Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 – Final Report, Video & Pictures

The final day of the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 in Medemblik was a frustrating one as the wind refused to stabilise sufficiently to complete a race. From 11.00 to 14.30 the Committee made repeated attempts to get a race underway, but despite there being wind in the race area it simply wouldn’t stop shifting and ultimately no race was possible.

Pedro Andrade, Star class veteran Christian Giannini and Joao Vidinha sailing for Portugal were therefore confirmed as worthy and very popular Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 Champions. They’d had battled several major gear failures during the week, including a broken gooseneck, ripped spinnaker, failed bilge pumps and a broken runner, but in spite of that, they not only won the regatta, but won it by a convincing ten points.

Andrade, who has made the Gold Cup podium twice before but never won it, was keen to pay tribute to his rivals. “They sailed really well and it was hard to stay ahead of them sometimes. Peter Gilmour had one bad race, otherwise he would have been really close to us. And Pieter Heerema was always looking smart somewhere on the race course, but fortunately it went our way, but still a great job by those two teams.” In his acceptance speech he also paid tribute to his crew and to the organisers and sponsors who did such a superb job of running the regatta.

Second place overall went to Vendee Globe veteran Pieter Heerema,of The Netherlands, who was sailing with 2005 49er World Champion George Leonchuck and Lars Hendricksen, who has won the Gold Cup twice as a helm and is also a double Dragon European Champion. Heerema has made the Gold Cup podium three times before, including last year with the same crew, and was surely hoping that it was his turn to be the bride and not the bridesmaid, but it was not to be.

The final overall podium place was claimed by America’s Cup and World Match Racing legend Peter Gilmour, his son Sam, also a top International Match Racer and Yasuhiro Yaji, who was part of Peter’s Japanese America’s Cup team. Had it not been for a disastrous third race the result might have been different, but the no discard rule is one of the things that makes the Dragon Gold Cup such a very special and challenging trophy to win and it put paid to Peter’s hopes.

Double Olympic Gold Medallist and Dragon sailing legend Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, who the Dragon fleet call simply The Man in recognition of his immense contribution to the class, took victory in the Corinthian Division, or has he calls it the “weekend sailors’ class”. Crewed by old friends Hamish McKay and Chris Brittain, 75 years young Poul may now class himself as a weekender, but he has won the Gold Cup an incredible five times and remains a fearsome competitor, also finishing ninth in the overall competition this week. After sailing he paid tribute to the quality of the event organisation. “They could not have got it much better, we had light wind, we had good strong wind, and they have organised it very very well.”

Second place in the Corinthian Division went to Sweden’s Martin Pålsson, Peter Lindh and Thomas Wallenfeldt, while local hero Jan Bakker, who sailed his first Gold Cup in 1963 and raced this week with his sons Dominic and Oliver, took the third step on the Corinthian Podium.

The Nations Cup Trophy, for the three boat national teams competition, was won by the British Team of Grant Gordon, Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox with 214 points. In second were the Russian Team of Dmitry Samokhin, Anatoly Loginov and Igor Goikhberg with 220 points, while third was the Danish Team of Frank Berg, Jens Christensen and Jørgen Schönherr.

Dutchman Ivo Kok’s NED275 took home the Silver Cup Trophy which is awarded to the winner of the Silver Fleet or the boat that finishes at the mid point in the ranking if the regatta is sailed as one fleet. This team are great characters in the Dutch fleet and their win was very well received.

At the prize giving there were special thanks for event sponsor Yanmar for their most gracious and generous hospitality and their very direct and personal support of the event. Tribute was also paid to the incredible volunteers of the Royal Netherlands and Royal Hollandia Yacht Clubs and the Dutch Dragon Association. The warm welcome, the wonderful sense of camaraderie, the fantastic parties, the incredible job they did of running racing in what were without doubt exceptionally difficult conditions, and the seamless shoreside logistics were quite simply exemplary.

The 2020 edition of the Dragon Gold Cup will be held in Kinsale, Ireland from 5 to 11 September 2020. This always popular Dragon sailing venue combines a wonderful shoreside ambiance with superb racing on the spectacular Bay of Kinsale and great Irish craic, so another great turnout is expected. Further information about the event is available from www.dragongoldcup2020.com

Later this year, the International Dragon celebrate its 90th birthday and the class will be celebrating in style with a very special Gala Regatta to be held in Sanremo, Italy from 5 to 11 October 2019. The event will bring together Dragons, Dragon sailors and friends of the class from around the globe and across the generations to celebrate this milestone in the class’s history. Already 130 entries from 25 nations and four continents have confirmed their participation. Further information about the 90th Anniversary Regatta can be found at www.dragon90.com.

Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 – Overall Top Ten

Pedro Andrade, POR84 – 4, 5, 2, 9, 4 = 24
Pieter Heerema, NED412 – 3, 1, 15, 5, 10 = 34
Peter Gilmour, JAP56 – 2, 2, 28, 2, 5 = 39
Anatoly Loginov, RUS27 – 8, 4, 11, 4, 13 = 40
Grant Gordon, GBR820 – 5, 12, 10, 14, 1 = 42
Dmitry Samokhin, RUS76 – 1, 7, 5, 11, 19 = 43
Gery Trentesaux, FRA428 – 6, 22, 19, 3, 3 = 53
Evgenii Braslavets, ITA77 – 17, 31, 4, 1, 2 = 55
Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, GBR822 – 13, 3, 7, 17, 15 = 55
Stephan Link, GER1162 – 12, 14, 1, 32, 7 = 66

Full Results

All images courtesy of Eric van den Bandt. A full gallery is available at www.ericvandenbandt.nl

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Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 – Day 5 Report, Video & Photos

The fifth and penultimate race of the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 was yet another heavy airs humdinger. With 18-22 knots average and gusts up to 27 knots from the south-south-west, plus a punishing short chop, it was seat of the pants stuff for even the most experienced crews. Britain’s Ron James, a stalwart of the International Dragon circuit, crewed this week by Nigel Young of North Sails Ireland and Ian Turnbull, summed the day up succinctly saying, “I don’t think I’ve ever been as fast in a Dragon before, it really was pretty extreme.”

