GBR 408 Dmitry Bondarenko wins in Helsinki.

The Finnish Dragon Fleet have been able to continue racing during the Covid-19 pandemic since the cancellation of their early May regatta. The other positive news is the fleet has continued to grow with several new boats and younger sailors coming into the class. Last week 17 boats participated in their National Championships organised by the HSK (Helsinki Sailing Club) with experienced Ted Grondal as Race Officer. The first day of racing had to be postponed due to heavy fog, but the teams were welcomed back to the club with Soup, Bread and Beers to cheer everyone up and catch up on stories after the Summer vacation.

Race Officer Ted Grondal aboard the HSK Committee Boat.

As 2 races were lost on the first day an early start on day 2 saw the fleet complete 3 races in perfect weather conditions, 22 degrees and 8kts of breeze. Race 1 was won by GBR 408 Dmitry Bondarenko, 2nd FIN 92 Peter von Koskull and 3rd was SWE 363 Henri Virkkunen a new team to the fleet.

Superb conditions in Helsinki on Day 2 of the Finnish Nationals.

In Race 2 Lady Helm Sara Antila made an excellent start and increased her lead to round the top mark in first position closely followed by GBR 408. Although Sara held her nerve and the lead it was a small crewing error at the second rounding of the top mark that allowed GBR 408 to sneak ahead and hold on to win the race, with Sara in FIN 89 2nd and FIN 92 3rd.

Girl Power, Sara Antila with Rudy and Mia had a great result in Race 2.

In Race 3 a few boats were OCS and with the fleet splitting equally to both sides of the course it was FIN 92 Peter von Koskull sailing 4 up who emerge as the winners, FIN 64 helmed by sailing legend Tompa Jungell was 2nd and GBR 408 Dmitry Bondarenko 3rd. Back ashore the local Dragon association had again organised nice food in the form of a Bar-B-Q with Sausages and of course Beer..

FIN 92 Peter von Koskull and his team win Race 3.

On the final day the sun shone again and with a 10-13kt breeze conditions were near perfect for 3 more races on the 1954 Helsinki Olympic Race Course. This time it was the youngest helm in the fleet Henri Virkkunnen in SWE 363 who took the win, 2nd was Sami Salomaa in FIN 72 (a borrowed boat for Sami whilst his own Dragon is stuck in Puerto Portals) and 3rd was FIN 64 Tom Jungell.

Perfect conditions for the final day in Helsinki.

With FIN 92 Peter von Koskull winning Race 5 it all came down to the final Race 6 to see who would lift the  winners Trophy as GBR 408 & FIN 92 went head to head. In the end it was Dmitry Bondarenko helming his beautiful Pedersen & Thuessen GBR 408 who won the final race and took the Championship on count back from FIN 92 2nd and FIN 64 Tompa Jungell 3rd overall.  A special mention for the young helm Henri Virkkunnen for finishing a creditable 4th overall in SWE 363.

The next regatta for the Finnish Fleet will be the popular “Rappu” (Crayfish) organised by Sami Salomaa over the weekend of 22/23rd August. This takes place by Sami’s house in a Harbour with a nice racing area,  nearby sauna and fine food and beer….  No wonder the Finnish Dragon Fleet are very much alive and kicking!

Higher, Faster, Longer…..   Stay safe.      Stavros.

P.S.    Many thanks to for these fantastic photo’s….