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Australasian Dragon Championship for the Prince Philip Cup - Day 2

by Jonny Fullerton, Dragon Worlds Fremantle 2019 30 Dec 2018 07:52 PST 29 December 2018 - 2 January 2019
Fleet downwind - Australasian Dragon Championship for the Prince Philip Cup, Day 2 © Tom Hodge Media

Just another day in sailing paradise on day two of the Australasian Dragon Championship sailing for the Prince Philip Cup on the blue waters of Fremantle. Two more races held under cloudless skies, a steady breeze ranging from 16 - 19 knots from the regular S/SW sector.

A slightly earlier start time of 1235 hrs meant the first race of the day was sailed in a little lighter conditions of 14 - 16 knots and a milder chop.

30 Dragons started race three of the championship in picture perfect sailing conditions. There were two OCS's, one came back but the other, seasoned Dragon campaigner, Klaus Diederichs, sailing with Jamie Lea and Olympic Star sailor Diego Negri on Fever, were judged to have broken the line. The rest of the fleet stuck with the favoured left side of the beat slogging it almost all the way to the layline before tacking back onto port like a line of soldiers.

First to round was the almost familiar white spinnaker of Provezza Racing helmed by Andy Beadsworth, followed by the similarly familiar multi colour kite of Willy Packer and his team of Scoundrels. Third round was a duo of blue kites of the GBR teams joining the fleet for the first time having just unloaded and rigged their boats.

Downwind some of the other usual suspects in RUS27, Annapurna skippered by Anatoly Loginov and JPN 56, Yanmar Racing helmed by Peter Gilmour led an armada of colourful spinnakers spread across both gybes, much to the delight of chief race officer John Taylor (JT) and his highly experienced team of international race officers.

At the gate the S flag was raised to reduce the upwind leg in length. Smooth rounding's became significant and this time the Turkish flagged Provezza looked to cover all the options of the pursuing Willy Packer on the second upwind leg. The lead group of 5 - 6 boats managed to put some air between themselves and the chasing pack.

Provezza eased home to score their second bullet of the regatta but Willy Packers Scoundrels benefitted when Klaus Diederich's Fever gentlemanly pulled off the course to acknowledge their start break, allowing Willy to take a valuable second ahead of Louise Racing, a British crew skippered by Grand Gordon and his talented team of Ruairidh Scott, Sophie Weguelin and James Williamson. Fourth to cross was Anatoly Loginov in Annapurna and fifth Peter Gilmour's Yanmar Racing Team. Local sailor Ron Packer with his crew of John Longley and Matt Maxted sailed an excellent race to finish 6th.

A short delay for a large shipping movement to enter Fremantle Harbour did not delay proceedings for long. Usefully the pilot was a regular sailing member of host club Royal Freshwater Bay YC and spoke to PRO JT on the radio smoothing the way for racing to get going without any fuss.

Race four of the championship and second race of the day was called as a general recall with an over enthusiastic group in the middle of the line dragging each other over. Second time lucky under U flag was clean and was followed by the all too familiar picture of the majority of the fleet tracking out to the left/inshore side of the course into flatter and slightly smoother waters.

After a 29 minute upwind slog, team Provezza popped her kite right in front of Anatoly Loginov sailing Annapurna with Vadim Statsenko and Alexander Shalagin as crew. These two boats soaked away from Klaus Diederichs in Fever, this time sailing without an OCS to his name. As per race one of the day the downwind sleigh rides were exciting surfing contests.

At the gate the Turkish team hang on to lead from Annapurna with both boats splitting gates. The two GBR boats, Fever and Louise Racing followed with Willy Packer and his Scoundrels working hard to recover places from a less than average upwind leg.

After another shorter upwind leg second time around, it was the Russian flagged Annapurna who rounded in the lead from Louise Racing skippered by Grant Gordon, with Provezza relegated to third.

The final downwind was a close fought chase between the white kite of Annapurna and the blue kite of Louise Racing. Anatoly Loginov recorded his first win of the series followed by Grant Gordon and his best result to date in second. Current world champion skipper Andy Beadsworth had to settle for third. Fourth went to Klaus Diederichs sailing Fever and fifth to Willy Packer.

After two days of the regatta, Andy Beadsworth, Ali Tezdiker and Simon Fry lead with 8 points from Willy Packer, Julian Harding and Jock Packer with 10 points and Anatoly Loginov comfortably sitting in third with 13 points.

Anatoly chats in the bar after racing about racing for the first time here in Fremantle: "I have never sailed here, I have sailed in Melbourne but I like it much better here (sorry Melbourne). I am enjoying it, it is quite pleasant and very unique, it is very interesting downwind in waves. Everybody is testing everything before the worlds."

Racing amongst the Corinthian fleet, largely made up of the Australian based Dragons, remains very close with sometimes 4 - 5 boats crossing the finish line within a few seconds. Today there were very few recorded retirements and only minor breakages reported.

Racing resumes on Monday, the final day of 2018 with two more races back to back with a scheduled start time of 1200 noon. The weather really can't be any better than this but I hate to report to those suffering cold and miserable conditions back in Europe, that the forecast is for more of the same!

Pour a glass of Glenfiddich whisky, watch the videos and ogle over the photos of racing here in Western Australia. Next time come over and experience it for yourself, I dare you!

Talking of Glenfiddich, Grand Gordon provided a wrap up of his first day of racing here in Fremantle.

"It is the first time we have had our Dragon in the Southern Hemisphere and in Fremantle and it is an amazing experience to be here. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to sail in such an amazing area of the world.

The conditions are fantastic, the wind is great, there are some great boats, the people are very friendly, we are made to feel very welcome."

Olympic skiff sailor Sophie Wequelin joins the team for her first Dragon Worlds experience.

"I joined the team in April, It is quite different but it is really interesting working amongst a team with really good sailors and the fleet has got such really experienced sailors so I have learnt a lot about rig set up, tune and stuff that I can transfer back to my skiff sailing. The racing is so tight the tactical plays are so interesting."

The Australasian Dragon Championship is sponsored by Tourism WA, Yanmar and Glenfiddich/Hendricks.

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