Although strong the wind was relatively stable in direction and the race committee was able to get the fleet away cleanly at only the second time of asking. The five leg windward leeward course was the longest of the regatta so far with an individual leg length of 2.6 miles, and by the end of it the entire fleet was physically and mentally drained. At the first mark Germany’s Stefan Link headed the fleet by a whisker from the closely bunched pack led by Russia’s Evgenii Braslavets with Peter Gilmour sailing for Japan third, Sweden’s Martin Pålsson fourth, regatta leader Pedro Andrade of Portugal fifth and Britain’s Grant Gordon sixth.

There were some big gusts on the first run and a number of boats, including several of the top crews, found themselves unexpectedly pirouetting into spectacular broaches and even an impressive Chinese gybe. Gordon was steady as a rock through and gained sufficient ground that at the first leeward gate he was able to snatch the lead which he then successful defended to the finish. After racing he explained, “We were happy with the race today and I’m very happy with how the guys worked, the boat is going fast. We were fortunate at the first bottom mark rounding to get a jump on Evgenii Braslavets and Stefan Link and we managed just to sneak through and led from there.” Following Gordon across the finish line were Braslavets, Frenchman Gery Trentesaux, Andrade, Gilmour, Pålsson and Link.

In the overall standings and with just one race remaining to sail, today’s fourth place puts Pedro Andrade into a ten point lead over nearest rival Pieter Heerema who finished the race in tenth. Peter Gilmour’s fifth moves him up two places into third, five points behind Heerema. Anatoly Loginov finished the race in thirteenth, which was sufficient for him to hold onto fourth overall, while Grant Gordon’s win jumped him up two places into fifth. Overnight third placed Dmitry Samokhin had a tricky day ending up nineteenth, and drops from third to sixth, nine points behind Andrade. Whilst Andrade’s lead is comfortable this is a no discard regatta and so anything could still happen with tomorrow’s final race, which gets underway at the earlier time of 11.00 and for which there is a 14.30 latest start time.

Martin Pålsson was the top performing Corinthian sailor of the day but fellow Corinthian’s Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen and Jan Bakker were close behind him and so there are no changes on the Corinthian leader board with Hoj-Jensen first, Pålsson second and Bakker third going into the final race.

Alongside the individual competition the Dragon Gold Cup also features a National team competition for the Nations Cup Trophy. The first three boats to finish in race one of the event form the team for each nation and their cumulative scores from each race then decide the winning team. Going into the final race this year’s Nations Cup competition is being led by the British Team of Grant Gordon, Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox with 214 points. In second is the Russian Team of Dmitry Samokhin, Anatoly Loginov and Igor Goikhberg with 220 points, and third is the home Netherlands Team of Pieter Heerema, Charlotte ten Wolde and John den Engelsman on 256 points.

After racing the crews came together at the pretty harbour side regatta village for a delightful Dutch Party supported by Van Omme & De Groot Project Development with live music and delicious food courtesy of the famous Music Cafe Brakeboer. The evening also featured a Gold Cup Tombola in which competitors and event volunteers found themselves winning some 10,000 Euros worth of prizes. These included a Fritz Sails jib, a Tacktick and Dock Fenders from Doomernick Yachts, a fabulous four day coaching clinic including boat in Portugal with Pedro Andrade’s 8th Dimension Racing for a Corinthian crew, Pig & Hen hand made nautical bracelets, a Yanmar stand-up paddle board and a host of other goodies.The organisers also took the opportunity to announce that at Wednesday night’s Happy Hour party some Euro 1500 had been raised through contributions by event sponsor Yanmar, the Dutch Dragon Association and the Gold Cup sailors for the event’s official charity INLOOPHUIS of Medemblik, which offers coaching and a warm welcome for cancer patients and people with mental issues like burn out or anorexia. A number of INLOOPHUIS’s clients had attended the Happy Hour party where they’d joined the sailors in singing and dancing to the ‘t Scheepstuygh’ Shanty Singers of Schagen.

The regatta will conclude tomorrow, Friday 14 June with a sixth and final race and the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup Prize Giving, which will take place at the Medemblik Regatta Centre.

Provisional Top Ten After Five Races

  1.  Pedro Andrade, POR84 – 4, 5, 2, 9, 4 = 24
  2. Pieter Heerema, NED412 – 3, 1, 15, 5, 10 = 34
  3. Peter Gilmour, JAP56 – 2, 2, 28, 2, 5 = 39
  4. Anatoly Loginov, RUS27 – 8, 4, 11, 4, 13 = 40
  5. Grant Gordon, GBR820 – 5, 12, 10, 14, 1 = 42
  6. Dmitry Samokhin, RUS76 – 1, 7, 5, 11, 19 = 43
  7. Gery Trentesaux, FRA428 – 6, 22, 19, 3, 3 = 53
  8. Evgenii Braslavets, ITA77 – 17, 31, 4, 1, 2 = 55
  9. Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, GBR822 – 13, 3, 7, 17, 15 = 55
  10. Stephan Link, GER1162 – 12, 14, 1, 32, 7 = 66

Full Results

Day 5 images from Eric van den Bandt. Full gallery will be available from www.ericvandenbandt.nl

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Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup – Day 4 Report, Videos & Photos

The 93 strong International Dragon fleet had to face a rain storm of almost biblical proportions on the fourth day of the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 in Medemblik, as race four of the six-race series was completed. The teams left the dock under leaden skies in a boisterous northerly for the long sail out to the race area. The race committee’s first attempt at starting under U Flag had to be recalled as the fleet was simply over eager. The second had to be postponed because of a fifteen-degree right shift, and the third also had to be postponed before they finally got away under black flag at the fourth time of asking.

