20140226_182233 (640x360)The sky seems to be on fire as the Dragon Mast’s rest safe in the Yacht Club de Cannes…

The Cannes Grand Prix got off to a dramatic start yesterday with two spectacular races in 18 to 20 knots of westerly breeze in the west bay of this picturesque holiday resort. President of the Race Committee Philippe Faure, postponed the 11.30 start to let the overnight easterly breeze die away and allow the predicted westerly to settle. It was a masterpiece of judgement as the 57 boat fleet could then enjoy an afternoon of “full on” racing in this first Grade 1 event of the 2014 calendar.

After two General Recall’s the PRO had little option but to use the Black Flag which certainly made for a fair start with just a few boats disqualified. As the fleet neared the top mark after a beat of around 2 miles, it was clear that Lars Hendriksen and his team were clearly ahead in the newly named “Debutant”. This is the old FIN 50, a Pedersen and Thuesen previously owned by Henrick Dahlman, now after another major re-fit has been lent to Lars by Ivan Bradbury of the UK. This beautiful wooden boat made light of the turbulent seas and took a commanding lead over the long and demanding course. A “proper” race, won by an excellent team.

In race 2 we saw another top sailor, Lawrie Smith helm his brand new Petticrows, “Alfie” into first place after slowly eating away the big lead RUS 76 (Dmitry Samokhin) had established after the first beat. I spoke with one of Lawrie’s professional crew directly after the race to congratulate them on a brilliant piece of sailing, “We had to catch the Rusky’s” he said 🙂

Lars Hendriksen followed up his first race win with an 8th place in race two, so holds a slender lead overall after the first of 4 days of racing. Meanwhile the top Corinthian Team was FRA 396 “Legend” helmed by Remy Arnaud  who put together two excellent results of 4th and a 12th. So very well done to Remy and his team from the wonderful west coast of France town, La Baule.

As the boats returned to the moorings at the ideally situated and extremely well organised Yacht Club de Cannes, there were many tired sailors wearily packing away their beautiful boats, but every single one had a smile on their faces and knew full well that they had just finished a superb day of sailing at the very highest level….

Higher, Faster, Longer………….      Stavros.  (GBR 789).