Fantastic conditions in Cascais, Portugal, 28th-30th May.

15 Dragons took part in the 26th edition of the popular HM King Juan Carlos Trophy in the waters off Cascais, sunny Portugal from 28th-30th May. Sailors from 10 different Nations enjoyed top quality competition over 7 races during the 3 days using both the inside and outside sailing areas. Rumours say Cascais has a reputation for predominately strong winds however, this is not always the case. I agree that the geological position of this beautiful Atlantic facing location which combines the Northerly trade wind Nortada (blowing down the west coast) with deep rolling waves that cross the Portuguese Continental Shelf over Cascais Canyon, can attribute to “hard core” upwind conditions with exhilarating downwind surfing, before the waves eventually reach the neighbouring shores of Estoril…. But, sailors should also know in contrast, when the wind too strong or a little more NNE, the inner course offers great tactical racing, providing wind shifts and tidal side currents on flatter water, that “if” skilfully appreciated and mastered can bring any number of teams success. So in my opinion it’s an amazing place to sail 🙂

Great surfing opportunities in Cascais.

The event began with 3 back to back races on the outside course with wind from around 330 degrees and 15kts. Wolf Waschkuhn helming SUI 318 “1 Quick 1” continued his early year form by recording 4, 1, 1, to top the leader board on the opening day. He told me “The wind was gusting up to 20kts at the top of the course, although lighter towards the bottom gate, but the usual bias towards the right was not so pronounced as the left side of the first upwind had more wind, we had an awkward start but recovered to 4th, TUR 1212 (Andy Beadsworth) won the race followed by GBR 819 (Klaus Diederichs) and RUS 34 (Vasily Senatorov) 3rd. However, we learnt from our mistakes and in races 2 & 3 chose the left and two clear wins gave us the overall lead.” A good start on the opening day for Wolf and his crew Joao Vidinha & Charles Nankin who have really raised their game this year with plenty of time on the water, mainly in Italy.

POR 87 Pedro Mendes Leal Wins Race 4, just ahead of SUI 318 & TUR 1212.

Day 2 was too windy for the outside course so Flag Bravo was displayed and three races were sailed on the inside course, Simon Fry (tactician on TUR 1212) explained…”We were pleased to return to Cascais and race in a strong fleet at one of our favourite venues. Over the 3 days we had a mixed bag of conditions which made it a great event and although we were level on points with Wolf after 3 races (recording 1,2,3), we knew day 2 was crucial. The outside race area is our preferred course , but we enjoyed the tactical challenges of the inner bay course. It was important to understand the left to right current (looking up the course) and use this to our advantage.”

This strategy certainly worked out well for the back to back Double World Champions and after recording 3,2,1 were once again at the top of the leader board after 6 races completed. Although SUI 318 had another successful day with 2,1,6, securing at worst 2nd place overall and a shot at the title, the final race on Sunday against one of the worlds most formidable “Match Race” helms (Andy Beadsworth) was not something any sailor would relish. Particularly as Andy, Simon and Arda only had to keep Wolf away from a top three position in the final race to secure the championship.

TUR 1212 Andy Beadsworth, Simon Fry & Arda Baykal won Race 1 & 6, to lead after 2 days.

On Sunday morning when Simon Fry politely asked Wolf if he had his passport with him prior to the start of race 7, perhaps Wolf had a small incline of what was to come…..and sure enough a private match race began whilst the rest of the fleet battled for the bonus of the “Stavros Trophy” presented to the winner of the final race. So whilst TUR 1212 prevented SUI 318 from getting near the starting line sailing them away out to sea towards Madeira or maybe even Morocco the game was up and Provezza Dragon secured yet another famous victory…  One consolation Wolf and his top team can take away from this regatta is they won 3 of the 7 races and when the current World Champions decide to match race you in the final race, it’s out of respect.  Take care the “Wolf” is coming……

SUI 318 “1 Quick 1” Wolf Waschkuhn, Joao Vidinha & Charles Nankin 2nd overall.

With the top two places already sorted, it was left to three teams, GBR 819 (Klaus Diederichs), MON 2 Jens Rathsack and POR 87 Pedro Mendes Leal for the final podium place. In the end it was it was GBR 819 Klaus Diederichs who finished on 23pts, just holding off MON 2 on 24pts and POR 87 with 25pts, how close is that… So Klaus and team “Fever” took 3rd overall.

GBR 819 Jamie Lea, Klaus Diederichs & Diego Negri 3rd overall.

Winner of race 7 and lifting the Stavros Trophy was MON 2 Jens Rathsack (Our IDA Chairman) crewed by Michi Lip and Diogo Pereira. Jens told me “It was great to be back in Cascais with superb conditions as always. We sailed on both the outer and inner courses and the International participants made the racing very competitive. I’m honoured to have won the Stavros Trophy”.

MON 2 Jens, Michi & Diogo winners of Race 7 and 4th overall.

So the winners yet again are Provezza Dragon TUR 1212 who add to their recent success in Denmark and lift the prestigious H.M. King Juan Carlos Trophy…. Congratulations to Andy, Simon and Arda.

H.M. King Juan Carlos Trophy winners Andy, Arda & Simon.

Many thanks to the organisers and helpers at the Club Naval de Cascais and lets all hope the worst of the pandemic is behind us and many more good Dragon times lay ahead…..

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