Right was the way to go on the first beat and the boats stormed off up upwind in 18 knots from 020 degrees, pounding into the notoriously aggressive Ijsselmeer chop. As they rounded the weather mark the rain began and by the end of the first lap it was torrential and had set in for the race. It was another extremely difficult day for the tacticians as the rain played havoc with the wind direction and speed. On the final run it began to drop right away and the last beat was a painful slow crawl to the line.

Hungary’s Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi initially headed the fleet, but at the first leeward gate Peter Gilmour’s Japanese Team Yanmar slid into the lead by a whisker from Holland’s Pieter Heerema, Kis-Szölgyémi, Denmark’s Jens Christensen and Germany’s Marcus Brennecke. Russia’s Anatoly Loginov rounded in sixth with Britain’s Gavia Wilkinson-Cox and Switzerland’s Hugo Stenbeck side by side and right on his tail. Frenchman Gery Tretesaux and overnight leader Pedro Andrade of Portugal rounded out the top ten at the end of the first lap.

The fleet is so evenly matched that place changes were constant. Up front Gilmour was using all his many years of experience to fend off multiple challengers and he very nearly succeeded, but while Heerema, Christensen and Brennecke lost ground, Evgenii Braslavets was on the charge and tore up the tricky light airs final beat in masterly style. On the final approach to the line Braslavets snatched victory from Gilmour with Trenteseaux third, Loginov fourth, Heerema fifth and Brennecke sixth.
Overnight leader Pedro Andrade seemed to be slightly off the pace, but unbeknown to his fellow competitors, for the second time in the series he was suffering major gear failure which would almost force him to pull out. Andrade takes up the story “We had a good start and we had good speed, but all of a sudden we realised that our [electric] pumps weren’t working, and we were just about to sink. At one point we thought about getting the buckets and furling the jib because the water was above the floor boards and the boat was so heavy I was struggling to steer. We tacked onto port in the hope that the pumps would like that better, but they didn’t and then I was just trying to find lanes where no one would lee bow us or roll us. All three of us had to pump the boat upwind and we were exhausted and dropped back, but on the final beat I just thought to myself that I have to pull myself together and start sailing a bit and performing, and we managed to get a few shifts. There were a lot of big shifts on the last beat and we had two or three good shifts and we had a nice lane and we managed to get back into the top ten, then we passed Dmitry [Samokhin] and we almost got Gavia [Wilkinson-Cox] too, but we were very happy to finish ninth.”

The sheer gutsy determination of Andrade and his crew of Christian Giannini and Joao Vidinha enabled them to retain their overall lead in the regatta by four points. Behind them Pieter Heerema and Dmitry Samokhin both count 24 points while Anatoly Loginov is four further points back in fourth. Peter Gilmour’s second place moves him back up the leader board by three places into fifth, fourteen points adrift of the lead, while Braslavets’ win moves him up three places into tenth overall. Andrade is now the only sailor with an all top ten score card, but with no discard and two further races still to sail the championship remains wide open.

The top performing Corinthian Team of the day was Germany’s Philip Dohse, crewed by wife Nicola, daughter Pia and Volker Kramer. Sweden’s Martin Pålsson, crewed by Peter Lindh and Thomas Wallenfeld, was the second Corinthian team home, despite the fact that Martin had received a nasty bump on the nose yesterday and was sporting an impressive nose dressing. After racing he wryly joked “I banged my nose on the mainsheet rather badly and saw the doctor after racing. She kindly dressed it for me and put a protective cover on it and told me that I must keep it dry and stay out of the sun for the next several weeks. I of course reassured her that I would do this!”. Denmark’s Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen and old friends Chris Brittain and Hamish McKay took third place in the Corinthian race and continue to lead the Corinthian Division overall from Pålsson with the father and sons Bakker family of Jan, Oliver and Dominic in third.

Gavia Wilkinson-Cox is one of four ladies helming this week and her eighth place today means that she is now also the leading lady. Indeed, the competition between the ladies is proving to be exceptionally close with Gavia in 20th overall, Charlotte ten Wolde of the Netherlands in 21st and Nicola Friesen of Germany in 22nd. Finland’s Sarah Antila is sailing in her first major International Dragon event this week and trails the more experienced ladies a little, but she’s getting to grips with the big fleet and huge race courses and is currently lying in a very creditable 43rd. With two more races to go no doubt we can look forward a great fight for the honour of finishing top lady at the event.

There are two further days and two more races yo go before the regatta will be completed. The forecast for day five is for more rain and very strong winds so everyone will be closely watching the updates and keeping fingers and toes crossed that conditions are sailable. The regatta concludes on Friday 14 June.

