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The Flags Fly in Cannes……
Wednesday in Cannes, the wind was simply too strong for both the Classic Yachts and the 40 International Dragon’s who waited patiently for the wind to drop, but to no avail….
So the International Race Officer Philippe Faure, had no choice but to signal an abandonment for the day… Here in the photo you see the D for “Dragon” & T for “Traditional Boats” Flags above the Postponement Flag, then the A Flag to signal Abandonment.
However, Thursday (yesterday) we experienced another stunning day with 2 more races completed in 12 to 16 kts of wind from a mean direction of 200 degrees. In the first race of the day RUS 27 “Annapurna” showed better form and dominated the fleet, as she so often does. Helmed by Anatoly Loginov, crewed by Vadim Statsenko and Alexander Shaligin, this very successful team played the left side of the first beat to always just stay ahead of the chasing pack. With L2 as the course, Anatoly managed to control the fleet over the two upwind & two downwind legs to take the victory. 2nd was RUS 34 “Even Better” helmed by Vasily Senatorov and 3rd GER 1123 “PowWow” Michael Zankel.
Race 2 of the day (race 5 of the series) started shortly after 3pm in a building wind and a course W2. Which meant three upwind and two downwind legs, this longer course really made for a great battle which was very appropriate as HRH Prince Hendrik of Denmark was in Cannes to watch the Dragons. In addition the Island of Mauritius sponsored a free Holiday for the winning team! So everything to play for as the fleet got away cleanly at the first attempt.
We (Martin Payne, Donal Small & Gillian Hamilton) started in GBR 789 “Bear” towards the PIN end of the line as there was probably around a 10 degree bias. GBR 375 “Blue Haze” helmed by Ivan Bradbury was close by, as was RUS 35 “Sunflower” helmed by Victor Fogelson. After about 7 mins on starboard tack, the majority of the fleet had tacked in towards the shore, so all three mentioned boats also tacked and headed into the glare of the bright sunshine which made seeing the first mark a little difficult. I can tell you now that the stress levels on the “Bear” rose significantly as the leading boats approached the end of the beat ! However, after eventually spotting the mark we managed to guide GBR 789 around in first place closely followed by RUS 35, GBR 375 & FRA 402.
It was a tremendous battle over the next downwind leg with surfing opportunities and a building breeze which made for some spectacular sailing. In the end the “Bear” just managed to stay ahead of “Blue Haze” with the “Outlaw” finishing well to take 3rd place. So it will the happy team from “Bear” Myself, Donal Small & Gillian Hamilton who will be packing our bags sometime this winter for a nice holiday in Mauritius, which was awarded to us at the Gala Party last night by HRH Prince Hendrik.
Overall standings are now very interesting although after another solid day yesterday, GER 1157 “M3” produced a nearly unbeatable score by recording a 4th & 6th, so it will take a miracle for anyone to pass Michael Schmidt and his team of Stefan Waack and Mario Wagner. However, 2nd to 5th place is very interesting with 4 boats within 2pts of each other……. GBR 761 “Jerboa”, GBR 375 “Blue Haze”, GBR 789 “Bear” & GER 1123 “Pow Wow”.
Let’s see what the day brings……..
Higher, Faster, Longer…………….. Stavros. (GBR 789).