Please select your home edition
Edition
Vaikobi 2019AUG - Leaderboard 3
Product Feature
Zhik Men's Hydrophobic Fleece Top
Zhik Men's Hydrophobic Fleece Top
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine


Full racing risks
New for old cover
www.noblemarine.co.uk

Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta at Yacht Club Sanremo - Day 3

by Fiona Brown 9 Oct 23:09 BST 7-11 October 2019

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 under way 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 Kieran O'Donoghue 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.

You can follow the regatta on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and at www.dragon90.com.

Related Articles

Mini Transat, Dragons and J/80 North Americans
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt While the sailing world is aglow with images of the four newly launched AC75 class yachts, the 1,350 nautical mile Mini-Transat La Boulangère race is also unfurling. Posted on 15 Oct
Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta overall
Denmark's Jens Christensen, Anders Bagger and Thomas Schmidt are declared Champions 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. Posted on 11 Oct
Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta day 4
Light airs, big seas and close racing 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 Posted on 11 Oct
Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta day 2
Sanremo delivers two great opening races Day two of the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul & Shark brought beautiful hot sunshine and racing at last for the 150 strong fleet, who had been held ashore on day one due to strong winds and rough seas. Posted on 9 Oct
Dragon Wagner Cup and Trofeo Bertamini
Spectacular conditions with 'vinessa' over 20 knots at Garda After eight challenging races the 15th Wagner Cup - 6th Bertamini Trophy ended, a classic event at the beginning of October organized by the Circolo Vela Torbole on behalf of the Italian Sailing Federation, on Garda Trentino Posted on 8 Oct
Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta day 1
Frustrating lack of sailing but great camaraderie on opening day The weather gods provided wonderful warm sunshine for the 162 strong fleet from 26 nations on the opening day of the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul & Shark at the Yacht Club Sanremo Posted on 7 Oct
Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta opens
162 teams at Yacht Club Sanremo The International Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta powered by Paul & Shark got underway in spectacular Italian style on Sunday 6th October at the Yacht Club Sanremo, with a gala opening ceremony at which the 162 participating teams were welcomed. Posted on 6 Oct
International Dragon 90th Anniversary in San Remo
Some 160 Dragons from 26 nations are gathering Teams from across Europe, Australasia, Asia and North America will come together to compete in five days of spectacular racing and enjoy six nights of fabulous partying. Posted on 3 Oct
International Dragon 90th Anniversary in San Remo
160 keelboats set to mark the event From her inception as an entry by Johan Anker in the Royal Gothenburg YC's 1928 competition for a new inter-islands cruiser for young people, to her current status as the world's leading 3-man keelboat class, the story of the Dragon has been remarkable. Posted on 19 Sep
British Dragon South Coast Championship
Solent racing from the Royal London YC Sadly, gone are the days when 40 plus boats would cross the start line for the South Coasts; but what we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality. Posted on 10 Sep