Graham Bailey wins the French Open Championship in Deauville in the most famous Dragon.

The popular Linkers Sponsored French National Championship was hosted by Deauville Yacht Club from June 21st to 24th in the most stunning conditions. This year 27 teams attended the regatta organised superbly well, once again, by Commodore Eric Lebon. The amazing recently built Deauville Yacht Club, situated in this picturesque seaside Normandy town, is perfect for organising top class events. With golden beaches, two world class golf courses, high-end hotels, boutiques and restaurants, Deauville is certainly a place all Dragon sailors should visit at some time.

 

Deauville Yacht Club surrounded by Dragons offer’s access through tidal gates.

With 5 races completed over the 4 days the Championship Title came down to the final day with 3 teams still able to win overall. FRA 428 (Gery Trentesaux) UAE 17 (Anatoly Loginov) and GBR 192 (Graham Bailey) were all virtually tied on points going into the last race. In 6kts knots of wind and a left to right “cross” tide it was easy for the fleet to get pushed over the line, so a Black Flag was displayed. After a clear start GBR 192 was able to “lee-bow” the tide on starboard tack and made a significant gain on the far left of the course. FRA 428 and UAE 17 were in close pursuit, but it was NED 438 (Jan Bakker) who kept the closest. Having faith in his ability and general tactical awareness Graham Bailey judged his port crossing in the famous “Bluebottle” to perfection and rounded the top mark clear ahead.

GBR 192 “Bluebottle” leads the final race in Deauville.

FRA 428 Gery Trentesaux had to settle for 2nd overall.

After the fleet got closer to Bluebottle at the bottom gate, Graham once again stuck to his conviction of the left side of the course and despite the bold efforts of the chasing pack, went on to take the win and with it the overall French Championship. Many congratulations to him and his wife Julia, with other crew Will Bedford and Gillian Hamilton. I asked Graham to summarise his success, he told meWe were keenly aware of the historical significance of Bluebottle once again visiting in Deauville. Her first visit was in 1949 when she crossed the English Channel on her own keel to win the Viginie Heriot Cup and 75 years later has sailed away with the Linkers French Championship. We felt someone was was looking down on us in that last race when it was between us, Gery and Anatoly. Surely the fairy tale could not come true–but it did. We are beyond thrilled and especially pleased that Admiral Neil Rankin, Chairman of the Royal Britannia Trust was there to witness history repeating itself. Dreams are made of this.”

Well said Graham and many congratulations again to you and your team… a brilliant achievement.

Final Podium GBR 192 (left) Commodore & Linkers Sponsors (Middle) UAE 17 & FRA 428 (Right).

Commodore Eric Lebon with our IDA Chairman at the Linkers Dinner in Deauville.

This was a most excellent Championship sailed in great spirit and friendship. A truly memorable Dinner was held at the beautiful Royal Hotel where over 180 sailors and friends enjoyed an enjoyable party. As I mentioned before, Deauville is a very special place and to see history repeating itself after 75 years shows once again how special our wonderful Dragon Class is……. Congratulations “Bluebottle”.

Higher, Faster, Longer……    Stavros.   (GBR 790).