British Team Captain David Palmer reports from Hong Kong on the Prince Henrik Silver Trophy.
The Prince Henrik Silver Trophy, the premier team racing event in the Dragon Class calendar, has been won for the third time running by Britain’s Royal Yacht Squadron at a regatta held in Hong Kong from January 26 to 28.
Second was the Royal Danish Yacht Club. Third were the Cercle de la Voile d’Arcachon, and fourth were the hosts, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
Each team sailed 27 races over nine full round robins, a total of 17 hours on the water.
The event was brilliantly organised by Lowell and Phyllis Chang. Hong Kong boasts a resurgent Dragon fleet, with growing numbers of new and second hand boats.
The results were:
Royal Yacht Squadron: 23 wins 4 losses
Royal Danish: 17 wins 10 losses
Cercle de la Voile d’Arcachon: 9 wins 18 losses
Royal Hong Kong : 5 wins 22 losses
The margin of the British win masks some tremendously close matches between the British and the Danes. The difference between the two teams was Graham Bailey, multiple class championship winner, and double race winner at the 2012 Dragon Gold Cup. Graham was the fastest boat on the water. But he matched his superior boat speed with some daring team racing manoeuvres to turn losing into winning positions for the British.
In one race against the French, the British were in second, third and sixth positions, a losing combination. Graham waited at the last leeward mark, timed his entry into the zone perfectly, and took out not one but two French boats in a perfectly exercised team racing manoeuvre. The British won the race with a two/three/four finish.
The other British helms were Buddha Hunt, recent winner of the Hong Kong Dragon Championships, and David Palmer, a past winner of both the Edinburgh Cup and the Italian Dragon Championships.
The Danes had come to Hong Kong determined to win. Philipp Skafte-Holm, the Danish team captain, brought with him Crown Prince Frederik, an outstanding Dragon sailor who had former Dragon World Champion Theis Palm as his middle man/tactician; Valdemar Bandolowski, a double Olympic Gold Medallist; Peter Warrer, father of a Danish Gold medallist in Beijing; and Peter Kampmann, a former crew of Paul Elvstrom.
On the final day, Prince Henrik himself helmed two of the races, and recorded a first place in a Danish victory over Hong Kong.
The event was founded in 1988 by Prince Henrik, Prince Consort to the Queen of Denmark, and Lowell Chang, doyen of the Royal Hong Kong YC. The four clubs take turns to host the event.
The RYS has now won it three times in a row – the first time in the history of the tournament that this has happened.
David Palmer, RYS team captain, said how proud he was to have captained the RYS team to three straight wins.
“After leading the RYS in four Prince Henriks, I am now retiring as team captain while I am ahead,” he told competitors at the prize-giving dinner.
The RYS has accepted David’s recommendation that Graham Bailey should be their new team captain.
The next Prince Henrik regatta will be in Copenhagen in the summer of 2014.
Royal Yacht Squadron: David Palmer (captain); Graham Bailey; Buddha Hunt; Julia Bailey; Charles Street; Bill Daniels; David Ross; Oliver Merz; Marty Kaye; Tim Somerville
Royal Danish YC: Philipp Skafte-Holm (captain); HRH Prince Henrik; HRH Prince Frederik; Valdemar Bandolowski; Peter Warrer; Theis Palm; Peter Kampmann; Soren Pehrsson; Lars Broen; Thomas Dresler; Carsten Hey; Soren Havlso; Lars Gelbjerg-Hansen
Cercle de la Voile d’Arcachon: Bertrand Moussie (captain); Brigitte et Vincent Jeantet ; Barbara et Erick Teetsov; Dominique et Benjamin Herpe; Thierry et Paul Garnier; Dominique Hébrard; Babou Pasturaud; François Macheras; Stéphane Baseden
Royal Hong Kong YC : Simon Chan (captain) ; Phyllis Chang; Jozef Roels; Andreas Brechbuhl; Virgile Bertrand; Marc Castagnet; Joseph Chu; Karl Gretstad; C.C. Lu; Dan Lindwall; Tam Ngugyen; Karina Trebbien; Louis Audibert; Peter Baer; Harald Berge; Nick Bilcliff; Victor Pang; Pierre Buet; Judy Cheng; Alex Cribbin; Thomas Gruget ; Sytske Kimman; Kwong Ming Hon; Lui Kam; Simon Pickering; Andrew Richards; Matt Wacker; Simon Wong.