Another very good and fair race took place yesterday here in the bay of Weymouth which completed 5 out of the 6 races of the 2013 Edinburgh Cup. The wind had shifted around from the north and settled to the west offering the fleet a chance to chose which side of the 1,5 mile beat to take as the water remained flat and ideal for Dragon Sailing. In any Dragon regatta it is inevitable that the first start see’s a general recall, due to over enthusiasm of the competitors or a heavily biased line. On this occasion the line was “fair” so the dreaded “Black Flag” came out of it’s box at the 4 minute gun as the start time ticked away.

At this point I will add that we (as Dragon Sailors) hope the race committee will only identify boats that are truly over the line, thus trying to gain an unfair advantage. Should all the boats that are over not be seen, it should of course be a general recall and the boats that were seen (by either the PIN end or the Committee Boat) are put up on the blackboard and rightly DSQ. There is a more “generous” option however, being that an AP can be hoisted any time prior to the starting signal and a complete new starting sequence begun. This option is not only a huge relief to boats that were either “forced” over or simply misjudged their “transit”, but it’s very fair if all the numbers cannot be taken.

Yesterday it is clear from photo’s of the “tracking devices” each boat is carrying (although the GPS signal is not 100% accurate it gives an idea a to a boats position), that a number of competitors were over the line, but did NOT get DSQ whilst others that were DSQ were very marginal…  Decisions made from the Committee can completely wreck a sailors week and I know that many of the top boats “recorded” as over yesterday feel extremely annoyed after seeing the evidence of the trackers after racing…  I did hear at a former Edinburgh Cup, over the radio, a conversation between a Committee Boat and the PIN end went “well how many did you catch that time”…..  True story, the Committee are there for us and not to DSQ as many of the fleet as possible. At one GRADE 1 event this year we saw 20% of the fleet sent home from two Black Flag starts……  That can’t be right, can it ??

Anyway Stavros you digress, back to the action….  The lead boat at the top mark was “The Man” PR Hoj-Jensen, who came from the left hand side of the course, as did GBR 780 Grant Gordon who in his first season of Dragon racing went on to win the race, a fantastic achievement by Grant and his top North Sails Professional crew of Ruaridh Scott and Joost Houwelling, well done guys. The Man did hang on well to take 2nd place which now gives him the overall lead. I am pleased to say that the 3rd boat to the windward mark was GBR 610 helmed by Mark Dicker, who came from the right hand side of the course! So it proved that the course was equally favourable and offered all competitors a fair and open race track, which is what we all hope for. There was a 10 degree shift to the right on the second beat, which obviously improved the positions of boats who went right. But generally the course was perfect and a great days sailing was had by all.

With the top 4 boats Poul-Richard, Klaus, Gavia and Lawrie all within 4pts of each other, today is going to be a superb final race. The forecast is for a good wind and a start time of 11.00am should be achieved. May the best team win.

Higher, Faster, Longer……………    Stavros.  (USA 310).