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Southern Spars - North Technology

Dragon Gold Cup - Great stroke of luck on day 3

by Véronique Guillou Le Bivic on 22 Aug 2013
Dragon Gold Cup 2013 Jacques Vapillon © www.vapillon.com
Day three of the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup saw racing in baking temperatures and very light winds. It was a great stroke of luck for the holiday makers in Douarnenez, but for the tacticians on board the Dragons it threw all kinds of doubts and questions into the mix.

On board each of the 77 boats in the race, organization and hierarchy can greatly vary, but good communication and knowing who has the last say is essential. With particularly whimsical wind conditions putting the nerves of all the participants to the test, it was Vassilliy Senatorov (RUS 34) who claimed the victory of the day. And half-way through the ‘Gold Cup’ it is still full of suspense …

Jean Coadou started the fleet at 15 h 10 with three boats crossing the line before the gun and unable to rectify. Among them was yesterday’s race winner Gavia Wilkinson-Cox (GBR 761), who completely jeopardized his final results at the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup.

On the second tack, 300 metres from the gate, the wind which had been a West-NorthWesterly of six knots up until that moment, suddenly shifted South-West, and as the Race Committee explained, 'We had to change the course and make the boats come up to 270º to balance it out.'

Suddenly out on the water there was complete disruption and RUS 34 Vassilliy Senatorov, who was 21st round the windward mark, suddenly moved up to eighth at the downwind mark, and finished in the lead. Markus Wieser (UKR 7) showed very consistent form in his racing, moving from second to first place and finished second overall. The first Frenchman over the line was Luc Pillot having moved from eighth dropped to 31st and then moved up again to finish 19th.

Stéphane Baseden (FRA 402) seemed divided on this particular question whilst preparing to leave the docks for the race course,'It will be one for the trimmers or tacticians but definitely not for the helmsmen. »

For the heavy-weights of the series the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup is a particularly prestigious event and the stakes are high. And Laurie Smith (GBR 785), the helmsman of his Dragon is also the boss on board, 'On other boats the helmsman....the helm and the tactician, tell the rest of the crew what to do. It works a little differently on these boats, we talk about the wind and our options and it is me who makes the final decision, even if I am the helmsman.' For Luc Pillot it is the same, 'We are all tacticians, but I’m the one who decides.'

On board Dimitri Samokhin’s Dragon (RUS 76) however, each crew member has their own very specific roles, 'On the boat it is the tactician who interprets the conditions on the water and tells us where we have to go. My role as helmsman is to do my best to make the boat keep moving and get it off to a good start. That is what I stay focussed on.'

Vassilliy Senatorov (Even Better – RUS34),'We were pissed off yesterday because of the disqualification and Tim (Kröger – GER) told us 'tomorrow, we’ll make a bullet'. We started quick and in a proper position. The most important moment in the race was the first downwind mark, we were eighth and the boats went to the right gate and we chose to go to the left. On the first tack on the next upwind leg we felt some pressure from the right and that was it, we were first at the second upwind mark. It was a perfect day, everything was harmonized, the weather, the feeling on the boat. It was really enjoyable.

I’m steering so I don’t have time to look around, even though I am giving them feedback on how the boat is doing. Igor Ivahintsov our tactician talks with Tim and then he makes the final decision on where we should go.'

Lawrie Smith (Alfie - GBR785) Before the start, 'We need to have a good result today as our two first races in the Gold Cup were 'OK'. The conditions will be very light though and we know we would be faster in stronger winds. But you can win the Gold Cup even if you have a lot of points, over the six days, there’s always a chance that someone makes a mistake or …if we get some luck. The week is not finished yet and it can be difficult to sail consistently during a week.'

Ranking Before Jury (Day 3)

1- Even Better (RUS34) – Vassilliy Senatorov
2- Bunker Queen (UKR7) – Markus Wieser
3- Sophie III (SUI311) - Hugo Dragon Gold Cup website

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