Provisional Top Ten After Four Races

1. Pedro Andrade, POR84 – 4, 5, 2, 9 = 20
2. Pieter Heerema, NED412 – 3, 1, 15, 5 = 24
3. Dmitry Samokhin, RUS76 – 1, 7, 5, 11 = 24
4. Anatoly Loginov, RUS27 – 8, 4, 11, 4 = 27
5. Peter Gilmour, JAP56 – 2, 2, 28, 2 = 34
6. Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, GBR822 – 13, 3, 7, 17 = 40
7. Grant Gordon, GBR820 – 5, 12, 10, 14 = 41
8. Jens Christensen, DEN410 – 9, 13, 17, 7 = 46
9. Gery Trentesaux, FRA428 – 6, 22, 19, 3 = 50
10. Evgenii Braslavets, ITA77 – 17, 31, 4, 1 = 53

All images are courtesy of Elena Razina

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Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 – Day 3 Report

11 June 2019 – Medemblik, Netherlands – As the regatta reached its mid-point, there were mixed fortunes for the leading teams on day three of the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 in Medemblik. Going into the day Holland’s Pieter Heerema, and Peter Gilmour sailing for Japan were at the top of the leader board with four points apiece. Russia’s Dmitry Samokhin was in third on eight points and Portugal’s Pedro Andrade fourth with nine points.

Daybreak brought heavy rain with a south westerly in the mid to upper teens, but as the noon start time approached the skies began to clear. Unfortunately, those clear skies came with some significant wind shifts and twice the race committee had to reorganise the start line before racing got underway. Once underway those shifts plus regular changes in velocity were to put the sailors under major pressure. Picking your start line spot and finding clear lanes in the right places in a fleet of almost 100 boats is never easy, but it was particularly challenging today.

Off the line Heerema and Gilmour both struggled and found themselves buried mid fleet. Up ahead Germany’s Stephan Link led for the first time in the series, but the chasing pack were right on his heels. As they came into the second weather mark Link had a couple of boat lengths lead but after almost 8 miles of racing the next nine boats were all still overlapped. In a high risk but ultimately very impressive manoeuvre Andrade managed to shoot the mark with millimeter precision to slip inside Australia’s Simon Prosser, with Samokhin, Denmark’s Frank Berg, Dutchman Bram de Wilde, Switzerland’s Wolf Waschkuhn, Britain’s Martin Payne and Russia’s Evgenii Braslavets and Anatoly Loginov all chasing hard. Heerema was down in twenty-seventh and Gilmour thirty-eighth.

Down the second run Link opened up his lead a little, while Berg climbed to second ahead of Andrade with Prosser fourth, Samokhin fifth and Waschkuhn sixth. Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen sailed a superb run to move up from the teens into eighth place, ahead of de Wilde and Braslavets. Heerema had managed to claw himself into the low twenties, but Gilmour continued to languish in the thirties.

The final beat was to be an absolute humdinger, “It was more like match racing than fleet racing” said Andrade after sailing. Link hung onto his lead by the skin of his teeth while Andrade just made back it into second ahead of Prosser. Braslavets took fourth, Samokhin fifth, Waschkuhn sixth and Hoj-Jensen seventh. Only too well aware that there are no discards in this series, Heerema sailed his socks off to finish in fifteenth and Gilmour managed to claw his way up to twenty-eighth. After racing a surprisingly sanguine Gilmour admitted “There was no one specific issue, it just wasn’t our day today.”

With three of the six races now completed Pedro Andrade, sailing with Christian Giannini and Joao Vidinha has moved into a two-point lead over Dmitry Samokhin, crewed by Aleksey Bushyev and Andrey Kirilyuk. After their disappointing start, the herculean recovery efforts of Pieter Heereman and his crew George Leonchuk and Lars Hendriksen helped ensure they dropped no further down the leader board than third, six points behind Samokhin.

Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen is clearly loving being back in the Dragon with his old team mates Chris Brittain and Hamish McKay and not only has he strengthened his hold on the Corinthian competition, but he has also moved up from sixth to fourth place overall, four points behind Samokhin and on equal points with Anatoly Loginov, crewed by Alexander Shalagin and Vadim Statsenko. Stephan Link, Frank Butzmann and Micky Lipp’s race win jumps them from ninth to sixth overall with a four point delta on Loginov and onto equal points Grant Gordon, Alex Warren, James Williamson and Ruairidh Scott who finished tenth in the race.

Sweden’s Martin Pålsson, crewed by Peter Lindh and Thomas Wallenfeldt, remains in second place in the Corinthian division behind Hoj-Jensen, while Belgium’s Alex Helsen, Dries Van Den Abbeele and Floris Mortelmans have overtaken the local Bakker family of Jan, Dominic and Oliver for third.

The media focus may be on the big names at the front of the pack, but there are terrific competitions going on throughout the fleet and many tales of personal achievement. Making their debut Gold Cup appearance this week are the Brown family from England. Jonathan, David and Lynette have been joined by friend Gillian Hamilton and are loving their first major International Dragon regatta. “We’ve never sailed in a fleet this big and those start lines can be pretty daunting, but we’re gaining confidence and really starting to enjoy it.” Their results confirm that confidence is justified as they have improved rapidly from fifty-third in the opening race to twenty-sixth today.

Australia’s Simon Prosser, John Hay and Stephen Wray must also be feeling pretty happy tonight. They only joined the Dragon Class last year and until this week their biggest Dragon race had been against 32 other boats. Yesterday’s heavy airs combined with such a large fleet left them struggling and their best race was a fifty-seventh, but today they got the bit between their teeth and were delighted to finish third. Although new to the Dragon this team have good experience in a number of dinghy classes so will definitely be worth watching.

