POR 87 “Jupiter” helmed by Pedro Mendes Leal, with Jorge Ferlov & Pedro Andrade.

16 teams took part in Round 1 of the ‘5th Algarve Dragon Winter Cup’ in Vilamoura, 10th-12th Dec. The regatta was sailed in superb Dragon conditions and under the guidance of IRO Nino Shmueli 7 races were completed over the 3 days. Vilamoura Sailing provide excellent facilities and is the main Olympic Winter Training Centre for all aspiring young sailors, its attraction to Dragon Sailors is also very appealing as no less than 10 Nations were represented! Teams from Netherlands, Ireland, Great Britain, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Russia, Hungary, Denmark and Portugal all participated in this festival of racing at the highest level.

Superb drone photo of the 5th Algarve Dragon Winter Cup.

After his recent Marblehead Trophy success Jens Christensen DEN 410 set the early pace and found himself top of the leader board after 4 races, crewed by Kim Andersen and Christen Videbaek. But this time Jens and his team were not having it all their own way… There was a strong challenge from the Hungarian team aboard HUN 57 “Hanni” led by helm Ferenc Kis-Szolgyemi, crewed by Olympian Karol Vezer who represented his country at the 1996 Olympics in Savannah and Gabor Csaba Denes. This newly arrived team won race 4 and went on to finish 3rd overall, an excellent result as Ferenc and his team have only recently started racing again, well done.

3rd overall HUN 57 “Hanni” Ferenc Kim-Szolgyemi, Karol Vezer & Gabor Csaba Denes.

Another team pushing the Marblehead Champion was Cascais sailor Pedro Mendes Leal who is no stranger to success having won the Juan Carlos Trophy and many Portuguese winter series both in Cascais & Vilamoura. Pedro, helming one of the 8D charter boats “Jupiter” had two race wins (race 2 & race 7) and this would be the deciding factor. Crewed by Jorge Ferlov & the superb Pedro Andrade this team put together a real challenge and beat Jens Christensen overall on count back, a truly remarkable win….

2nd overall, Jens Christensen DEN 410 “Out of Bounce” with Kim Andersen & Christen Videbaek.

It was also great to see former IDA Chairman Vasily Senatorov helming his RUS 34 extremely well finishing 4th overall and enjoying the Algarve sunshine and camaraderie.  Top Lady helm Nicola Friesen was also again in the top 5 of this very competitive fleet. Crewed by Michi Lipp & Killian Welse, Nicola guided her GER 1207 “Khaleesi” to victory in race 4 and finished a very creditable 5th overall..  Very well done Nicola.

Great conditions in Vilamoura and another competitive start.

In the end overall victory went to Pedro Medes Leal, who with two race wins beat Jens Christensen and his team (who had to make a quick dash to the airport, so are missing from the final podium) on count back.. a brilliant result, very many congratulations.

1st POR 87 “Jupiter” Pedro, Pedro & Jorge.. 3rd place HUN 57  with Nino Shmueli (2nd place DEN 410 missing)

So another very successful Dragon Winter Regatta organised by Vilamoura Sailing, Nuno Reis is really doing an excellent job running each event and can look forward to hosting the Dragon World Championship in 2025! The Dragon Class is fighting hard through the pandemic to keep things going and we all hope 2022 will see many more sailors able to travel and participate in regatta’s all over the world…

Higher, Faster, Longer…..    Stay Safe…     Stavros.