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Dragon Grand Prix Germany - Preview

by Fiona Brown 2 Jul 2019 03:37 PDT 3-6 July 2019
Dragon Grand Prix Cannes 2019 day 3 © Elena Razina

Kühlungsborn on Germany's Baltic coast is the venue for the third and penultimate regatta in the 2019 Dragon European Cup Series. Forty of the top International Dragon teams from across Europe and as far afield as Japan are gathering to compete in the Dragon Grand Prix Germany from 3 to 6 July, being hosted by the Segelclub Kühlungsborn and the German Dragon Fleet.

With two of the four qualifying events in the European Cup Series already completed, the competition is hotting up to decide who will make the Grand Final in Palma de Mallorca in November. Teams require results from three of the four qualifying events to be eligible for the 20-boat finale so every point counts.

The opening events of the series, in Cannes in April and Cascais in May, were windy affairs and it looks like that trend will continue in Germany. The forecast is promising strong predominantly north westerly winds throughout the regatta so the sailors can expect challenging and spectacular conditions for the eight scheduled races. The regatta is based at the new Kühlungsborn Marina and racing will take place on the open waters of the Baltic just a short sail from the harbour.

Current series leader Grant Gordon from Scotland will not participate in this event. A third place at the Dragon Grand Prix Cannes followed by a win in the King Juan Carlos Trophy Regatta in Cascais have given him a four-point lead, but at the half way mark in the series there are still plenty who can challenge him.

Grant's nearest rivals are Portugal's Pedro Rebelo de Andrade and Switzerland's Hugo Stenbeck, who hold seven points apiece. Andrade is on something of a roll at the moment having also recently won the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup in Medemblik, where he sailed an incredible series in exceptionally tough conditions to claim victory against a 90 strong fleet. However, this week he will be crewing for a German client rather than helming his own boat, so his results will not count towards his European Cup Series ranking.

Stenbeck, a renowned Star and 6 Metre sailor, finished second in the last European Cup Series event in Cascais and must be hoping that the absence of Gordon and Andrade will allow him to gain the upper hand. Also still very much in contention are Russia's Dmitry Samokhin and Pieter Heerema of the Netherlands who hold ten and eleven points respectively.

Having missed the Cascais regatta, Germany's Tommy Müller will return to the fray in Kühlungsborn. He ran a very close second to Andrade in Cannes and as one of the most consistent and successful Dragon sailors of all time we can no doubt expect to see him gracing the front of the fleet this week too. He also loves heavy weather sailing, so Dragon sailors beware...Tommy is back!

Like Müller, fellow German Markus Brennecke also missed the Cascais event, but having finished fourth in Cannes he will be hoping for another podium result and a chance to jump up the European Cup Series ranking at his home event. Others racing to ensure they make the cut of 20 boats eligible for November's final include Russia's Anatoly Loginov, Vasily Senatorov and Victor Fogelson, Monaco's Jens Rathsack, Frenchmen Gery Trentesaux and Stephane Baseden and Peter Gilmour sailing for Japan.

Racing is expected to commence at noon on Wednesday 3 July with up to three races a day possible. Eight races in total are schedule and the regatta will conclude on Saturday 6 July when no warning signal will be made after 15.00. Daily reports and results will be available from www.intdragon.net and via the IDA Facebook page.

The full entry list and further event information can be found at dragon-kuehlungsborn.de. The provisional Dragon European Cup Series 2019 results after two races can be found here.

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