20140608_210429 (320x180)Sea Bass cooked in Salt, a superb speciality in La Baule..

The 3rd day of the Derby Dragon proved to be a very frustrating one…. As the wind eventually died away to nothing during the 2nd race of the day, leaving just one completed race won by FRA 365 Christian Guyader…

With the sun out and a nice south-easterly wind, the 40 boats made their way towards the windward mark on the shore, overlooked by the many villas and hotels beautifully distributed along the 12km of golden beach. It ‘s always very “shifty” when the wind is in this direction and it was a coin toss if you chose to stay out for maximum tide, or head for the beach for the wind bend!

Local hero FRA 396 Remy Arnaud was the first boat into the beach and when he tacked onto port looked like he would make the top mark easily. However, NED 309 Guus de Groot, FRA 365 Christian Guyader and AUS 227 Marcus Blackmore, had pushed hard right and with tidal assistance actually came into the first mark ahead, whilst Remy, Poul-Richard and Martin Payne, lost the wind on the inside shift.

The downwind leg turned into a complete “lottery” as the wind again died on the inside and a new south-westerly breeze filled in from the outside leaving NED 309 and AUS 227 frustratingly just 100m from the down-wind gate. One of the first boats to be able to take advantage of this major shift was another local favourite and one of the biggest French “Legends”, Yves Pajot FRA 303, who quickly gybed and made good ground towards the gate with FRA 365.

Seeing the race becoming a complete mess, the experienced PRO shortened the next beat, introducing a change of course and a committee boat wind-ward line. This left FRA 365 Christian Guyader to take the winners gun, Yves Pagot 2nd and Guus de Groot in 3rd place. It was a mad scramble for the remaining boats to make the best of these difficult and unpredictable conditions, which left many sailors completely frustrated, including myself and reaching for the bottle of Port kept discretely on board for times such as this! However, when I looked back to see the original race leader FRA 396 Remy Arnaud cross the finish line in last position it reminded me how “difficult” the race had been……….

The 2nd race had to be cancelled as the wind died completely, so all boats picked up a tow in from the many “supporting” onlookers and all headed for the Derby Dragon Tent and a quick drink or two (maybe 10 for Tim Tavinor), who has been taking a distinct liking to the regional red wine 🙂

20140607_203227 (1) (320x180)                                  The entrance to the Derby Dragon Village, Y.C.L.B.  2014.

With just one race today it has come down to just 3 boats who can still win the event. GBR 585 Martin Payne, NED 309 Guus de Groot and FRA 334 Edward Simmons

Higher, Faster, Longer…………   Stavros.  (GBR 585).