There is some great family rivalry going on in the fleet too. The German Dohse family are split across two boats with parents Philip and Nicola and their daughter Pia Dohse sailing in one boat with Volker Kramer, and their son Maximilian sailing the other with friends Klaas Simon, Rasmus Nielsen and Thommy Dehler. Yesterday Philip’s team put their long experience to good use and got the upper hand in both races, but today it was the turn of the young bloods to shine. Overall just two points now separate them with Philip in thirty-fifth and Maximilian in thirty-seventh. Something tells us this fight will go right down to the wire!

The Dragon fleet is as famous for its social life as its sailing and this evening the crews were invited to the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup Gala Dinner in Medemblik’s spectacular and historic Saint Bonifacius Church. With a wonderful welcome from the representatives of Yanmar, delicious food and wine and a number of special and fun presentations, the evening was the perfect chance for everyone to relax and enjoy the company of their fellow Dragon sailors.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for more very shifty conditions, so after tonight’s festivities it will be back to business for the fourth race of the series at noon. The regatta continues until Friday 14 June with a maximum of six races possible.

Provisional Top Ten After Three Races

Pedro Andrade, POR84 – 4, 5, 2 = 11
Dmitry Samokhin, RUS76 – 1, 7, 5 = 13
Pieter Heerema, NED412 – 3, 1, 15 = 19
Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, GBR822 – 13, 3, 7 = 23
Anatoly Loginov, RUS27 – 8, 4, 11 = 23
Stephan Link, GER1162 – 12, 14, 1 = 27
Grant Gordon, GBR820 – 5, 12, 10 = 27
Peter Gilmour, JAP56 – 2, 2, 28 = 32
Wolf Waschkuhn, SUI318 – 23, 6, 6 = 35
Jens Christensen, DEN410 – 9, 13, 17 = 39

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Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 – Day 2 Report

Following day one’s lack of wind, which forced the abandonment of racing, day two of the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 in Medemblik was a complete contrast with great breeze and two challenging but closely fought races. Typically, one race per day is sailed at the Gold Cup as the courses are exceptionally long, with each race taking in the region of three hours to complete, but having lost yesterday’s race the option to run two races was exercised. The 93 strong fleet went afloat knowing they were in for a long and gruelling day and that was exactly what they got, not returning to the dock until well into the evening.

The first race of the Gold Cup is sailed for the Börge Börresen Trophy, named in honour of the legendary Danish boat builder who competed in 51 consecutive Gold Cups and won it four times between 1951 and 1985. On a 2.5 mile long course, in 17 to 20 knots from the north east and under glorious blue skies, the championship finally got underway at the second time of asking and rapidly developed into a battle royal amongst the leading boats. Vende Globe veteran Pieter Heerema, America’s Cup and World Match Racing maestro Peter Gilmour, top Portuguese sailor Pedro Andrade, Dragon European Cup Series leader Grant Gordon and top Russian sailor Dmitry Samokhin all looked in with a chance at various stages in the race, but on the line it was Samokhin who claimed the prestigious trophy from Gilmour, with Heerema third and Andrade fourth.

The wind had dropped slightly and was swinging right by the start of race two as rain showers began to sweep across the course. This time it took three attempts to get them started and Max Vijzelaar of France, Guus to Groot of the Netherlands and Australia’s Simon Prosser all fell victim to the black flag and were disqualified. Heerema led the fleet again at the first mark but this time he had no intention of relinquishing his place and he went on to claim a confident win. Behind him the fight for second to fifth places was fierce between Gilmour, Danish triple Olympic Medallist Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, reigning Dragon European Champion Anatoly Loginov of Russia and Andrade. Their positions were changing at every mark rounding and it was only in the closing moments that Gilmour secured second place ahead of Hoj-Jensen and Loginov, with Andrade fifth.

In the overall standings after two races Pieter Heerema, sailing NED412 with George Leonchuk and Lars Hendriksen and Peter Gilmour, sailing JAP56 with son Sam and Yasuhiro Yaji, are tied for the lead on four points with Heerema only heading the leader board on countback thanks to his second race win. Dmitry Samokhin and his RUS76 crew of Aleksey Bushyev and Andrey Kirilyuk lie in third, four points behind the leaders, and Pedro Andrade sailing POR84 with Christian Giannini and Joao Vindinha is one further point back in fourth.

There are no discards in this series and so serious gear failure in the first race of a two race day typically spells disaster. As they approached the finish of race one Pedro Andrade definitely feared he was facing just such a disaster. “We’d already managed to rip our spinnaker on the run and then our gooseneck broke on the last leg and we only just managed to limp across the line. We turned straight for the dock and radioed ahead to get spares and tools ready, but we knew it would be a race against time. Luckily, we got the boat fixed quickly and as we left the harbour we heard the radio announcement that the orange flag was about to be displayed. With almost two miles to sail to the start we thought we wouldn’t make it and we just had to pray for a delay. So you can imagine we were delighted when we heard the announcement of a general recall and we kept on sailing as fast as we could. We were still about a minute out from the line when the second start gun went and couldn’t believe our luck when that too was recalled – it was definitely our lucky day!”

In tandem with the overall competition, the all amateur crews are also racing for the Corinthian Gold Cup Trophy. Heading the Corinthian ranking after two races is 2013 Corinthian World Champion Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen sailing GBR822 with old friends Chris Brittain and Hamish McKay. In second place is Sweden’s Martin Pålsson, a past Dragon Corinthian European Champion, while the Bakker family of father Jan and sons Dominic and Oliver are hard on their heels in third.

