TUR 1212 “Provezza” Win Italian G.P.                SWE “Nono” 401 Win G.P. Finals 

A terrific conclusion to the Italian Grand Prix followed by a grandstand finish in the “Finals” saw the favourites TUR 1212 “Provezza” maintain their midweek lead to win with a race to spare and Corinthian SWE 401 “Nono” upset the odds taking the final victory to become 2021 European Grand Prix Champions.

Lets begin with the Italian Grand Prix where Andy Beadsworth, Adar Baykal & Pedro Andrade continued their dominance of the fleet on the 4th and final day of the series recording a 2nd in race 5 followed by a 3rd in race 6. Although race 7 was started late in the day (with Provezza already sailing back into the Marina having already won the event), it was abandoned shortly after the start due to a substantial wind shift. So Andy and his team finished on just 8pts (discarding a 3rd place) a clear step ahead of the next team, so many congratulations once again to TUR 1212 Provezza….. Andy also wins the “Standfast” Trophy presented to the best team overall from all IDA Grade 1’s.. In 2021 only 2 were completed, Dragor (Danish) & San Remo (Italian) and although TUR 1212 were tied on equal points with RUS 76 Dmitry Samokhin (both with a 1st & 2nd place) TUR 1212 takes the Standfast Trophy (donated by Klaus Diederichs & Grant Gordon) as they were best placed in the final event.

Winners of Italian G.P. Andy Beadsworth, Pedro Andrade & Arda Baykal (presented by former IDA Chairman Vasily Senatorov).

2nd overall in the Italian Grand Prix was RUS 76 “RocknRolla” helmed by Dmitry Samokhin, crewed by Andrey Kirilyuk & Kasper Harsberg. Although Dmitry was just behind his Russian rival Anatoly Loginov after 4 races, RocknRolla pulled out all the stops to win race 5 and with a 5th in race 6 finished on just 13pts, 3pts ahead of Anatoly.

2nd overall in Italian G.P. Dmitry Samokhin, Andrey Kirilyuk & Kasper Harsberg.

So RUS 27 “Anapurna” slipped back to 3rd but still maintained their usual high standard in this exceptionally competitive fleet. Anatoly, Vadim & Alexander continue to sail fast and this well drilled team will always be towards the front of the fleet in all conditions.

3rd overall in Italian G.P. Anatoly Loginov, Vadim Statsenko & Alexander Shalagin.

The Corinthian battle continued right down to the final race between 2 Swedish Teams, SWE 404 Karl Gustaf-Lohr & SWE 401 Martin Palsson. Not only were these two teams fighting hard for the top Corinthian spot in the Italian Grand Prix, but also for the magnificent “Corinthian” Cup (donated by Lowell & Phyllis Chang) for the overall Corinthian European Grand Prix Champion. In the end it was SWE 404 “High Times” who finished with a 2pt advantage over SWE 401 to be the highest placed Corinthian & 8th overall.

Top Corinthians at Italian G.P. SWE 404 Mads Hansen, Karl-Gustaf Lohr & Jasper Bendix.

However, Karl’s advantage in San Remo did not out-way the finishing positions in Dragor, so it was SWE 401 “Nono” helmed by Martin Palsson that won the European Corinthian Cup.

SWE 401 Peter Lidh, Martin Palsson & Thomas Wallenfeldt with the “European Corinthian Cup”!

Finals Day….

This year because we only completed 2 out of the 4 scheduled Grand Prix’s it was decided to reduce the Finals to just one day and not two.. Although it will go back to two days in 2022 for the Spanish Grand Prix and Finals in Puerto Portals.

But what a Finals Day we had!

The opening race on Sunday with wind from the North West gusting between 10 to 18kts, was the “Last Chance” race, where teams who had not made automatic qualification into the Finals had a second chance. As the majority of the top 10 teams from Dragor were also in the top 10 teams in San Remo, there was an opportunity for 10 more boats to qualify… This “Last Chance” race was won by RUS 35 “Sunflower” ..

Winners of the “Last Chance” race.. RUS 35 Victor Fogelson, Oleg Khoperskiy & Viacheslav.

So with another 10 boats qualifying we were ready to begin the Quarter-Finals. 20 boats then raced and 5 more were eliminated. The semi-finals was now just 15 boats on the starting line and this time it was GBR 819 that took line honours and a further 9 boats qualifying for the “Final” race to decide the European Grand Prix Champion.

Semi-Finals race won by GBR 819 “Fever” Klaus Diederichs, Diego Negri & Jamie Lea.

Of course, the main point of the elimination races is to make it through to the last 10 boats, so finishing positions were not so important, teams just had to keep sailing sensibly without taking risks! So then it came down to the Final Race and what a race that was…..

All 10 teams had to “go for it” as the winner would take all..  The amazing “Flow” a magnificent bronze masterpiece sculpted by Sami Salomaa..to become the 2021 European Grand Prix Champion..

It was a tough race with a slight left shift just on the starting signal which meant TUR 1212 struggled to make the pin, meanwhile the rest of the fleet made a clear start and the game was on.

SWE 401, GER 1207 & SUI 318 made the best of the left side of the first upwind, whilst GBR 819 & NED 412 lost ground on the right side of the course as the remaining boats RUS 35, RUS 27, GER 1227, ITA 77 and TUR 1212 played the middle. After the first lap SWE 401 had a slender lead, with GER 1207 and SUI 318 right on their heels..  Not much changed on the next upwind, but it was the final down wind leg to the finish when it all kicked off… After rounding in the lead SWE 401 consolidated their strong position and gybed to free themselves of any entrapment from the closing pack. GER 1207 was not so fortunate and a strong challenge from SUI 318 & TUR 1212 saw all three boats pushing hard. Meanwhile NED 412 took full advantage of the situation, gybed early at the top mark and came in strong at the finish on starboard.

However, there was no mistaking the winners…  SWE 401 “Nono” Corinthians Martin Palsson, Peter Lidh & Thomas Wallenfeldt nailed it perfectly to win in style… SUI 318 Wolf Waschkuhn finished 2nd and NED 412 Peter Heerema 3rd…  What a race.

The moment SWE 401 crossed the finish line..  European Grand Prix Champions 2021.

Martin Palsson and his team have shown all Corinthian Sailors that anything is possible. The balance of Professionals and Corinthians have made the Dragon Class the best “One Design Keelboat” in the world.

A final thanks to Yacht Club San Remo for all their top quality organisation, once again San Remo delivered and will now run a winter series until the European Championships in April next year. The Dragon Class is spoilt for choice, with other winter series in Puerto Portals, Cannes and Vilamoura…

But the final word goes to SWE 401 Martin, Peter & Thomas….    Well Sailed !

The Winners Take it all…  Martin raises the “Flow” with Peter & Thomas.

Higher, Faster, Longer…..    Stavros.    (on Committee Boat with Nino & Fulvio).

p.s.  Elena Razina thanks once again for your amazing photo’s……    🙂