2015_06_07_DWC_270 (640x427)
POR 66 Jose’ Matoso, Gustavo Lima & Frederico Melo Win race 1 of the World Championship..

It was just champagne sailing for all the 80 International Dragons in La Rochelle yesterday as the 2015 World Championship “kicked” off in style.

The International Race Officer Philippe Faure set a magnificent 3 hour course with a 2.5 mile first beat, that gave this top International Fleet a most wonderful sailing day. With a 1 pm start and 2 hours of ebb tide still to go it meant that some of the sailors were caught shy of the line as they misjudged their final approach. This allowed for a clean start at the first attempt (nearly unheard of on the Dragon circuit). However, it was more than perfect for the team of POR 66 “Drago” from the Club Naval de Cascais, who elected to start right at the committee boat & tack. This turned out to be the winning move !

With the tide from around 100 degrees and the 14 to 18 kts of North Easterly wind from 035 degrees, it easily allowed those boats who were able to tack onto port to “lee bow” the tide. Whilst the majority of the fleet who were “locked” onto starboard off the line, were unknowing being swept further left. The boats that also made a good start at the committee boat end of the line were GER 11, RUS 27, GBR 585 and SUI 311. As I was on board one of these fortunate teams, it was apparent that the further we continued up the course, the more we were improving on the fleet…..

The experience of Olympian Tactician Gustavo Lima sailing with Jose’ on POR 66 showed as they held their nerve on the far right of the course until it was the correct time to tack and put their gain “in the bank” !  To be fair the 5 boats already mentioned all rounded the top mark well clear of the fleet… Happy Day’s…

2015_06_07_DWC_760 (640x295)

The fleet head towards a BMW racing mark, the main sponsors of this excellent championship.

As the race progressed and the tide slackened the right side advantage became less apparent so it was more important to tack on the wind shifts as the NE breeze continued to strengthen and oscillate down the 2.5 mile course.

GER 11 helmed by Vincent Hoesch worked hard to make inroads into the leading boat, but in the end had to settle for 2nd place. Meanwhile RUS 27 helmed by Anatoly Loginov was giving me (GBR 585) a hard time as we battled for 3rd place. Which meant we had to keep a watchful eye on SUI 311 Hugo Stenbeck who was close behind in 5th place……

2015_06_07_DWC_259 (640x337)Another fantastic on the water photo from yesterday’s racing, in La Rochelle.

Meanwhile the top placed Corinthian was FRA 409 helmed by Gerard Blanc from the Yacht Club de Cannes, who was fighting hard to stay ahead of GBR 763 Simon Barter and GBR 610 Mark Dicker.

Whilst in the new “Masters Trophy” (where all 3 sailors have to be over 50yrs and have a combined age of 165 yrs), it is AUS 225 William Packer who leads the field after having a fantastic race to finish 9th overall. In 2nd place is NED 424 Andre du Pon and 3rd GBR 761 Gavia Wilkinson-Cox.

All in all it was “Just a Perfect Day”…..   Especially for the winning POR 66 team…   Today we see 2 races scheduled for an 11 am start…….

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