Back ashore the exhausted but happy crews enjoyed the Contest Yachts Happy Hour at the regatta village as they exchanged stories before heading home for much needed hot showers and a well deserved dinner.

The forecast for the next two days of the competition threatens very light winds so sailors and race committee alike have their fingers crossed that it will be possible to run race three tomorrow to keep the programme on schedule. The regatta continues until Friday 14 June with a total of six races planned.

Provisional Top Ten After Two Races

1. Pieter Heerema, NED412 – 3, 1 = 4
2. Peter Gilmour, JAP56 – 2, 2 = 4
3. Dmitry Samokhin, RUS76 – 1, 7 = 8
4. Pedro Andrade, POR84 – 4, 5 = 9
5. Anatoly Loginov, RUS27 – 8, 4 = 12
6. Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, GBR822 – 13, 3 = 16
7. Grant Gordon, GBR820 – 5, 12 = 17
8. Jens Christensen, DEN410 – 9, 13 = 22
9. Stephan Link, GER1162 – 12, 14 = 26
10.Gery Trentesaux, FRA428 – 6, 22 = 28

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Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 – Day 1 Videos

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Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 – Day 1 Report

After the gales of practice day, the opening race day of the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 in Medemblick got off to a promising start. Following a skippers’ briefing the fleet and race committee left the dock and at the appointed time of 13.00 the course was laid at 2.5 miles long on a bearing of 240 degrees, all 96 teams were in the start area and Race Officer John Borsboom rolled into the starting sequence with the Uniform flag in operation.

Staring 96 highly competitive Dragons off a single line is not an easy job, but here in Medemblik not only had the committee set an excellent 0.9 mile long line, but their use of a pair of line location indicator buoys at approximately 0.3 and 0.6 miles along the line helped to produce one of the most even start lines you could hope to see. The fleet was clearly on its best behaviour, their minds no doubt focused by the combined threat of disqualification under the U Flag penalty if they were over the line and the fact that there are no discards in the series and, most unusually for a Gold Cup, they got underway at the first time of asking.

The Dragons headed away from the line in 7-8 knots of wind and made a stunning sight spread out across the Ijsselmeer with Medemblik’s historic church spires in the background. As had been forecast, the wind began to drop a little and clock right as they came up the beat and the race committee signalled that not only had they moved the leeward gate to allow for the shift, but they had also shortened the leg down too.

Leading the fleet as they rounded was the Dutch team of Charlotte ten Wolde, who is crewed by her sister Juliette, Janka Holan and Francisco Rebelo de Andrade. Right on their transom was Francisco’s brother Pedro Rebelo de Andrade sailing with Goncalo Almeida Ribero and Christian Giannini, and it was clear there was more than a little bit of friendly sibling rivalry between the two boats as they vied for position. There was then a small gap back to the pack which was led by Dutchman Mart ten Harmsen vd Beek with Monaco’s Jens Rathsak fourth, Germany’s Maximillian Dohse fifth, Peter Gilmour sailing for Japan sixth and Russia’s Evgenii Braslavets seventh.

As the boats started down the run the wind began to drop even further and before long, they were barely ghosting along. Those who had gybed at the weather mark held the breeze longest and gained a number of places, but soon they too were completely out of wind. It quickly became clear that there was no hope of a rapid return of the wind and the race committee wisely decided to abandon the race and try again.

The forecast was for the wind to swing into the north and build again, but sadly it wasn’t to be and eventually the announcement came over the radio that all boats should return to harbour for the day. The race committee immediately swung from race management to towing mode, rapidly getting all 96 teams on tow and headed back to Medemblik’s stunning old harbour where the Opening Ceremony awaited them.

After racing Charlotte ten Wolde and her team were delighted to have led the fleet in the opening race, but understandably disappointed that the weather prevented them from finishing the race. Asked for the secret to beating the best Dragon sailors in the World to the top mark Juliette explained simply “We had a pin end start and then we actually sailed almost straight out to the left, tacked onto the lay line and rounded the mark!” Her sister Juliette took up the story of the run saying, “The wind had already started to drop out as we rounded the first mark, it was quick tricky and we sailed on little bit and they abandoned about half way down.”

Belgium’s Guy Celis, crewed by Willy Hambrouck and Steven Vermeire, was also having a good race “We started in the middle and had a good start and then I saw the girls and Pedro going to the left and other good guys going to the right so I tried to play the shifts, but it was very tricky and we came ninth round the first mark. I saw several people going right under spinnaker, so we went left and we had more wind and for longer, we were about fourth or fifth when they stopped the race.”

At the Opening Ceremony, held at the picturesque harbour side regatta village, the competitors were warmly welcomed to the town, which has a centuries long seafaring tradition and a great history of hosting major sailing events. Tribute was paid to all the volunteers of the Royal Netherlands Yacht Club, the Royal Yacht Club Hollandia and the Dutch Dragon Fleet who have given up their time to make the event possible. There were also thanks for the regatta’s sponsors, led by Yanmar, Medemblik Municipality and Stadshaven BV for their most generous contributions.

With the formalities over the competitors were able to kick back in the evening sunshine and enjoy the wonderful camaraderie for which the Dragon fleet is famous as they were served delicious snacks provided by Muziekcafe Brakeboer, and free beer and wine sponsored by Lakeview Consultancy.

Better winds are forecast for day two of the competition and the Race Committee aim to start racing on time at noon with a view to potentially completing two races. A total of six races are scheduled with the results of all races to count. Racing continues until Friday 14 June.

