Continuing strong winds forced the Segelclub Kühlungsborn race committee to delay the start of racing on day three of the Dragon Grand Prix Germany, but the wait was worth it as the teams enjoyed races 3 and 4 of the series in a north westerly of around 15-18 knots. At times it was more like snakes and ladders than yacht racing as the closely matched fleet of 40 boats vied for position at every mark and even the big names found themselves buried in the pack at times.
Overnight leader Peter Gilmour, sailing with Sam Gilmour and Yasuhiro Jaji, kicked his day off with a nice steady second in race three. His start in race four was a little lacklustre and in a fleet of this caliber the slightest mistake brings cruel punishment, so he found himself with a lot of work to do. As he rounded the final gate he was still buried; “We came round the last mark five abreast and I’ve no idea how there was no contact. We made up about ten places on the last beat.” Those ten places put him into third place, his worst result of the series but more than sufficient to retain his overall lead with a comfortable, but not totally unassailable seven point delta on Russia’s Dmitry Samokin.
Samokhin, crewed by three time Olympian Andrey Kirilyuk and Aleksey Bushuev, was the top performer of the day, winning race three with confidence and before going on to snatch a second place from near disaster in race four. “Inside ten minutes before the start we had a problem with our boom vang, which we had to rebuild so we missed the start by several seconds, which was crucial. We had to tack quite early away from the right side which was favoured and was where we wanted to go, but we had to tack to the left and we ended up being 26th at the top mark, but we managed to fight back to second.” Explained Samokhin after racing.
Germany’s Otto Pohlmann, crewed by triple Olympic Silver Medallist Mateusz Kuscnierewicz and South African Star sailor and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Charles Nankin, took third in race three and crossed the line in 18th in race four. However, they had been involved in an on the water incident and the won the resulting protest so were awarded redress and as a result move up from fifth to third place overall on 22 points.
Holland’s Pieter Heerema, crewed by Dragon World, European and Gold Cup Champion Lars Hendriksen and Olympic 49er Silver Medallist George Leonchuk, came fourteenth and then won race four to jump from seventh to fourth place on 30 points, while French offshore specialist Gery Trentesaux, sailing with match racer Eric Brezellec, J22 World Champion Jean Queveau and Christian Ponthin leaps from eighth to fifth on 33 points.
The day was not kind to Russia’s Anatoly Loginov, sailing with Vadim Statsenko and Alexander Shalagin, who went into it lying second overall. An incident with another boat in race three resulted in damage to their mast and left them limping home in twentieth place. They managed to take part in race four but could only finish eleventh, dropping them down into fifth overall on 35 points.
In the Corinthian Division for all amateur crews Philip Dohse, sailing with his wife Nicola Dohse, Volker Kramer and Christian Möller, had a great day finishing tenth and sixth, putting him into ninth place overall and top Corinthian. Sweden’s Martin Pälsson, who is crewed by Goran Alm and Gustav Gärdebäck and dropped down to second Corinthian ahead of Karl-Gustaf Löhr, Jesper Bendix and Mads Hansen who remain in third place.
With only five of the eight scheduled races completed so far the Race Committee has announced that it will bring the start of racing forward by an hour to 10.00 on the final day. There is a latest warning signal cut off time of 15.00 so everyone, with the possible exception of Mr Gilmour, will be very much hoping to achieve two more races. The single discard will be introduced once race five has been completed.
Whilst the German weather may not have been too hot this week the hospitality has been exceptionally warm and after sailing the crews enjoyed a delicious home made sausage and potato salad meal made by the Segelclub Kühlungsborn and more free beers courtesty of Yanmar.
Provisional Top 10 After 4 Races
Peter Glimour – JPN56 – 1, 1, 2, 3 = 7
Dmitry Samokhin – RUS75 – 4, 6, 1, 2 = 13
Pieter Heerema – NED412 – 12, 3, 14, 1 = 30
Otto Pohlmann – GER1205 – 7, 4, 3, 18 = 32
Gery Trentesaux – FRA428 – 10, 8, 5, 10 =33
Anatoly Loginov – RUS27 – 2, 2, 20, 11 = 35
Stephan Link – GER1162 – 6, 7, 13, 12 = 38
Marcus Brennecke – GER1170 – 21, 9, 4, 5 = 39
Philip Dohse – GER1151 – 16, 13, 10, 6 = 45
Nicola Friesen – GER1207 = 11, 16, 6, 17 = 50