At the Gazprom International Dragon World Championship 2013, 78 of the world's best Dragon crews from 16 nations and three continents are this week converging on the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy in preparation.
Registration opens today and runs until Saturday 7 September. There will be a special practice race in aid of Save The Children on Saturday 7 September, for which competitors are invited to pay a discretionary 'entry fee' with all proceeds raised going to the UK based global children's charity Save The Children and nyone wishing to make a donation to Save The Children can do so via the event's Just Giving account. Championship racing will commence on Sunday 8 September and conclude on Friday 13 September, with a maximum of eight races scheduled.
The entry list includes multiple Olympic medalists, World and Continental Champions and former America's Cup stars, so competition for the historic and much coveted Royal Hellenic Trophy is expected to be extremely fierce. There is also a strong Corinthian entry for the all-amateur division and you will be able to follow all the action as it happens via the Live Race Tracking sponsored by Pantaenius Yacht Insurance.
Teams are travelling from as far afield as Australia and Japan for the regatta. Reigning World Champion and British Olympic Bronze Medalist Lawrie Smith is looking to defend his title, won in Melbourne two years ago, and has regular crew Tim Tavinor and Ossie Stewart plus a new boat to assist him in that goal. Denmark's Double Olympic Gold Medallist Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen has already engraved his name on the trophy twice, but hopes to become the first man ever to win it three times.
German America's Cup star Markus Wieser and Denmark's Lars Hendriksen have each won both the Dragon European Championship and Gold Cup twice before, but neither have yet claimed the World title and must surely hope their time has come. Tommy Mueller won the Dragon Worlds in 2007 and the Gold Cup in 2002 and 2012, and with his Bavarian Dream Team of Vincie Hoesch and Micky Lipp wants to claim a second Worlds; while reigning European Champion Jose Matoso, sailing with Portuguese Olympians Gustavo Lima and Federico Mello, would very much like to join the rarified group of Dragon sailors who have their name engraved on more than one of it's major trophies.
There are some very strong contenders hoping to become the first woman to win the World title including Julia Bailey, Sandy Anderson and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, in addition to some new faces who could surprise everyone. The new kids on the block include Mark Dicker, fresh from a good performance in the Gold Cup, Charlotte Ten Wolde, who has an extremely strong crew in the shape of Gillis Jonk and Martin Leifelt, the famous Bakker Boys, Jan, Dominic and Olivier, and Marcus Brennecke, who has recently teamed up with Star Olympians Marc Pickel and Thomas Auracher and is showing great potential. With only the top teams from each country competing it would take a brave man to bet on who will mount the podium steps come the final day.
by British Dragon Association
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11:12 AM Thu 5 Sep 2013GMT
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