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Teams gather in Mallorca for Dragon Grand Prix Spain & European Cup Finals 2019

by Fiona Brown 8 Nov 2019 07:09 GMT 11-16 November 2019
49 Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR © Tomas Moya / Sailing Energy / Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR

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."

For further information about the Dragon European Cup Series and the Dragon Grand Prix Spain can be found at intdragon.net or by contacting IDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on , +44 (0)7711 718470 or Skype FPBrown.

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