DEN 411 Win Gold Cup in Helsinki…  Jorgen Schonherr, Theis Palm & Christian Videbaek.

Like every good book or Movie, it needs a good beginning to get the full attention of it’s reader or audience then a dramatic ending to keep everyone on the edge of their seats eager to know it’s conclusion….   This is exactly what the 2018 Dragon Gold Cup conjured up for its 59 teams from 12 different Nations, in Helsinki.

From the moment International Race Officer Nino Shmueli gave his first briefing on Sunday 22nd July the whole fleet knew they were about to experience a most enthralling 6 days of their lives 🙂

Race 1, for the Borge Borresen Trophy was won by SWE 320 who showed the top Professionals that on any given day a good Corinthian team are as competitive as any highly trained team! Not only did Per Skoglund, Bjorn Osterblom & Patrik Karlsson get a great start, but they led at the first top mark and extended their lead throughout the 2 hours and 20 minute race.

Bjorn, Per & Patrick with the Borge Borresen Trophy presented at the Gala Dinner.

The prestigious BB Trophy was then filled time after time with 2 bottles of matured Whisky donated by Grant Gordon (Glenfiddich) and Terence Brownrigg (Clyde Yacht Club). A truly proud moment for this excellent Corinthian team, many congratulations Gentlemen.

Race 2 was another light wind race sailed in a southerly breeze. Nino Shmueli skilfully set a line with enough port bias to encourage the fleet to spread along the 750m line knowing that sailors would again favour the right side of the course. This time it was Triple Gold Cup winner Jorgen Schonherr helming his new “African Queen” who took full advantage. Jorgen managed to cross the fleet from the Pin End shortly after the start and played the right hand side of the 2.2 mile upwind leg. Although hard right had paid handsomely for SWE 320 the previous day, there was a sting in the tail for boats who elected to go all the way to the starboard lay-line as a left shift at the top of the beat made a significant difference.

 Race 2 Winners Jorgen Schonherr, Theis Palm & Christian Aaberg Videbaek. 

It was another glorious day on the water for both the sailors and the race management team as although the winds were light boats could sail out of the Helsinki Sailing Club Marina to the race course (3.5 miles) and then return under Spinnakers. It was a pleasure to see the colour and satisfaction on the faces of all the competitors as we passed by onboard the Principle Committee Boat on the way back in.

Day 3 saw a change in wind direction as it turned to the East. This certainly challenged the race management team to set a course within the restricted busy shipping lanes of the Tallin to Helsinki Ferries. Knowing that the Gold Cup rules require a course just of around 12 nautical miles, when possible, Nino Shmueli posted an amendment that allowed a third lap of the course. As anticipated, a 1.7 nm first beat did not allow this competitive fleet to separate sufficiently, but it did not affect the result of another excellent and “fair” Gold Cup race….   This time it was our current World Champions TUR 1212 who made a significant statement as they owned the Committee Boat end of the line, tacked early to the right and led the race from start to finish.

As the leaders approached the top mark for a 3rd time in a dying breeze the sensible decision was made to shorten the course on the “Dog-Leg” and not to risk a 3rd and final lap. This proved to be a masterstroke by Nino as the wind gradually died away and many boats gratefully received a tow back to the marina.TUR 1212 stand on top of the 1952 Olympic Podium, DEN 410 (2nd) NED 412 (3rd)

We then had 2 days of little to no wind. Day 4 saw the Race Committee monitor the Race Area in the suffocating heat and glass like water surface whilst the Fleet sat patiently ashore grateful for any shade. Then on Day 5 the fleet were towed out during the middle of the day to provide the smallest opportunity to squeeze in a race should conditions allow, but alas they did not.  So AP over A was displayed at around 3.20pm and the fleet were towed back into the Marina.

I did hear one bright spark who sarcastically mentioned on the VHF that they would indeed “sail” back in.  But even the funnelled wind that sometime prevails between the islands died away and the foolish sailor who made this childish comment had to eat his words as he embarrassingly threw his rope to one of the official tow boats…  I hope the person in question will think twice before communicating such disrespectful words to the Race Committee in the future.

The “Mini-Bar” for Sailors every day back at the HSK, an Optimist full of refreshment 🙂

So onto Day 6 and a climax to make everyone smile !  Two quality races with wind again from the East, but this time around 10kts for Race 5 and an impressive 14 kts for Race 6. With the Race Committee risking life and limb (Literally) the course was stretched to the maximum boundaries of the Shipping Lanes to allow a 2.1 nm first upwind which allowed two excellent races of the highest level.  Both races were dominated and won by TUR 1212 Andy Beadsworth, Simon Fry and Ali Tezdiker, but their early results of 17th & 18th meant that even with three 1st places they would not lift the Cup.

Also having a fantastic final day was GER 1205 helmed by Otto Pohlmann, with Charles Nankin & Hugo Rocha.  This extremely talented for former Finn Sailor will be a concern for the top teams as a BFD in race 1 was the only thing that prevented Otto and his team from a overall podium finish!  Well sailed GER 1205….

However, consistency is the name of the game, especially in this non discard series which makes the Gold Cup such a magnificent event. So it all came down to the final positions of NED 412 Pieter Heerema and DEN 411 Jorgen Schonherr who had just one point separating them going into the last race.

In the end DEN 411 crossed the line 5th and NED 412 7th, so the Gold Cup went to Denmark’s Jorgen Schonherr and runner up to Netherlands Pieter Heerema…  what a finish, what a Championship.  The final beat of the final race…   and that my fellow sailors is what the Gold Cup is all about !  🙂

The GOLD CUP is Jorgen Schonherr’s, Christian Videbaek & Theis Palm’s for 2018.

Runner’s Up   Pieter Heerema, Lars Hendiksen & George Leonchuk, 3rd Andy Beadsworth, Simon Fry & Ali Tezdiker….

A huge thank you to Ted Grondahl from the HSK and all his helpers and volunteers who made this 2018 Gold Cup so special.  We all thank the main sponsor Gurit organised by Rudy Jurg and the many other sponsors for providing an event we will hold dearly in our hearts. Racing Dragons and attending events such as this give us all the opportunity to visit new places, experience different cultures and above all to meet new friends.  In this world of uncertainty and fake news, it’s a breath of fresh air to socialise with true, honest people and forge close friendships that will last a lifetime….

Higher, Faster, Longer……………    Stavros.

More Photo’s, Results, Corinthian news, the fantastic Sami Salomaa Sculpture, Discussions from the Owners Meeting and much, much more to follow…………  🙂