International Dragon Gold Cup on the horizon
by Véronique Guillou Le Bivic on 2 Jul 2013
The 2013 Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup will be hosted at Douarnenez from 16th to 24th August.Dragon specialists far and wide get ready!
2013 Gazprom Dragon Gold Cup . Jacques Vapillon et François Van Malleghem
Since its creation in 1937, the event, which is considered one of the most famous yachting trophies and comparable to a World Cup, has been held five times in France, four of which were in Douarnenez; namely the great trust confided in the Société des Régates de Douarnenez (lit. Douarnenez Regatta Society) by the International Dragon Association (IDA).
Douarnenez, the bay, the Regatta Society (SRD)
Following the editions held in 1981, 1996 and 2006, from 16th-24th August this year the Bay of Douarnenez, one of the most highly valued sailing venues by Dragon sailors, will welcome nearly one hundred crews from across the Dragon class worldwide.
A magnificent race course, an experienced organization and a real sense of welcome, are the common factors named by sailors who have taken part in one of the numerous sailing events on Douarnenez waters. As well as its privileged natural setting, the cité Pen Sardin can also claim the experience and enthusiasm of the SRD and its wonderfully efficient ‘troupe’ of volunteers.
The Douarnenez Regatta Society was established in 1880 and in 1886 was recognized by the Yacht Club de France. Annual regattas have been organized by the society ever since, and the written press at the time were already emphasizing the incredible natural environment and the quality of its magnificent bay. In an edition of 'Le Yacht' magazine on 21st August 1886 it is quoted as saying, 'This fabulous Douarnenez harbour…is quite probably one of the most beautiful race courses on our coastline.'
The Dragon class, more than a sport
No other international series, with the exception of the Star class which dates back to 1911 and is still an Olympic class, has been as successful throughout the century, as the Dragon. This elegant 9-metre sail boat was created at the end of the 1920s by the Norwegian architect Johan Anker, and with its fabulous racing qualities in absolutely no time at all it had made its name as an ideal racing class, so much so that it became the official class in the 1948 Olympic Games, a status that it held for over twenty years. Gradually developing over the years, yet maintaining its monotype design; (where it is the skills of the sailor that really make the difference) this wonderful sail boat with ‘pure’ outline has defied fashion and enamoured a loyal clientele of fine helmsman and lovers of these beautiful hulls.
Today’s dynamic fleet and large family of Dragon sailors come together to indulge in some fierce battles, yet they are still defined by the etiquette of the early days of yachting.
Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup
The Russian Dragon sailors discovered the Bay of Douarnenez in 2004 for the Grand Prix Petit Navire. The strong bond they developed has meant a gradual increase in the number of participants ever since, and every year they come to race at les Pen Sardin. As such it was a natural step for major gas company Gazprom International to join forces with the SRD for the organization of the Dragon Gold Cup.
The art of racing is undeniably what best defines the spirit of the Dragon class, and no better a show than the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup in Douarnenez to illustrate it. Firstly for its incredible bay and the truly impressive quality of the setting, and secondly in its role as meeting point for the main players in the series: World, European and French champions, winners of the Grand Prix Guyader (who achieved their success in the same bay), Olympic medallists and multiple world title-holders will all come face to face to battle it out in one long three-hour race a day.
The secret for success in the event is precision and delicacy; careful preparation is required, and every race in the competition counts. Participants simply cannot afford to stumble; they must avoid disqualification at all costs, start fast, show fair-play on the water, and aim to be among the first 20. The winner is the one able to balance racing etiquette, with a fair amount of risk, irreproachable speed, the quest for success and a sprinkling of elegance.