Pedro Andrade, Christian Giannini & Charles Nankin win the “Linkers” French Nationals.

It was a close fought French National Championship sailed over 4 days (with one day lost through lack of wind) for the 32 competing teams who completed 6 races off the beautiful coastline of Deauville. Indeed it came down to last race to see who would lift the “Open” Trophy as the “Man” legendary Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen, held a 1 point lead over Portugal’s Pedro Andrade. With a strong adverse current and just enough breeze to make upwind progress the fleet made a clear start at around 1.30pm. Those boats who were able to continue on starboard off the line, held the advantage, whilst those who had to tack away to clear their air, sailed out to the right into more tide…  POR 71 (Pedro) made a good start, whilst GBR 822 (Poul-Richard) was forced to tack away… the game was over at that moment. Pedro went onto to win the race, while Poul-Richard finished in 8th place, thus having to settle for the runners up spot.

Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen with Theis Palm (Hamish Mackay is missing) finished a creditable 2nd overall.

I spoke with the great Man after sailing, he told me “We had a boat below us just before the start who put their bow too high against the tide. This meant they were more or less head to wind, so we could not accelerate off the line… eh! So we had to tack away and this was not good”.  Never mind PR it’s still another excellent result and we all love to see you back racing in the class you transformed making it everything it is today.  Without your expertise, knowledge and hard work over the last 30 years the Dragon would not be the best One Design Keelboat in the World. So for that alone everyone is so grateful and long may you continue to race with us…  🙂

This victory for Pedro Andrade adds yet another title to his impressive sailing CV highlighted by winning the European Championships last year, followed by runners up spot at the Gold Cup in St Tropez assisted by his extremely able crew Charles Nankin.  So many congratulations to you both and also to experienced American Sailor Christian Giannini who is new to the Dragon Class but worked well in the middle of this new Petticrows V6 to bring home the victory in Deauville…

Meanwhile the battle was on to see who would be the highest ranked French boat and take the French National Title…   In the end it came down to 2 excellent sailors from different spectrums of yachting…   Philippe Presti helming FRA 425 and Gerry Trentesaux in FRA 401. Both of these French sailors are legends in their respective disciplines, Philippe won the Finn Gold Cup in 1993 & 1996, attended two Olympics 1996 & 2000, also was the sailing coach for the Oracle Team at both the 2013 & 2017 America’s Cup !  Whilst Gerry won the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race, finished runner up in the 2015 Sydney to Hobart Race winning his Division and led the French Team to victory in the 2006 Commodores Cup !

2018 French Champion Gerry Trentesaux & crew, (on right “Linkers” Philippe Delecourt).

In the end it was Gerry in FRA 401 who finished an excellent 3rd overall & won the French title with his 4 man crew who include J 80 World Champions Eric Brezellec & Jean Queveau, along with Jideon Klieger (coach of the Swedish 470 Mens Team). A great team!

4th overall FRA 425 Dominique Hebrard, Francois Laborde & Philippe Presti.

Far left in the above photo is President du Committe’ de Course, Patrick Villette who did an excellent job of race management. Second left is Deauville Yacht Club President Mousier Eric Lebon, who organised a fantastic event and announced that the 2019 Deauville event will run from Weds 19th to Sat 22nd June.  This is a date to remember if you want to join in the fun and test your skills at this picturesque sailing venue in Northern France….

With “Linkers” Philippe Delecourt  also guaranteeing to sponsor the event in the future the Deauville Yacht Club are in great shape and we can all look forward to another top event next year.  Finally a huge thank you to all the helpers and volunteers for making this such a memorable sailing regatta…

Higher, Faster, Longer………..     Stavros.