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Dragon Gold Cup - Choppy seas and a veil of mist

by Véronique Guillou Le Bivic on 24 Aug 2013
Dragon Gold Cup 2013 Jacques Vapillon ©
At the Dragon Gold Cup, this morning dawned with two races to be sailed before the winner can be crowned. In the village discreet calculations were already being made, and one thing was for sure, those who could still potentially win had made up their minds to do themselves proud. Out on the water conditions had changed somewhat with a westerly wind of 10 to 15 knots, choppy seas and a veil of mist.

Yevgen Braslavets (UKR 8), was the winner of the fourth race of the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup 2013.

So we were there at 15 h when the Race Committee started today’s race. Five boats were early to the line, three able to recover, and the two recalcitrant others were an OCS, namely SWE 385 and Dimitry Samokhin (RUS 76) who may well have been biting down just a little too hard…

The man of the day was unquestionably Yevgen Braslavets (UKR 8). The Ukrainian team, (also third in the IDA (International Dragon Association ranking), went into the lead from the start, rounded all the marks ahead of the fleet and dealt the final blow on the finish line. Behind them it was a fierce battle between DEN 138 and GER 11 who completed the podium of the day.

For this fifth race of the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup, the light summer clothing of the first few days had been replaced by foulies. Markus Wieser (UKR7) might have gained a certain advantage with 21 points on Thomas Müller and 35 points ahead of Ferenc Kis-Szolgyemi (HUN 57), but with two races to go before the end of the Gold Cup nothing was for certain.

Dimitry Samokhin’s (RUS 76) unfortunate counter performance yesterday was as such an eye-opener, and having finished 60th in the fourth race the talented Russian team have quite likely seen their chances of victory slip away from them.

Suddenly it was the same topic of conversation for all the participants,'Nothing is ever over,' 'there are still 10 who might win,' 'just look at the points of Samokhin ou De Groot (NED 309), one bad finish position or a disqualification and it’s all over. Markus is definitely in a good position to win, but there are still two races to go…'

Markus Wieser (UKR7), leader after the fourth race, was looking quite serene,'We’ve been sailing consistently; so far, so good. We have our plan and we’re going to stick to it. It would not be very smart to do anything else at that time. There’s no pressure. Business as usual.'

Thomas Müller’s crew (GER 1133) were more on the attack. Winner in 2012, Thomas is prepared to fight tooth and nail to defend his title if necessary, as he explained this morning before racing,'Markus Wieser obviously has an advantage with 4 beautiful races. A difference of 21 points is nothing in a Gold Cup though. The situation was almost equivalent in the 2012 Gold Cup and with good sailing we finally ended up winning it. Luck is also part of the picture, even though I don’t wish any bad luck to anyone. There is little chance that we can win it, but we will fight like cows'

All competitions have their very own justice of the peace; and in sailing it is the same as in all other sporting disciplines. At the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup, Yves Léglise has the delicate mission of running the international jury. There are five other jury members working beside him, from Belgium, Germany, New Zealand and Scotland. The Gold Cup has been owned by the Clyde Yacht Club Conference Association since its creation in Scotland in 1937, and Terence Brownrigg is its representative.

'In an international event we need a minimum of five jury members and three nations must be represented, 'explains Yves Léglise, 'Since the beginning of the competition we have dealt essentially with protests about OCS and BFD. It is quite logical since in the Gold Cup, they can’t miss a round and if there is a disqualification it has a very definitive effect on the final results. Even if we get on well with the participations we are only here to deal with the rules and our feelings cannot come into it.'

Just to add some additional information, when a boat crosses the line early (OCS) without rectification it is penalized with 78 points (the number of participants +1), and when under a black flag (BFD) there are an additional eight points - finishing the race is costly!

Yevgen Braslavets (UKR8), 'The race was a little more difficult than usual today as there was a big fog. We picked the left side and just sailed. We could only spot the top mark once we were 300m from it and then we discovered we were leading! We’ve been lucky! It’s a bit of a surprise'.

Ferenc Kis- Szolgyemi (HUN57) – third at the provisional ranking this morning, 'The game is really open, anybody could lose or win. The reason we came here was to be in the top ten so we’re pretty happy with our ranking at the moment. Today we’ll sail in 10-15 knots, hopefully stable. We prefer that to the fickle, changing winds. The start will obviously be crucial today and tomorrow, so we’ll make sure we make a safe start'.

Ranking Before Jury (Day 5)
1- Yevgen Braslavets (UKR8)
2- Lars Hendriksen (DEN138)
3- Markus Brennecke (GER Click here for Dragon Gold Cup
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