Podium teams in Cannes, Grant Gordon (2nd) Klaus Diederichs (1st) with Diego Negri & Jamie Lea. Martin Byrne (3rd) with Adam Winklemann & John Simms.

23 teams participated in the Coupe du Commodore Dragon in Cannes 31st March to 2nd April. With a strong Mistral forecast for Saturday the Race Officer signalled his intentions to try for 4 races on the opening day. In fact 3 races were completed as follows:

Race 1.  Started on time with a steady 5 to 7 its of breeze. IRL 201 made a PIN end start which saw Martin Byrne and his “Jaguar” team take an early lead and go onto win the race comfortably. In 2nd place was GBR 820 helmed by Grant Gordon who managed to pass NED 440 helmed by Henrik van Eyermann on the final downwind leg to the finish line. So IRL 201 1st, GBR 820 2nd & NED 440 3rd.

IRL 201 “Jaguar” Martin Byrne, Adam Winklemann & John Simms Win Race 1.

Race 2.  The breeze freshened a small bit for the second race and a late right shift at the start saw the Committee Boat end of the line favoured. SUI 318 “1 Quick 1” benefited the most and made an excellent start. Wolf Waschkuhn and his top crew of Joao Vidinha & Charles Nankin continued to lead the fleet and went on to win the race, GER 1075 Hannes Hollaender finished 2nd and Grant Gordon helming GBR 820 “Louise” followed up his 2nd in race 1 to finish 3rd. This gave Grant and his 4 man team of Luke Patience, James Williamson & Mark Less a strong position after two races.

More Breeze in Race 2 of the Commodore’s Cup in Cannes.

Race 3.  By mid afternoon race 3 started in a fading breeze. FIN 97 helmed by Olympic Bronze Medalist Jouko Lindgren took an early lead but was caught by eventual race winner Henrik van Eyermann helming NED 440. There was some confusion in this race as a change of course meant the final upwind mark was repositioned. A “Sailing Instruction” amendment indicated that only mark 1 needed to be rounded, but mark 2 remained in very close proximity and 3 boats (SUI 313, IRL 201 & GER 1075) elected to round both marks thus sacrificing good positions. In the end the race was won by NED 440 Henrik van Eyermann, 2nd was FIN 97 Jouko Lindgren and 3rd place our current World Champion Klaus Diederichs helming GBR 819 “Fever’.

Extremely close racing on the opening day of the Coupe du Commodore’ at YCC.

When all teams returned to shore it appeared that NED 440 the V6 owned and crewed by Felix Jacobsen was clubhouse leader with positions of 3, 10, & 1. Next was GBR 820 counting 2, 3, & 9 followed by Klaus Diederichs with 8, 4 & 3. However, a protest between NED 440 & IRL 201 for an incident during the closing stages of race 2 resulted in the disqualification of NED 440. This meant Grant Gordon and his team were the overnight leaders.

GBR 820 “Louise” resting beside GBR 819 “Fever” 1st & 2nd after Day 1.

On day 2 the anticipated Mistral that arrived on Friday night, continued to blow hard on Saturday. Despite the Race Officer trying to get racing underway on time at least half the fleet decided to stay ashore. The boats that stayed ashore were soon relieved to hear that in fact conditions were not suitable afloat, so racing was cancelled for the day and an early lunch could be enjoyed by all in the excellent restaurant at Yacht Club de Cannes.

Day 3.  With a very light wind forecast the Race Officer was applauded for taking his only window of opportunity to squeeze in a 4th race before the breeze dropped below 5kts. All the leaders in race 4 started at the Committee Boat and tacked immediately towards the Island on the right hand side of the course. This strategy proved to be correct as two boats who tacked the earliest FRA 430 Fredrik Malmberg and ITA 80 Elia Bertola led the fleet and went on to finish 1st and 2nd respectively. On the final downwind as the wind died away GBR 819 Klaus Diederichs managed to drift passed IRL 201 Martin Byrne and they finished 3rd & 4th.

This was a high scoring regatta and so the final podium results were:

1st GBR 819 “Fever” Klaus Diederichs, Jamie Lea & Diego Negri (8,4,3,3)

2nd GBR 820 “Louise” Grant Gordon, Luke Patience, James Williamson & Mark Less (2,3,9,10)

3rd IRL 201 “Jaguar” Martin Byrne, Adam Winklemann & John Simms. (1,10,18,4)

3rd place Martin Byrne told me “As always at Yacht Club de Cannes the hospitality, race management and assistance from the volunteers ashore was appreciated by the whole fleet. We were delighted to finish on the podium in this strong fleet and we very much look forward to returning in September (25th-29th) for the prestigious and popular Regates’ Royal”.  Well said Martin and many congratulations to all the podium teams.

Higher, Faster, Longer….    Stavros.