Please select your home edition
Edition
The Water Shed - 3

Dragon Gold Cup - Eve of Douarnenez battle

by Véronique Guillou Le Bivic on 19 Aug 2013
2013 Gazprom Dragon Gold Cup Jacques Vapillon et François Van Malleghem
The Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup will commence tomorrow on the water at Douarnenez, the bay that on numerous occasions has been a lauded setting for sailors from all over the globe.

Over the course of the week 78 teams will come head to head; some on a quest for the prestigious ‘Holy Grail’ of the Gold Cup, others for the sheer elegance of the Dragon class and the majority to face the elements.

Whether Olympic medallists, offshore specialists or sailors with a passion for the art of racing, over the next six days they all have one main factor in common– the Bay of Douarnenez along with all its mysteries and beauty.

Three sailors met this morning in the port of Tréboul: - Jean-Luc Nélias, one of the best French navigators and specialists in offshore meteorology; the French academician Erik Orsenna, whose passion for writing and travel is joined by a very privileged relationship with the sea and Brittany in particular; and Yann Kersalé, the artist from Douarnenez and renown worldwide for his talent of sculpting light.

Whatever their differences, all three have come together to share a theme which is truly enchanting the bay of Douarnenez. Whether from the offshore sailing world, the Academy or an artist’s workshop, their words may have differed but their message was the same.

'It’s similar to any bay, except that we are talking about Douarnenez,' Jean-Luc Nélias is quick to state. That may be so, but what is it exactly?

'It’s wild and beautiful. There are no buildings, and you sail among blue surrounded by green. The bay is closed in on three sides and there is some high ground. The current hardly interferes (or not at all) in your strategic choices. The wind finds its own way through and makes its way down there. It’s tricky. You have to try and get a reading of a wind which is often mischievous. When it comes down from the Ménez-Hom (which overlooks the Bay of Douarnenez from 330 metres), it sketches its wake and moves from one side to the other. The hardest thing here is being able to predict it and what is going to happen in the next two or three hours of racing.'

'As it’s going to be good weather all week, there is another factor that will also make a difference when reading the water and that is the thermal wind. When the thermal wind sets in, you feel it coming and you might get a smell of cut hay or sun cream depending on its direction,' explains Yann Kersalé, 'There is a ‘Vent des Mages’ (lit. Magician’s Wind) which is what they call the toboggan that comes down from the Ménez-Hom and which we all go after, as well as the ‘ascenseur’ (lit. ‘the lift’) which is the thermal. The whole fleet might set off to the left for the toboggan and you take ‘the lift’ all on your own. That is the ideal situation ! The toboggan is a safe option and the lift is a possibility.'

Whether in descriptions or paintings the Bay of Douarnenez is the queen of colour. 'There is a continuity in the tones,' explains Erik Orsenna. 'It flows, and has a really melodic sequence of metamorphosis; there is a certain musical order. The sea doesn’t state its presence with the coast coming up to interrupt it. In painting this is called the value of grey. When you are reading the water you have the wind, but you also have the light and its contrasts on the water which also tell us the path that the wind is tracking. The winner of the race is the best reader. Books are far from having the monopoly of the place to be read, the whole planet can be read there.'

Twenty boats may win the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup.

'Knowing the bay is a serious advantage, but what you really need is a triple Olympic title,' explains Jean-Luc Nélias.

'The Dragon is a learning experience in humility and you can’t win all the time, even if you do have those Olympic medals behind you,' adds Yann Kersalé.

'Yes Yann is right, you need humility and determination. And there isn’t just one right way. It’s like love,' concludes Erik Orsenna.

From Monday 19th to Saturday 2th August – there is one race a day starting at 15h. The boats will leave the dock at 13h.

Since 1954, Gazprom International has been the first producer and the first exporter of natural gas in the world. In 2005, Gazprom International became a major player on the global oil market. Today, the corporation is managing over 30 projects in 15 countries Dragon Gold Cup
Zhik SeabootBakewell-White Yacht DesignHarken and Fosters

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
The importance of being Alive
Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, the team have lined up for a lot of things, won plenty and nabbed a record, as well. She’s presently in a yard in the Philippines having a minor refit in readiness for the Australian season. It will commence with the upcoming Brisbane to Keppel and then head sharply into this year’s Hobart.
Posted on 10 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May