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Southern Spars

Dragon Gold Cup - Put to the test in Douarnenez

by Véronique Guillou Le Bivic on 21 Aug 2013
Dragon Gold Cup 2013 day 2 Jacques Vapillon © www.vapillon.com
In the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup, there were still 77 participants contesting the second day of racing, even if things were not quite the same for thirteen of them after their disqualification yesterday. Yet the pleasure of sailing on the Bay of Douarnenez and against some of the best sailors in the world is still very much a reality. Sailing conditions today put the specialist minds of tacticians from all sides really to the test, and the general overall feeling was that it was a beautiful day of racing.

The promised conditions caused the teams to expect a particularly challenging game of chess; a conflict between the synoptic easterly and the thermal westerly wind which effectively put in an appearance over the course of the day.

Jean Coadou, from the Race Committee, was a much more relaxed figure than yesterday, and able to get his fleet started off on their heavenly battle. And a fabulous start it was indeed, as planned the boats started at exactly 15h, in a lovely little stable breeze of six knots. Two Russian teams (34 and 77) not able to recover from their premature move were disqualified from the race.

The forever typical dilemma in the Bay of Douarnenez of whether to start right, left or centre was once again apparent. But it was left that proved to be the best bet as Gavia Wilkinson-Cox demonstrated with Jerboa (GBR 761). In fact the British team moved into the lead after the first mark rounding and mainly dominated the fleet, widening their lead up until crossing the start line with a chasing pack trailing closely behind them.

Dragon sailors could be divided into three kinds: the pure racers, unconditional practitioners and quite exceptional sailors of the class, the aesthetes, who are smitten by the design of this beautiful keel boat, and those who come to meet up with their sailing family, with its wonderful atmosphere and sense of community. The whole pack mixes wonderfully every morning in the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup village marquee, before moving out onto the pontoons and their boats, where focus replaces relaxation.

This morning, the sailors wore a different expression according to personal ambition and the ranking from the day before.

The case for Stéphane Maseden (FRA 402), 'The Gold Cup is over for us. We can’t expect to shine any more, even if we had no great hopes to do so, considering the situation. However we are still really motivated, as much as ever, and as we are not longer in the game, we are going to go out and fight to the best of our possibilities and take risks that we wouldnt normally have dared to take.'

For Dmitry Samokhin’s team (RUS 76) second yesterday and today….The challenge of course was quite different, 'We’re going to sail in very light and possibly shifty winds. In such weather everyone has a chance which is good, but it is also challenging, as everyone in the fleet is a potential competitor or might get some luck. In these kind of conditions you really need to stay relaxed and our tactician Andrey Kiriliuk will have plenty of work reading the wind.'

Finally there are the ‘epicureans’, who are drawn to the Douarnenez atmosphere, to meet up once again with their close sailing family and are therefore a pretty mixed bunch, 'I’ve travelled 1200 kilometres to get here, sail on this bay and meet up with these people who can really move mountains,' explains Kito de Pavant, the Mediterranean off-shore sailor, 'I think that the people who live here really live in tune with their surroundings and it is quite exceptional.'

From even further afield Tam Nguyen, from Hong Kong and sailing on board Zéphyr (HKG 55) was a man of all smiles this morning whilst contemplating the sky prior to the start, 'It’s perfect; it’s warm, the sky is blue, and there is a nice little breeze blowing. Anyone would think we were in Hong Kong!'

Gavia Wilkinson Cox (Jerboa – GBR 761) 'That’s the first time I win a Gold Cup race! We were the first British boat to finish yesterday and we are the first British boat to finish today and the first lady’s boat, that’s perfect. The boys gave me a textbook race. We always believed there was potential on the left and we followed our determination. The race committee was perfect today and look we’re sailing in shorts! I love to sail in Douarnenez, the first time I sailed here was the first time I got to sail out of England'.

Dmitry Samokthin (Strange Little Girl – RUS 76) - Before start : 'We’re going to sail in very light and possibly shifty winds which means the race could be long and we’ll probably have to go through several start procedures. In such weather everyone has a chance which is good, but also challenging, as everyone in the fleet is a potential competitor or might get lucky. In this kind of conditions you really need to stay relax and our tactician Andrey Kiriliuk will have plenty of work reading the wind.

Ranking Before Jury (Day 2)
1 - Jerboa (GBR 761) – Gavia Wilkinson Cox
2 - Hanni (HUN 57) – Ferenc Kis-Szolgyemi
3 - Sinewave (GER 1133) – Thomas Click here for full Dragon Gold Cup website

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