DSC_8099RUS 27 rounds a leeward “Gate Mark” in race 2 of Derby Dragon, La Baule..

The sun shone brightly as the 52 Dragons made their way out to the starting area assisted by one of the many helpers who skilfully tow out up to 6 boats at a time against the strong “flood” tide in La Baule. Each team wait patiently to be escorted out of the inner harbour Marina which takes away the stress of trying to sail out of such a narrow entrance…..

Once out on the race course a postponement flag was raised and the fleet had to wait, as they had done the previous day, for the sea breeze to fill in around 1pm. By the time the wind was steady enough for a race it was nearly 1.45pm, so the likelihood was for just one race as the return trip back into the harbour had to be completed by 4.00pm.  After one general recall the PRO Yves Pottier, used the Black Flag and got the fleet away at the second attempt.

11249308_10153460343625757_301261571618754144_n          Clear start of race 2 in La Baule yesterday, photo by Stephanie Billarant.

Although the line had a bias at the pin, most of the fleet tried to start at the committee boat knowing how much the right side of the course had paid the previous day. However, the smart money was to start in the middle or towards the pin as these boats could have speed & space off the line, meanwhile the rest of us battled to get going at the congested committee boat end, big mistake….. believe me !

The pin end boats held the advantage shortly after the start and were able to tack onto port and clear the majority of the fleet. RUS 27 was the boat furthest left and top crew Alexander Shalagin told me after the race “After we sailed for about 5 minutes on starboard most boats had tacked away from us, this allowed us to tack freely and sail in clear air. At first it looked 50/50 but as new pressure came in from the sea we lifted above the fleet and rounded the top mark first”.  (Had they tried that the day before it would not have worked), but tactician Vadim Statsenko called it “spot on” yet again and so helm Antoloy Loginov added to his success of the previous day with another 1st place.

In 2nd place was FRA 416 helmed by Tam Nguyen who had a great start from the middle of the line and was able to control the rest of the fleet once RUS 27 had crossed ahead. 3rd place went to FRA 386 helmed by Luc Pillot. However, second place overall is RUS 98 who added a 4th place to his 2nd yesterday, here we see Igor Goihberg and his professional crew……

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A good Spinnaker Drop by RUS 98, making life easy in La Baule.

With a later high tide tomorrow and an more optimistic weather forecast, this 52 boat fleet are looking forward to a possible 3 race day :-).  Remember…

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