As I drove into Douarnenez yesterday it was fantastic to see the huge colourful sails of the bigger yacht’s like the Open 60’s already competing in the wonderful bay….  With such great sailors out there like Marc Guillemot, Vincent Riou and Jean le Cam pushing all the competitors to their limits, it should prove to be another spectacular event. The sun was out and a cool Northerly breeze was propelling these “speed machines” across the flat, blue waters as fast as the eye could follow…..  It was a truly magnificent sight.

So then onto the car/boat park area and many Dragons waiting under their ever smarter covers, to be unwrapped and rigged for the challenge ahead. With 63 boats entered for the first event and another 20 boats set to join in for the popular Grand Prix, Louis and his many helpers have once again sewn the seeds for a most memorable regatta. This is my 11th year in Douarnenez and I have never experienced such fine weather, the God’s must be liking this spectacular week of sailing, as the sun shines and the blue waters of this unique bay look most inviting. Long may it continue…..

After rigging the boat I am sailing this week (USA 310) with it’s proud American owner Ted Sawyer, I wondered over to the busy Tent to say my hello’s to Annie, Francois, Yves and all the other volunteers/helpers that make this event run so smoothly year after year. This time the main sponsor is Guyader who traditionally are known for their Seafood and Pork dishes, so no doubt we sailors will have the opportunity over this coming week to sample and enjoy their many products. Whilst we also thank them for helping to run this event, as every successful event “needs” a good sponsor, so well done to them!

Looking at the entry list there are the usual boat numbers and familiar names that jump out at you from the paper and you can immediately picture the favourites winning the trophies…… Tommy Muller, Anatoloy Loginov, Markus Wieser and Lars Hendriksen will, I’m sure all be in the mix when the Grand Prix begins on Wednesday, but watch out boy’s as a certain current Dragon World Champion is on his way, yes Lawrie Smith will be here for the main event with another brand new Petticrow…..  Also at the front of the pack I would expect to see Richard Lynn who is making the long trip over again from Australia, welcome Richard and good luck to you all. Whilst we look to the potential leaders lets not forget some of the older more experienced sailors who were more or less “Born” in a Dragon…  None more so that 90 year old Yves Theze who has recently received a special award from the French Federation for holding his sailing license for the most years!

I have spent many a time listening to how Yves used to sail his old wooden Dragon from Douarnenez all the way over to the UK to compete in a regatta….  Truly, an amazing achievement and such wonderful memories.. Well done Yves, we are all humbled by your skills.. Long may you continue to enjoy life in the Dragon Class…

Higher, Faster, Longer…………..   Stavros (USA 310)