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Dragon Grand Prix Germany at Kühlungsborn - Overall

by Fiona Brown 6 Jul 20:20 BST 3-6 July 2019

The last day of the Dragon Grand Prix Germany 2019 proved to be an absolute cliffhanger as overnight leader Peter Gilmour, sailing JPN56 YRed with Sam Gilmour and Yasuhiro Yaji, and second placed Dmitry Samokhin, sailing RUS76 Rocknrolla with Andrey Kirilyuk and Aleksey Bushuev, battled it out for supremacy in two extraordinary final races.

Racing took place in a light but slowly building south westerly which was a complete contrast to the previous days heavy airs. Those heavy airs had also generated a strong current which added a significant tactical challenge. Pieter Heerema sailing NED412 Troika with Lars Hendriksen and George Leonchuk proved to be the star of the day with a pair of first places, but he'd gone into the day with too much to do and could climb no further up the leader board than third overall.

Whilst Heerema took an early lead in race five, Gilmour and Samokhin were slugging it out back in the pack. Gilmour went into the day with what looked like a comfortable lead, but he soon found himself desperately defending as Samokhin worked relentlessly to get sufficient boats between them to close the gap. They came to the line with Samokhin eighth and Gilmour twelfth. Completion of the fifth race brought the discard into play and as the 40 strong fleet got under starters orders for the sixth and final race Gilmour was still hanging onto his lead by six points from Samokhin.

Both boats got decent starts in race six, but it was clear that Samokhin had a speed advantage and he took off on the heels of Heereman in the knowledge that the situation was now in the lap of the Gods. Gilmour did all he could but couldn't seem to gain traction and after sailing he admitted "We went with the wrong gear. We had a heavy genoa up and it just didn't have enough punch." As they came to the final finish line Samokhin crossed in second behind Heerema and just head of Frenchman Gery Trentesaux. There followed an anxious few moments as Samokhin and his team stared back down the track until, with relief, they watched Gilmour cross the line in tenth place. With the final scores calculated Dmitry Samokhin claimed the Dragon Grand Prix Germany 2019 by two points from Peter Gilmour with Pieter Heerema third and Germany's Otto Pohlmann fourth.

After sailing Heerema's tactician Lars Hendriksen talked a little about how they had approached today's races. "We had an idea that the current was pretty strong out there so on purpose we started a little bit down the line, which was very biased towards the committee boat, but we traded that for going left. [In race five] we basically kept going left and there were just five boats going left but we stuck to our plan. When we came closer to land we got a header and we'd been on a pretty high course all the way into the shore so it worked out."

Pieter Heerema self-deprecatingly joked about his tendency to start poorly and improve as a regatta goes on. "It's becoming a bit of a tradition that we, well probably it's me, that we are a bit of a slow starter at each regatta. There's a bit too much time between the regattas for me and I need to sail more, but I don't have the time for that sadly. It takes a few races to get warmed up but then it goes."

In the Corinthian Division for all amateur crews Philip Dohse, sailing GER1151 Puck IV with his wife Nicola, Volker Kramer and Christian Möller, had a day of mixed fortunes with a sixth in race five followed by an eighteenth, his worst result of the regatta, in race six. For his nearest rival, Martin Pälsson, sailing SWE401 5i12 with Goran Alm and Gustav Gärdebäck, fortunes were reversed and he placed fourteenth and then eighth. In the overall standings Dohse became Corinthian Grand Prix Germany Champion by nine points from Pälsson, with Karl-Gustaf Löhr, sailing SWE398 High Times with Jesper Bendix and Mads Hansen, taking the final step on the Corinthian podium.

Back at the dock the super efficient three crane hauling process saw all boats out of the water and packed up in record time, before the crews came together for one final celebration to honour their champions. The hospitality of the Segelclub Kühlungsborn and the people of this delightful seaside town have been exceptional and for the final party restaurant Vielmeer provided the most delicious Soljanka, a hearty and spicy traditional Russian soup, which was much appreciated by the cold and wet sailors. The Yanmar sponsored beer flowed generously once more and the sailors and their friends and families cheered their winners as they came to the stage.

In his acceptance speech Dmitry Samokhin praised the Segelclub Kühlungsborn and it's volunteers. "Thank you for organising such a great event on the water and ashore, we felt love, care and happiness all the time. Its not the first time we've sailed in Kühlungsborn and every time its been great sailing here, it's a great venue, so thank you everyone!"

Final Top 10:

1. Dmitry Samokhin - RUS75 - 4, 6, 1, 2, (8), 2 = 15
2. Peter Glimour - JPN56 - 1, 1, 2, 3, (12), 10 = 17
3. Pieter Heerema - NED412 - (12), 3, 14, 1, 1, 1 = 18
4. Otto Pohlmann - GER1205 - 7, 4, 3, 18, (10), 5 = 27
5. Anatoly Loginov - RUS27 - 2, 2, (20), 11, 4, 9 = 28
6. Marcus Brennecke - GER1170 - (21), 9, 4, 5, 3, 11 = 32
7. Stephan Link - GER1162 - 6, 7, (13), 12, 2, 7 = 34
8. Gery Trentesaux - FRA428 - (10), 8, 5, 10, 9, 3 =35
9. Hugo Stenbeck - SUI311 - 9, (DNS), 7, 4, 17, 6 - 43
10. Dirk Oldenburg - SUI313 - 18, (22), 8, RDG 13, 6 4 = 49

And with that the penultimate event in the 2019 Dragon European Cup Series came to a close. The fourth and final qualifying regatta in the series and the Dragon European Cup Grand Final will both take place in Porto Portals, Mallorca. The final regatta will run from 11 to 14 November and then the top 20 crews, including a quota of Corinthian sailors, will immediately move forward into the Grand Final which will be raced on 15 and 16 November. The first day of the final will feature up to four fleet races to decide the top ten teams who will the take part in a spectacular knock out competition on day two to decide the 2019 Dragon European Cup Champion.The current ranking for the Dragon European Cup Series 2019 will be available shortly from www.intdragon.net

Over the summer the Dragon sailors will take part in their various National Championships and local regattas before coming together again in Sanremo, the City of Flowers on Italy's beautiful Ligurian coast, 5-11 October for the spectacular Dragon 90th Anniversary Gala Regatta. Up to 160 boats are expected to participate in this unique regatta and party celebration to mark the Dragon's very special birthday. Further details can be found at www.dragon90.com

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