Guyader Grand Prix has a fleet of 77 Dragons registered.
The fleet will enter the Bay of Douarnenez late this morning for the first day of the Grand Prix Dragon, which will be completed next Saturday.
The cream of Dragonistas answered the call of the PEN Sardin for what remains one of the favorite events of this beautiful fleet.
The Guyader Grand Prix, exceeds in prestige and number of the participants the Dragon World Championship 2011 which was held in Melbourne in January.
Whereas in Douarnenez they are 77 entered boats and 15 different nations, they were 70 from 10 nations represented with Melbourne.
The Dragons left the pontoons of Tréboul at the end of the morning to join the start zone of the first race of the Guyader Grand Prix. The wind went to the east about midday and became established with eight knots at the time of the first gun.
After a general recall, the fleet got underway at 1pm, offering, against a gray cloud backdrop, a bright spectacle. Dragonistas like the elegance of their boat, this famous classic design carried out in 1929, which always turns heads. But, once the race is started their concetration is on the competition and all eyes are on sharp lookout to scan the racecourse.
The challenge of the fleet is a large one and even the most highly skilled champions taking part in the series will acknowledge that to finish in the top ten of the Grand Prix a battle hard won.
La Société des Régates de Douarnenez was founded in 1880. The Grand Prix was born from the Dragon, which has been sailed in Douarnenez since 1950. The oldest and most faithful Douarnenez based competitor in the race is Yves Thézé, who at 90 years old and has just received an Award from the Fédération Française de Voile in recognition of his great contribution to sailing. It is always on Red Coq (FRA 329), the ninth of the name, that he sails in Douarnenez.
Douarnenez's new generation is also represented, starting with Gwen Chapalain (FRA 395), the organizer of the Grand Prix, whose father, Eugene, sailed in Dragons. Frederic Gourlaouen (FRA 207), also came to Dragon sailing through his father Rene who is part of this week's Race Committee. Joseph Guillou (FRA 296) also caught the virus of the Dragon with his father.
To sail in their home waters they are accompanied by talented sailors coming from other horizons: Gwen forms one of the favorite crews of the Guyader Grand Prix with Bruno Peyron and Sebastien Magnen while Joseph Guillou surrounds himself by Christophe Lebas and Erwan Dubois, former Figarists and both complete beginners in Dragon.
As always it is the duet of Jean Gabriel le Cléac'h and Jean Coadou who jointly chair the Race Committee made up of a team of great expertise. Two beautiful courses, one of 1.6 miles leg length and the other of two miles, were run today under ideal conditions with a wind of around 210 degrees all day.
Of what to regale itself for the 77 competitors of the Guyader Grand Prix. The Ukrainian Bunker Team had already dominated the results of the preceeding Coupe Crédit Mutuel de Bretegane and confirmed its supremacy in these the first two races as Markus Wieser (UKR 7), Lars Hendriksen (UKR 8) and Evgeniy Braslavets (UKR 9) led the play.
The first race was won by Bunker Queen (UKR 7) followed Bunker Prince (UKR 9) and the second and last race of the day by Bunker Boys (UKR 8). Overall, after two races, it is UKR 7 of Markus Wieser which is the winner of the day.
The Russian Anatoly Loginov on RUS 27 and Lawrie Smith on GBR 751 supplement the podium positions for the day.
Guyader Grand Prix website