The World Champions, TUR 1212 “Provezza” win Guyader Grand Prix. Simon Fry, Andy Beadsworth & Ali Tezdicker.

The final day of the 2018 Douarnenez Grade 1 Grand Prix, sponsored by Guyader, saw the 40 Dragons quietly trickle out of the town Marina in sunshine with a slight southerly breeze.  By the time the first race (race 6) got underway, the breeze seemed more settled with normal oscillations that you expect with wind coming from the land. The three main overall contenders, TUR 1212, NED 412 & GBR 819 all rounded the top mark in good shape. But as the wind dropped on the downwind leg NED 412 gained an advantage with skilful measured gybing. This allowed NED 412 to round the left hand gate looking for new pressure which tactician Lars Hendriksen hoped would come from the west, TUR 1212 also elected to favour the right side in hot pursuit. Meanwhile GBR 819 Klaus Diederichs  looked “strong” on the left side of the second upwind after rounding the right hand gate and could now almost touch the shortened course finish only metres away. But…  as the southerly wind completely died the right side became the place to be, so it was Pieter Heerema who took the win, TUR 1212 Andy Beadsworth finished 3rd and GBR 819 Klaus Diederichs 5th…

NED 412 “Troika” Pieter Heerema, Lars Hendriksen & George Leonchuk win Race 6, but had to settle for 3rd overall.

This set of results saw TUR 1212 and NED 412 tied on 9pts with GBR 819 5pts further back. As the current World Champions only had a 4th place discard, it meant Klaus Diederichs could no longer catch them overall even by winning the final race. So now that Pieter Heerema was the only threat, you could be sure Andy Beadsworth would be giving the Dutch Skipper his full “Americas Cup” Match Race attention. In simple terms, if TUR 1212 could prevent NED 412 finishing in the top 4 the Grand Prix title was theirs and that is exactly what happened…   Meanwhile, the 7th and final race was all out tussle between FRA 207, GBR 585 and in the end GER 1162, with the latter, Stefan Link eventually taking the win.

GER 1162 “Desert Holly” Stephan Link, Frank Butzmann & Michi Lip win race 7.

With Pieter Heerema receiving such heavy cover from Andy Beadsworth, there was a danger that the Dutch Sailor could also lose 2nd overall as his BFD discard meant his final race position had to count. In the end when the Provezza team finally did call time on their tactical approach it was too late for NED 412 to fully recover allowing GBR 819 Klaus Diederichs to jump into the runner’s up spot by just 1pt!

2nd Overall GBR819 “Fever”  Jamie Lea, Diego Negri and helm Klaus Diederichs.

RUS 76 was still “Rocknrolling” into 4th overall and Princess Sofia winner Otto Pohlmann helming his newly purchased PCT Dragon GER 1205 finished a very creditable 5th place.  An excellent result considering Otto elected to take a considerable break from sailing of around 30 years!

RUS 76 Dmitry Samokhin, Andrey Kirilyuk & Alexey Bushuev “RocknRolla” into 4th overall.

GER 1205 Otto Pohlmann, Markus Koy & Hugo Rocha, a respectable 5th place overall.

It is also great to see “Family” members coming into the Dragon Class and following in Philip & Nicola Dohse footsteps is their son Max, helming GER 1203 “Rocco’s” crewed by his fellow Corinthian friends Rasmus Nielsen, Thomas Dehler  & Simon Klass.  This young team worked well together and always brought a smile to the race course. 🙂

Top Corinthians GER 1203  Max Dohse, Simon Klass, Thomas Dehler & Rasmus Nielsen.                              When Max and his team were awarded the Corinthian Prize, he did mention that in fact his Father’s team GER 1151 (who finished 7th overall) were also Corinthian but had failed to register this fact! Don’t worry Max, as we get older our memories start to cloud a little…..  So many congratulations to you and your team, may it be the first of many.

So there we have it fellow sailors and Dragon enthusiasts, another action packed IDA Grade 1 event over in this extremely popular town of Douarnenez. Many thanks to main sponsor Christian Guyader and to all the helpers & volunteers led by Delphine Largenton of the Societe’ des Regates de Douarnenez (S.R.D.).  We all look forward to coming back in 2019……

I would also like to thank Francois Van Malleghem for allowing me to use many of his excellent photos..

Higher, Faster, Longer………    Stavros.   (GBR 585).