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Marstrand, Sweden to host International Dragon Gold Cup 2021 by Yanmar

by Fiona Brown 26 Jul 2021 07:48 PDT 12-20 August 2021
International Dragon Gold Cup © Fiona Brown

When Pedro Andrade and his crew lifted the historic Dragon Gold Cup on the 14 June 2019, little did they know it would be more than two years before they would be called upon to defend their title.

Traditionally held annually, the 2020 Dragon Gold Cup, was just one of thousands of major international sporting events cancelled due to the Covid crisis. After this unexpected hiatus and having received official approval from the Swedish Government, Marstrands Segelsa¨llskap, Go¨teborgs Kungliga Segelsa¨llskap, the Swedish Dragon Association, the International Dragon Association and the Clyde Yacht Clubs Association are delighted to announce that the 2021 Dragon Gold Cup by Yanmar will be raced off Marstrand, Sweden from 12 to 20 August 2021.

Sweden's sailing capital Marstrand has long been a popular championship venue thanks to its superb harbour and sailing waters. In the far west of Sweden, where the archipelago ends and the open sea begins, this picturesque car-free island boasts a great range of accommodation and is home to a wonderful array of top restaurants, cafes, craft shops, galleries and even a fortress museum.

With over 80 entries from 17 nations already confirmed this will be a very special celebration for the 92-year young Dragon Class. International Dragon Association (IDA) Chairman Jens Rathsack summed up the feeling of the sailors in saying, "The past year and a half has been so frustrating for all sailors, and I want to pay tribute to all our Dragon friends worldwide who have tried to make racing happen wherever they are. It's been especially hard to lose so many of our major championships, and that is why I am so delighted that the Swedish organisers have patiently worked to make this year's Gold Cup happen. I know that it will be a fantastic event and I wish them and all competitors the very best."

The Swedish organisers are truly pulling out all the stops to make this an event to remember. Afloat the race management team will be headed by Race Officer Mattias Dahlström, who's experience includes the America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Olympics, World Match Racing Tour and multiple World and Continental events. He leads an experienced team used to delivering regattas of outstanding quality. Ashore the International Dragon Gold Cup 2021 by Yanmar competitors and their friends and family can look forward to a superb social programme in the elegantly relaxed Swedish style.

Current Gold Cup Champion Pedro Andrade from Portugal will be defending his title and notes that being allowed to retain the prestigious Gold Cup for an extra year has been a high point in an otherwise difficult period, saying: "Keeping the Gold Cup for an extra year was one of the few positive things this pandemic gave me, if not the only one. The best thing about going to Marstrand will be to see everyone's faces again and have a few drinks with my Dragon friends! I'll be coming in full strength with a new boat that I prepared myself through my new project with Petticrows. I wish all sailors the best of luck.... just as long as I can keep it;-)!"

Other top names competing include Germany's Stephan Link and Nicola Friesen, Russia's Anatoly Loginov and Dmitry Samokhin, Denmark's Jørgen Schönherr and Frank Berg, Pieter Heerema from the Netherlands, Australia's Peter Gilmour, who will be sailing for the Japanese YRed Team fielded by the title sponsors Yanmar, and British Olympian and reigning Dragon World Champion Andy Beadsworth, sailing with his Turkish Provezza Dragon team. Leading a strong home challenge will be top Corinthian (all amateur) sailor and reigning Swedish National Champion Martin Pålsson.

For the Swedish fleet, having the honour of welcoming the Gold Cup after such a long break in international competition is a great honour as Marstrand based Dragon sailor Peter Hjörne explains "Marstrand is a magical place with its enormous fortress overlooking the island and village since the mid 1600's. It is an island of contrast. The picturesque village with its many lovely houses, gardens and alleys facing the harbour is contrasted by the wild, barren rocks looking over the Marstrand Fjord where the races will take place. Marstrand is never better than when it is the arena for regattas and sailing championships, and there have been many over the years. The harbour and the waters come to life with sailors, families, different languages and skilled competition. Marstrand is extremely proud to yet again host the Dragon Gold Cup and I know that everyone will do their utmost to make sailors and friends feel welcome to our island!"

Supporting the organisers in creating the event are a host of generous sponsors including title sponsor Yanmar, Henri-Lloyd, Champagne Taittinger, Vontobel, Polestar, X-Shore, Vinn*, Gaustatoppen, TNG Swiss Watches, West Sweden Tourist Board, North Sails, Liros, Garmin, Petticrows, PS Rigging, Marstrandsföretagarna, Marstrands Havshotell, Rutgerson, EBECO, Klockmaster Hansson, Renova, Strandverket Café & Butik, MGB StarBridge, braBil and Ackert.

Christoffer Meyer, Chairman of the Swedish Dragon Association, was delighted to confirm Yanmar's continuing support of the International Dragon Class, saying: "The organising authority of Marstrands Segelsällskap and Göteborgs Kungliga Segelsällskap in cooperation with the Swedish Dragon Association, is honoured to have Yanmar as title partner of the Dragon Gold Cup 2021. Yanmar has been a supporter of the Dragon Class for many years and we know they will help contribute to a lively sailing culture. We share the goal of a sustainable society and will work closely together to pursue this through a pioneering spirit. Further, with a passion for the Dragon class and with operations around the world, Yanmar will certainly contribute to increased awareness for a growing Dragon community. We look forward to this partnership together with our fellow sailors and the municipality of Marstrand."

Said Taro Kitamura, Executive Officer of the Marine Business in Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd.: "Yanmar's energetic support for marine sport is inspired by its close involvement in the sea. Under its Brand Statement of 'A Sustainable Future', Yanmar strives to create value and prosperity and share in the joy and delight of the sea in an exciting life filled with rich and fulfilling experiences."

In keeping with the event’s theme of Sustainability, the organizers are making efforts to minimize the environmental footprint for the event as much as possible with measures to reduce the amount of waste on land and water, minimize CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, operate recycling stations at all jetties and during social events, and by using tap water instead of bottled water as much as possible.

Pre-regatta measurement will commence on Thursday 12 August and conclude on Saturday 14 August. There will be a practice racing on Saturday 14 August and championship racing will run from Sunday 15 to Friday 20 August inclusive. Alongside the Gold Cup itself, the teams will also be competing for the Nations Cup for the leading national team, the Corinthian Gold Cup Trophy which goes to the top performing all amateur crew, the Silver Cup which is awarded to the helm finishing exactly halfway in the rankings, and the Borge Børresen Memorial Trophy for the winner of the first completed race. Entry to the competition closes on 1 August and further details including online entry can be found at www.goldcup21.com.

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