Regular updates, results, photos, videos and further information will be available from www.intdragon.net, www.dragongoldcup2019.com and from the IDA and Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 Facebook pages. For further information please contact IDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on fiona.brown@fionabrown.com, +44 (0)7711 718470 or Skype fpbrown

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Gale force winds meant that the practise race for the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 in Medemblik had to be cancelled and craning of the arriving boats suspended for a period. With winds regularly gusting to 40 knots and frequent heavy rain there was little the teams could do but complete their shoreside administration, secure their boats and head out to do some sightseeing or take advantage of the many wonderful restaurants the area has to offer.

With 96 Dragon teams to register, check measure, crew weigh, launch and moor up it’s just as well that the superbly organised volunteers of the Royal Netherlands Yacht Club, the Royal Yacht Club Hollandia and the Dutch Dragon Fleet have so much experience of major regattas. From arrival at the registration desk until they received their registration completion gifts of Code | Zero crew polo shirts and hats and a crate of Dragon Gold Cup Special Ale courtesy of Lakeview Consultancy, the volunteers did a superb job.

Fortunately, the strong winds are expected to blow through overnight and the sun is due to return for the first race of the championship. The Race Committee has announced that it will delay the start of that first race from noon until 13.00 to allow extra time for the remaining boats to be launched.

The entire fleet will start as one throughout the week, there is no discard in the series and the windward leeward race courses are particularly long, meaning that conservative and consistent sailing are essential to success. Experience will clearly count for a lot and this Dragon fleet is certainly not short of that.

At 75 years young Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen is without doubt one of the world’s most accomplished keelboat sailors. His Dragon experience takes him back to the class’s Olympic years winning a Silver Medal for Denmark at the 1968 Mexico City games. After the Dragon was dropped from the Olympics he moved into the Soling and won Gold at both Montreal in 1976 and Moscow in 1980. He continued to race the Dragon though and is one of the most successful helms in the class’s history. With five wins (1990, 1992, 1994, 1997 and 2008) he certainly has the most Dragon Gold Cup victories to his name. In his professional life Poul played a huge role in ensuring the Dragon Class retained its extraordinary heritage whilst encompassing leading edge technical development. He is now retired and sails purely for pleasure and would suggest to you that he is no longer competing at the top level. But no one in this fleet would ever discount the sailor they call simply “The Man”, especially when racing at one of his favourite venues, where he won the 2009 Dragon World Championship.

Defending Gold Cup Champion Jørgen Schönherr, another Danish sailing legend, has won the trophy four times (2018, 2005, 2004 and 2003) and must surely have hopes of equaling Hoj-Jensen’s record with another victory this year. A master of multiple classes including World Champion in the 505 (1990) and the Flying Dutchman (1999), he returns with his winning crew of Christian Videbeak and Theis Palm.

Also helming this week are three further Gold Cup Champions, Hugo Stenbeck of Switzerland (2016), Stephan Link of Germany (2017) and Russia’s Anatoly Loginov (2010) who is also the reigning Dragon European Champion. And of course, there are plenty of sailors hungry to claim their first Gold Cup. Local hero Pieter Heerema has made the Gold Cup podium on three previous occasions, with silver medals last year and in 2014 and a bronze in 2013, so must surely feel it could be his turn this year. Scotsman Grant Gordon is relatively new to the fleet and has yet to win one of the big three trophies (the Gold Cup, World and European Championships), but he’s fresh from victory at the Dragon European Cup event in Cascais and currently heads the International Ranking list so definitely counts among the favourites. 2017 Dragon European Champion Pedro Rebelo de Andrade of Portugal was runner up at the Gold Cup of the same year and is also currently in blistering form so is also hoping for a podium finish this week.

Tomorrow’s first race has special significance as the winner receives the prestigious Börge Börresen Trophy. Börresen was himself a two-time Gold Cup winning helm in 1967 and 1985 and raced in the competition on no less than 51 consecutive occasions. He was also one of the class’s most influential boat builders, building his first Dragon at the age of 16 in 1936 with his brother Albert. Over the ensuing 65 years he created some of the most successful Dragons ever launched. He also lead the Dragon into the fibreglass age, achieving what many thought impossible by creating GRP boats that raced on a level playing field with their wooden counterparts. He continued to race Dragons successfully for almost six decades, winning the 1993 World Championship crewing for Jesper Bank at the age of 74. Britain’s Gavia Wilkinson-Cox won the Börge Börresen Trophy in 2008 and went on to finish second overall that year. “Winning any race at the Gold Cup is special, but to win race one and the Börge Börresen Trophy is a particular honour. It’s always accompanied by a bottle of Scotch Whisky from the Clyde Yacht Clubs Association, who presented the Gold Cup in 1937!”

The forecast for the opening day of racing promises sunny skies and a south-westerly wind of 10 to 15 knots. The schedule calls for one race per day for the six days of the competition, although the race committee does have the option to race two races in a day if required.

Regular updates, results, photos, videos and further information will be available from www.intdragon.net, www.dragongoldcup2019.com and from the IDA and Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2019 Facebook pages. For further information please contact IDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on fiona.brown@fionabrown.com, +44 (0)7711 718470 or Skype fpbrown.

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Sailors from around the World converge on Medemblik for 2019 Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup

Ninety-five International Dragon keelboats and their crews from across Europe and Scandinavia and as far afield as Australia, Japan, Canada and the United Arab Emirates are converging on the historic town of Medemblik in the Netherlands for the 2019 Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup. Hosted by the Royal Netherlands Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Club Hollandia, the regatta will take place from 9 to 14 June on the world-renowned sailing waters of the Ijsslemeer.

