews are common too. The longevity of the Dragon is also extraordinary with the classics (wooden Dragons built before 1972) regularly featuring among the top performers this week.

With the big Anniversary Race completed the fleet was divided for one off races, designed to highlight that diversity and quality. These included races for lady helms, juniors, masters, crews, classics and to decide the Champion of Champions. Results from the special group races can be found at www.dragon90.com.

The Classics race went to Aleksei Zigadlo’s beautiful RUS12 ‘Drug’. First lady was Laura Dillon helming GBR770 ‘Storm’. The first junior was Charlotte Ten Wolde in NED435 ‘Olinghi’. The crew’s race went to Caspar Dohse sailing with his family on GER1151 ‘Puck’ and the first family crew was SUI306 ‘Ozio’ owned by Fabio Trotta. After his third place in the Anniversary Race, Ron James was clearly on a role and also claimed victory in the master’s division.

It says something about the quality of the Dragon Class that the Champion of Champions fleet, for which you needed to be an Olympic, World or Continental Championship medallist from any class or from the Dragon Gold Cup, was the largest of the special fleets with 49 entries. The shifty winds made for a tough race and the leading four boats slugged it out all the way round the course, but on the line current Dragon European Cup Series leader Dmitry Samokin, sailing RUS76 ‘Rocknrolla’, took victory by a narrow margin from multi class dinghy champion Mike Budd in GBR818 ‘Harry’, with Alexander Ezhkov in RUS2 ‘Alisa’ third and Dragon Gold Cup and two time Dragon European Champion Anatoly Loginov sailing RUS27 ‘Annapurna’ fourth.

The crews returned ashore on a natural high and the fun continued into the evening with the spectacular Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta Gala Dinner, held at the elegant waterside Victory Morgana night club, a superbly preserved example of Italian Rationalism architecture. Alongside the prizes for the days special races there were also a number of special presentations.

The splits for the Gold and Silver fleets have now been decided and tomorrow the fleet will return to series racing. Two Finals races are planned with the scores from the two race qualifying series being carried forward. The regatta will conclude on Friday 11th October.

Full results can be found at www.dragon90.com and you can follow the regatta on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and at www.dragon90.com

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