Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen sailing his brand new “Danish Blue” Petticrow, returned to La Baule from his paradise home in Antigua, to win the 2011 Dragon Derby by the most narrowest of margins.   Superbly crewed by Irish Grandfathers Peter Bowering and Paul Maguire, the Man went into the last race sailed yesterday with a 12 pt cushion. However, FRA 396 Remy Arnaud fresh from his French Title after finishing runner up in Deauville to winning Russian Anatoly Loginov, was not going to lay down without a fight.  Indeed Remy may have even considered sailing Poul-Richard down the fleet on this final race, as the overall points would then be in his favour.  Coming from the Finn Class Remy has already shown great sportsmanship and fine sailing during his two or three years in the Dragon Class. When I saw him win on Lake Casaux last year I could see a great team in the making. So I’m guessing that Remy set out to just win the race and hope that Poul-Richard might just mess up a little !!!!!!!

Well I have just had a call from one of PR’s crew, Peter Bowering, and that is exactly what “nearly” happened… With the wind dying at the start of the race, Remy and his team of Herald (his son), and Joubert Guillaume made a great committee boat start and sailed off into the distance to win the race. Meanwhile it took PR and his team over a minute to clear the line and get going, so they had to play catch up for the remainder of the race..  They knew that 13th place would be enough to win on count-back, in the end they scrambled up to 12th place, thus securing victory by just the one point…  Obviously the “Man” had it all under control, but I bet there was a little nail biting going on!

Photo taken at prize giving shows Paul Maguire, Poul-Richard and Peter Bowering. 

In third place overall was GBR 761 Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, crewed by Mark Hart and Lars Wegener. Her 2nd place in the last race secured the last podium place and is another International success for Gavia as she continues to find  top speed in her new boat.. Gavia will now make the long trek up to Boltenhagen for the European Championship’s, before a mad dash back to North Wales for the Edinburgh Cup in Abersoch…………       With her dedicated and very professional approach to each regatta, I am sure she will be up on the podium again before very long……

So in closing this was another extremely well run regatta by the Yacht Club helpers and volunteers of La Baule. Seeing all 44 boats safely craned out in the most smallest of places always makes the general public smile, yes this 11th Dragon Derby was a great success and I certainly plan to be back there next year to sample the fantastic hospitality of this unique Sailing Club…      Just in closing I would like to wish Ron “Rocket” James GBR 633 the most speediest of recoveries after breaking his thumb during the boat launching and tying up to the dock. I hear his very able crew Mark Pettitt made an excellent job of helming in Ron’s absence, which included two bullets !!

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