JPN 56 “YRed” Wins in Cannes, Yaji Yasuhiro, Peter Gilmour & Sam Gilmour.

The opening IDA Grade 1 of 2022 took place in Cannes March 2nd to 5th after it was moved from Monaco for logistical reasons. IDA Chairman Gerard Blanc, PRO Jerome Nutte & their team of volunteers from YCC did an excellent job to host a great championship at such short notice and all 22 Dragon teams enjoyed a wonderful high quality regatta.

In recent months GPS marks have helped many deep water venues speed up the delivery of line setting, mark laying and course changes. The “Seadis” MarksetBot’s supplied by Dutch Dragon brothers Michiel & Wouter van Dis are easy to use and clear to see on the water.

Amazing sailing in the West Bay of Cannes with the spectacular town in full view.

The event began on Thursday with a clear blue sky, warm sunshine and a nice southerly breeze which is ideal for racing in the beautiful West bay of Cannes. Klaus Diederichs helming his Petticrows V6 “Fever” GBR 819 was the first to tack at the committee boat (after a mediocre start) and get out to the right-hand-side of the 1.2nm course. Quite often in the West bay with a southerly wind boats on the starboard side gain and this was certainly the case on this occassion and allowed Klaus, Jamie Lea & Diego Negri to lead at the top mark, followed by GBR 633 & FRA 428. As the race progressed GBR 819 extended their lead whilst JPN 56 and SWE 401 pulled through to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively.


GBR 819 “Fever” Won Race 1. Klaus Diederichs, Jamie Lea & Diego Negri.

Race 2 was sailed in slightly more breeze as the southerly wind increased to 15kts, so the upwind leg was increased to 1.5nm. This time it was Peter Gilmour helming “YRed” JPN 56 who made the best of these excellent conditions to take line honours, followed home by SWE 401 Martin Palsson 2nd and SWE 345 Jan Secher 3rd. On Day 2 the wind switched to the East so boats headed left out of the YCC Marina towards the famous Ile Sainte-Marguerite as the starting line was set close by, due to the depth of water.   Three boats were over the line at the start of Race 3 under a Papa Flag (GBR 819, SUI 313 & SWE 401) but only SWE 401 returned so GBR 819 & SUI 313 were out. The race was eventually won by JPN 56, SWE 345 Jan Secher was 2nd and BEL 82 with Xavier Vanneste finished 3rd.

Racing in the East Bay overlooked by the Ile Sainte-Marguerite.

Race 4 start was started under a Black Flag after a General Recall with the Papa Flag, this time just one boat was too early (SWE 401) and immediately retired from the race after the VHF announcement. Martin Palsson was the helm of that boat and once again showed impeccable sportsmanship by leaving the race course so as not to disturb other sailors. After another excellent race with two upwind & downwind legs of 1.5nm it was GBR 819 who took the win, 2nd was BEL 82 Xavier Vanneste who once again is finding good form racing with Gustavo Lima & Karl Odent and SUI 313 Dirk Oldenburg finished 3rd after the disappointment of the OCS in Race 3.

SUI 313 “Free” Dirk Oldenburg, crewed by Ian Ainslie & Dominik Zycki 4th Overall.

On Day 3 the fleet were once again sent to the East Bay in which looked to be the best conditions possible and indeed Race 5 started on time in 12kts under the Papa Flag. Just 1 boat, FRA 391, was over but failed to respond quickly enough to correct their mistake so by the time Jean Breger and his team returned to the line, 4mins was up and the line was closed. Meanwhile it was the current French Champion Gery Trentesaux helming FRA 428 “Bande A Part” who arrived at the windward mark first after the 1.5nm upwind. SUI 313 was again having a good race with GBR 819 and SWE 345 in hot pursuit.

FRA 428 “Bande A Part” Gery, Jean, Pierre & Sofian leading Race 5.

Unfortunately, the wind began to drop and PRO Jerome’ Nutte made the excellent call to reduce the second upwind leg to just 1nm. This allowed the fleet to sail the full course and finish at the Committee Boat on the second downwind leg. FRA 428 maintained their lead and held on to win with SUI 313 2nd and GBR 761 Gavia Wilkinson-Cox fighting her way through the fleet to finish a creditable 3rd.

Gery Trentesaux FRA 428 wins Race 5, with Jean, Sofian & Pierre.

Although the Race Committee had good intentions of starting more races the breeze continued to fall away and despite waiting on the water for a further 2 hours, no more wind arrived so the fleet was sent ashore. This left the overall leaderboard with two boats tied on 10 points (after discard) JPN 56 and GBR 819, with SWE 345 Jan Secher just 4pts adrift in 3rd place. So with everything to play for on the final day teams were called to the YCC one hour early to start at 11am, but unfortunately a light Northerly wind proved too inconsistent to set a decent course and eventually at a little before 2pm racing was sadly abandoned for the day. On count back JPN 56 & GBR 819 both had two 1st places, so the event was decided on the next set of results and Peter was counting a 2nd to Klaus’s 4th..

Winners JPN 56 “YRed” Peter & Sam Gilmour with Yaji Yasuhiro.

This was the first Dragon victory for the “Yanmar” team and winning helm & sailing legend Peter Gilmour told us  “We are really pleased to win this regatta at Yacht Club de Cannes as one of the IDA Dragon Grand Prix events. This is the first event we have won in the Dragon Class, having knocked on the door a few times and it was quite unexpected. We have a great deal of respect for all the Dragon Sailors competing and as a team we acknowledge it is possible for anyone to win on their day. These boats are very hard to sail and keep at speed for an entire race. The YANMAR racing team of Yaji san and Sam did a great job in preparing the boat and I really appreciate their effort in getting me up to pace after a 2.5 year break due to covid.”

Final Podium…Gerard Blanc presents the top 3 teams..  1st Peter Gilmour, Sam Gilmour, Yaji Yasuhiro. 2nd Klaus Diederichs, Jamie Lea & Diego Negri. 3rd Jan Secher, Torvar Mirsky & Oisin John McClelland.

Peter continued “The FEVER team finished on equal points and we understand their disappointment to lose on count-back after having no chance for racing on the final day. We are happy for Jan Secher and his Miss Behaviour team (Torvar Mirsky & Oisin John McClelland) with their 3rd overall, it shows how important consistency is at this level. Overall for “YRed” it is tremendous to be back in Europe and we look forward to San Remo next week and on to the Dragon Europeans (April 4th-8th)”. Well said Peter & many congratulations to team “YRed”…..

Top Corinthian Team went to SWE 401 Martin Palsson who had to settle for 6th overall discarding his BFD in Race 4. Martin is still smiling from winning the Grand Prix “Finals” race in San Remo at the end of 2021, so his team of Thomas Wallenfeldt & on this occasion Gustav Gardeback are still proving Corinthian Teams can compete with the worlds best!

Top Corinthian Team SWE 401 Martin Palsson, Thomas Wallenfeldt & Gustav Gardeback.

So there we have it fellow Dragon Sailors, the first Grade 1 of 2022 is over and many congratulations to Peter, Sam & Yaji for their first major Dragon Victory…

So now all eyes focus on San Remo for next weeks Paul & Shark Open International Cup 14th to 17th March (with 48 boats entered). Followed by the Dragon European Championship (again in San Remo April 4th to 8th) with a 60 boat fleet expected ! The Dragon Class is back, “Big Time”…  Get to San Remo, Italy to join in the fun…

Higher, Faster, Longer……   Stavros. (Committee Boat).

Huge thanks to professional photographer Jehan Lerin for these excellent photos…  Checkout his full set of pictures on