The Dragon Gold Cup is one of the oldest and most prestigious trophies in one-design sailing and was first raced in 1937 off Oslo, where Rolf Bilner of Sweden was the inaugural winner. Held annually, the regatta features the perfect combination of top flight racing, fun social events and the genuine camaraderie for which the Dragon class is famous. This year’s entry list brings together a well-balanced mix of professional and amateur teams, friends and family for a week-long celebration of all things Dragon.

The host Dutch fleet is putting forward a very strong team including Vendee Globe Race veteran Pieter Heerema, who currently lies second overall on the International Dragon Ranking List. Amongst the other top teams hoping for overall victory will be the current Ranking and European Cup Series leader Grant Gordon from Scotland, Russia’s Anatoly Loginov and Dmitry Samolkin who are third and fourth respectively on the Ranking List, and Portugal’s Pedro Rebelo de Andrade and Hugo Stenbeck of Switzerland who are tied for second overall in the European Cup Series.

America’s Cup and World Match Racing veteran Peter Gilmour and his Japanese Yanmar Racing Team will travel from Australia in the hope of becoming the first Antipodean to add his name to the trophy. Gilmour’s 2019 Dragon season has brought mixed fortunes so far, but despite this he is currently lying in fifth on the International Ranking and will surely be hoping for a consistent and incident free performance in Medemblik. Gilmour will also be representing event sponsor Yanmar during the week and looks forward to a great sponsor partnership; “Yanmar is one of the world’s biggest diesel engine manufacturers and they love supporting the Dragon class. Their history extends back over 100 years and the Dragon is 90 years old this year, so there’s a great synergy there. We have a terrific regatta planned and we can’t wait to go racing.”

Consistency is without doubt one of the most important factors in Gold Cup success. There are no discards in the six-race series, the courses are very large and challenging and the quality of competitors is quite extraordinary. A successful campaign must bring together great preparation of both the boat and the crew, detailed campaign planning, superb tactics, exceptional boat speed and just a little luck too.

Alongside the overall competition there are several additional trophies up for grabs. The Gold Cup Corinthian Trophy will be awarded to the top performing all amateur team. The Nations Cup is awarded to the winning three boat national team. The Borge Børresen Memorial Trophy will be awarded to the winner of the first race, and the Silver Cup will be presented to the boat that finishes exactly half way up the final rankings for the regatta.

The field of amateur teams vying for the Corinthian Gold Cup Trophy is particularly strong this year. The locally based Bakker family of father Jan and sons Dominic and Oliver, have high hopes of a good performance in this division, but the likes of Danish Olympic legend Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, who may have celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday on 2 June but remains a formidable Dragon competitor, will certainly give them a good run for their money. Finland’s Sami Saloma, who finished fourth in last year’s Corinthian Gold Cup fleet, will also be hoping to make it onto the podium this year, as will Belgium’s Xavier Vanneste.

Vanneste is one of a number of sailors who will be racing with family crews. Xavier sails with his sister Anne and their good friend Karl Odent. At least four teams will be entirely composed of family members, including Quirin, Frederique, Rosalie and Willemijn van Aspert from the Netherlands; Christian, Susanne, Kira-Karina and Marco Hentschel from Germany; Jacob, Ewoud and Hugo Roosjn also from the Netherlands, and of course the famous Bakker boys. For others it’s a case of family rivalry. Parents Philip and Nicola and sister Pia Dohse will be racing against son/brother Maximillian, who grew up crewing for his parents but now races his own Dragon to considerable success.

The ladies are well represented in the fleet too with Holland’s Charlotte ten Wolde, Germany’s Nicola Friesen, Finland’s Sara Antila and Britain’s Gavia Wilkinson-Cox all hoping for a top ten finish. Wilkinson-Cox summed up the appeal of the Dragon fleet well saying, “When I started competing internationally in the Dragon I was about the only lady helm and over the years I’ve been delighted to see that increase until the point where there are now a number of us on the circuit. To me the Dragon offers the ultimate form of sailing. We don’t rely on instruments, its seat of the pants racing, and the competition is awesome.”

Whilst for some the main goal is to go home with a trophy, for others attending the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup is about the sheer joy of racing their beloved Dragons against likeminded sailors and enjoying the wonderful friendships which spring from association with the class. The après sailing programme is of equal importance as the on-water competition and this year the teams can look forward to some superb parties, including the Yanmar Gala Night, which will be held in the beautiful Bonifatius Church in the town centre. Also adding to the intimate feel of the regatta will be its location in the historic centre of Medemblik and the use of the town’s famous Brakeboer Music Café as its social hub.

The regatta will get underway with a practice race on Saturday 8 June, with Championship racing from Sunday 9 to Friday 14 June. Six races are scheduled and up to two races may be sailed each day.

Daily reports, results and photographs will be available from www.intdragon.com and journalists wishing to attend the regatta or receive additional information should contact IDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on fiona.brown@fionabrown.com, +44 (0)7711 718470 or Skype fpbrown.

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Notice from Technical Committee, IDA

To all Dragon sailors competing at Gold Cup Medemblik 2019
 
Your attention is drawn to the Notice posted by the IDA Technical Committee in January 2019.
 
Class Rule 2.193 (a) electrical pumps, switches: “Switches shall be
fixed and activate the electrical pumps when the bilge water rises
above the suction point specified in CR 2.193 (c) (100 mm above the
deepest point of the bilge).
 
 Race officials will be particularly vigilant and any attempt to infringe on the rule may lead to disqualification.
 
Signed by the Technical Committee, IDA
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