La-Baule2013The President of Y.C.L.B. presents Martin Payne, Dominic & Olivier Bakker with their prizes in La Baule. The team racing GBR 771 Finito’, won the 45 boat regatta by a clear 13pts. In 2nd place was 6 times winner Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen helming GBR 775 “Danish Blue”, followed in 3rd place by the ever popular Guus de Groot NED 309 in “Furie”.

It was another sunny day in La Baule for the final race which saw some major shifts on the first upwind leg, with the wind not quite as strong as previous days, but still from around the North East. The main battle was for 2nd place with both Guus de Groot and Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen having to keep watchful eye out for each other at the start. Although Guus got off to a great start, it was the experience and local knowledge gained from 6 former victories here that gave Poul-Richard the edge and 2nd place overall, so Guus had to settle for 3rd overall, but still an excellent result after 12 months lay off.

Another top sailor, former America’s Cup legend and local hero Yves Pajot had a great race after rounding the top mark in 1st place and finishing well to move into the top 10 overall. Yves told me “Next year Stavros, I will put in a bit of practice and buy a new boat!”, so look out this man will be flying around the race course soon. Also finishing well was another French legend from the Soling Olympic Class Marc Bouet, he helmed FRA 324 Dragon well and finished in a creditable 7th place overall. Marc told me “I have been mainly coaching Olympic classes over the past years, but I really enjoy the Dragon and would like to do more racing again myself in the future”, so another extremely good French Sailor joins our wonderful class.

Remy Arnaud FRA 396 had a good race to pull himself up to 4th overall, after some earlier problems, Remy really came back strong and proved he is still the top French Helm at the moment (although Luc Pillot was not at the regatta), Remy is tough to beat and extremely good in light winds. Then from the UK there was another encouraging performance from GBR 782 “Seeing to” helmed by Dave Atkins who battled hard with a great race to finish to take a well deserved 5th overall. So very well done to Dave, Ian and John for getting their newly acquired boat going so fast from day one.

Having another brilliant race was FRA 365 helmed by Christian Guyader who has Gwen Chapalain calling the shot’s in Louis Urvois former wooden boat Ar Youleg 11, this race win moved Christian to 9th overall and is a great result as he is so new to the class. With FRA 391 Jean Breger sailing consistently well to finish 6th overall and GBR 761 Gavia Wilkinson-Cox finishing a very creditable 8th place overall, all of these top ten teams sailed extremely well on this fantastic flat water, race area overlooked by the wonderful golden beaches of La Baule. The President of the Race Committee Jean-Louis Fabry did an excellent job to complete all TEN races and set some great courses.

So in closing, a big thank you to the Y.C.L.B. and all their Members and Volunteers for making this a most memorable Derby Dragon. We will all be back next year (June 6th-10) 2014, to sail in this “Jewel” location on the beautiful west coast of France………..

Higher, Longer, Faster……………..   Stavros.   GBR 771.  Finito’