Team “RocknRolla” winners of Danish Grand Prix in Dragor. With Mik Jensen (Dragor Sejlklub).

The first Grand Prix of 2021 was completed in Dragor, Denmark after 6 quality races were sailed in testing conditions from 29th July to 1st August. After losing the opening day (Thurs 29th) with too much breeze, the 27 teams also waited ashore on day 2 until International Race Officer Nino Shmueli signalled conditions were suitable for one race at around 5pm. Sure enough the extremely strong winds eased sufficiently and Race 1 was completed in 18 to 20 knots with a strong Southerly current producing surfing opportunities on the downwind legs (a typical wind against tide/current sea state). RUS 76 showed their intentions from the onset by winning this opening race, followed closely by “Back to Back” Double World Champions TUR 1212 & SUI 318 “1 Quick 1” who finished 3rd.

RUS 76 win race 1 in Dragor.

The sailors retuned to Dragor Sejlkub to have Beers and Burgers served with typical Danish hospitality.  Notice was then published by the Race Committee that 3 races would be sailed the following day to catch up with the planned program and on Saturday this schedule was delivered with 3 excellent races.

Saturday produced similar conditions to the previous day, 3 boats were Black Flagged at the start of race 2 (RUS 76, JPN 56 & GER 16), this was announced on the VHF radio and all three teams left the race area as requested. Meanwhile it was the local team in DEN 408 helmed by Stig Lassen, crewed by owner Soren Hvalso & Carsten Hey who took the victory and also won race 3 showing this strong International Fleet that Corinthian Sailors can still match the skills of the Professional Teams. Fantastic job guy’s, well done!

DEN 408 “Flawless” double race winners on Day 3 in Dragor.

Following home DEN 408 in race 2 was RUS 27 (Anatoly Loginov, Vadim Statsenko & Alexander Shalagin) and 3rd place went to another Corinthian team DEN 417 (Bo Sejr Johansen, Morton Davidsen & Thomas Nistrup). In race 3 second place went to RUS 76 and 3rd NED 412 (Pieter Heerema). In the final race of the day it was again RUS 27 who chose the correct side of the first upwind to take a commanding lead with SUI 311 Magnus Holmberg, crewed by Martin Westerdahl & Bernardo Freitas 2nd and RUS 76 showing great consistency 3rd, particularly after receiving the black flag in race 2.
It is great to see Olympian and former Match Race Champion, plus America’s Cup helm Magnus Holmberg join the Dragon Class… No doubt with him on the helm in the up coming Gold Cup SUI 311 “Sophie Racing” will be one to keep an eye on.

RUS 27 wins race 4 in Dragor.

On Saturday evening the fleet were invited to Soren Hvalso’s house close to the Yacht Club and a great time was had by all. On behalf of the sailors, race committee and all the volunteers, a huge thank you to Soren.

On the final day 2 more races were sailed in the most perfect conditions. 16kts, sun, waves and two clear “well structured” starts which allowed the fleet to finish the event in the best possible way. A late charge by the current World Champions TUR 1212 “Provezza Dragon” led by Andy Beadsworth with tactician Simon Fry & fellow crew Arda Baykal who finished 1st in race 5 and 2nd in race 6, was simply not quite enough in the end, as RUS 76 held onto their overall lead recording 5th and a wonderful 1st place in the final race to close out the championship.

TUR 1212 Andy Beadsworth & Simon Fry (Arda Baykal missing) with Mik Jensen.  Had to settle for 2nd overall.

So with RUS 76 (Dmitry Samokhin, Andrey Kirilyuk & Kasper Harsberg winning race 6 they finished on just 12pts (after discarding the BFD). TUR 1212 were runners up on 16pts and RUS 27 took the last podium place of 3rd with 18pts.

3rd overall RUS 27 Vadim Statsenko & Alexander Shalagin with Mik Jensen.  (Anatoly Loginov missing).

4th overall went to an ever improving team SUI 318 “1 Quick 1” who have benefited from many hours on the water mainly down in Italy throughout the pandemic. Wolf Waschkuhn has really stepped up a level sailing with his team of Charles Nankin & Joao Vidinha. Well sailed guys and keep up the good work.

4th overall SUI 318 “1 Quick 1” Wolf, Charles & Joao.

5th overall went to another successful team NED 412 “Troika” who despite choosing not to compete in the opening race, put together a consistent series that included a 2nd and two 3rd places.

5th overall, NED 412 Pieter Heerema, with George Leonchuk & Lars Hendriksen.

Top Corinthian team and finishing a very credible 7th overall was DEN 408 “Flawless”. This local team representing Dragor Sejlklub of Stig Lassen, Soren Hvalso & Carter Hey had such a great day on the Saturday and really deserved their success.

So there we have it the first IDA Grade 1 event of 2021, made possible by host representative Mik Jensen, Race Officer Kim Pedersen who assisted Nino Shmueli and all the Committee Boat helpers, Mark Layers and Dragor Sejlklub members ashore. This was a great regatta and all eyes now turn towards Marstrand and the Gold Cup which begins on Sunday 15th…. I would anticipate a team from this event will lift the prestigious Gold Cup.

Higher, Faster, Longer….. Stavros.