RUS 76 “Rocknrolla”, Kasper, Dmitry & Andrey win in Tallinn.

18 Dragons made the start line for the “Open” Estonia National Championships held in Tallinn 10th – 13th June 2021. This was the sailing venue of the 1980 Summer Olympics in which the United States led a boycott (65 nations) to protest against the late 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. However, in complete contrast, the Estonian Dragon Fleet continues to grow rapidly since being awarded the 2024 Europeans in Parnu. Mihkel Kosk (who put forward the bid to host the 2024 Europeans) explained to me “The Estonia dragon Fleet is now up to 16 boats, despite having a long dark winter, we are seeing more and more sailors join the class. For sure hosting the 2024 Europeans in Parnu gives us all something to look forward to and we will continue to provide top quality racing for all Dragon Sailors who travel to Estonia”.

We all look forward to 2024 Europeans in Parnu, Estonia.

10 races were completed over the 4 days in perfect breezes ranging from 8 to 18kts and from the very beginning it was obvious that the well practiced and successful team onboard RUS 76 were not going to have it all their own way! Indeed the winner of race 1, race 5 and race 9 was a dragon built in 1955 by German builder “Schaal” (primarily for the 1956 Olympics)… now EST 19 owned and helmed by Rene Treifeldt, crewed by Mihkel Kosk & Ivari Vokk. Also very much in the mix was the “Pedersen & Thuessen” GBR 422 formally owned by Sandy Ellis of Torquay, now owned and helmed by Dmitri Bondarenko, crewed by Alexander Shalagin & Aleksei Murashkin. This P & T “Heuschrecke” built in 1966 had a considerable refit by Petticrows in 2015 and is in perfect condition.

Beautiful conditions in Tallinn for the Estonia Nationals.

In the end after 10 races the “Rocknrolla” team finished on just 13pts (1 discard) counting four 1st places, three 2nd’s and a 3rd. Just behind on 16pts was GBR 422 (Dmitri Bondarenko) and 3rd was EST 19 (Rene Treifeldt). Winning helm Dmitry Samokhin told me “I strongly recommend sailing in Tallinn as the racing is not far from the harbour so very convenient, but at the same time no strong shore effect, so every race is fair game with lots of tactical decisions. Tallinn’s Kalev Yacht Club was the venue of the 1980 Olympics and the Olympic “Fire’ Monument is there with names of the winners..including Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen!”

Dmitry continued “Along with Mihkel Kosk the real engine behind the Dragon development in Estonia is Alex Zigadlo, I think their example is very important for the class… they started with 1-3 dragons a few years ago and now have about 16 active dragon teams” Well said Dmitry and congratulations (once again) to you, Kasper & Andrey for winning yet another dragon championship. :-)

Final Podium (left to right) Alexander Shalagin, Aleksei Murashkin, Dmitri Bondarenko “Silver”. Andrey Kirilyuk, Dmitry Samokhin & Kasper Harsberg “Gold”…  Rene Treifeldt, Mihkel Kosk & Ivari Vokk “Bronze”.

Overall winners, RUS 76 prepare to start in Tallinn.

This was yet another well organised Dragon event and a big thank you to Race Officer Madis Ausman and his team for running a great regatta. As we continue to cope with the ongoing pandemic and emerge from covid restrictions we can all look forward to more racing and seeing our Dragon friends again…..

So get your Dragons out of storage, dust off the covers, hitch up the car and drive to the next Dragon event wherever that may be….

Higher, Faster, Longer……   Stavros.