At the Dragon Gold Cup 2021 by Yanmar in Marstrand the long wait for racing finally came to an end as day four of the regatta brought perfect sailing conditions, allowing the Race Committee to run the opening two races of the six race series.
Determined to catch up the schedule if at all possible the competitors were under starters orders at 09:00 sharp. The wind was initially westerly, backing to southwesterly and building from 8 to 20 knots as the day wore on. Racing throughout the fleet was intense with constant place changes and some incredibly close finishes.
The winner of the opening Gold Cup race is presented with the prestigious Börge Börresen Trophy, named after one of the greatest sailors and boat builders in the class’s long history. Börresen won his first Gold Cup in 1967, his last in 1985 and participated in an amazing 51 Gold Cups in total.
This year’s recipient is Dutchman Pieter Heerema, sailing NED412 Troika with Lars Hendriksen and George Leonchuk. Second in the opening race was reigning Gold Cup Champion Pedro Andrade sailing POR89 Petti Portugal with João Vidinha and Luis Queiroz, while reigning Dragon World Champion Andy Beadsworth in TUR1212 Provezza Dragon crewed by James Hund and Arda Baykal took third.
On the question of how he won the race Pieter Heerema joked, “If I knew that then for sure we could replicate it tomorrow. But we had good starts and we had good speed and we tacked on the shifts and we managed to wiggle ourselves out of the pack, and then we were let loose.”
In the second race it was Swedish Olympian and America’s Cup veteran Magnus Holmberg at the helm of SUI311 with Martin Westerdahl and Bernardo Freitas who claimed victory. Heerema took second with Frank Berg sailing DEN266 My Way with Jen Bojsen Möller and Jacob Groth third.
Russia’s Viktor Fogelson had led the fleet around the first lap, but his electric bilge pump packed up on the second beat and with the wind and waves building he was forced to watch his fellow competitors surf away from him as the water sloshed around his ankles and he dropped slowly down into 22nd place.
After two races Pieter Heerema leads the regatta overall by a five-point margin from Pedro Andrade on eight points. The overall top three is rounded out by Dirk Pramann of GER16 Ingrid, crewed by Diego Negri and Markus Koy, who scored a fifth and fourth, putting him a single point behind Andrade.
Andy Beadsworth added a seventh to his opening race third and lies fourth overall on ten points. Fleet newcomer Torvar Mirsky, better known as one of Australia’s top match racers, who is sailing AUS551 with Oisín Mcclelland & Olof Lundgren, rounds out the top five on sixteen points.
After sailing a delighted Torvar Mirsky said, “My first Gold Cup. Our first day’s racing after waiting four days to sail – three race days and one practice day. That’s a record for me for sure. The 9am start time was pretty brutal.
“We had a westerly wind starting the day at about 8 knots and building to about 18 at the end and the Dragon actually got up and surfed some of the waves downwind! We managed a seventh and ninth place in the two races. There are no drops in the Gold Cup so I’m happy to get through the day in good shape, especially since I’m new to the class.”
The Dragon Gold Cup is run on very traditional lines with the championship rules calling for a single long windward leeward race with a leg length of 2.5 miles each day. When races are lost, two races a day can be sailed, but as far as possible race length is not compromised.
Both opening races were run on a full-size course with only the final beat in each being slightly reduced to ensure they could be completed in time, and to leave the sailors with at least a little energy for the rest of the week.
The rules also state that there shall be no discards in the scoring and one man who knows only too well that a conservative approach to starting is therefore essential is 2010 Gold Cup Champion and frequent podium finisher Anatoly Loginov. Sadly, Loginov found himself on the wrong side of the start line in race one under black flag and was disqualified, so despite finishing tenth in the second race his chances of adding his name to the Gold Cup for a second time are now dashed.
After racing the tired but very happy crews attended the regatta dinner which was held in the historic Societetshuset (community hall), a stunning wooden neo-renaissance style building from 1866, which overlooks the northern entrance to Marstrand harbour, through which the competitors pass each day.
Taittinger Champagne was served to the guests on arrival and the special daily prizes of magnums of Taittinger Champagne were presented. As this was the fourth day of the regatta there were four magnums. The recipients were:
DEN323 Camilla – Frederik Berg, Niels Ipsen and Konrad Floryan – for their epic delivery by sea from Hellerup to Marstrand in a gale.
DEN417 Déjà Vu – Bo Sejr Johansen, Morten Davidsen, Jesper Davidsen and Frederik Sejr Johnansen – who are always smiling!
Matilda Sparman of SWE325 Scylia – who is the youngest helm competing in the regatta.
DEN413 Lady In Red – Felix Jacobsen, Jacob Meesenburg and Mads Christian – a brand new Corinthian team for having the best looking crew kit.
With a minimum four races being required to validate the championship the Race Committee has announced that Thursday’s schedule will also be revised to allow two races with a first possible warning signal at 10:00.
The forecast for the final two days of the regatta is for much lighter winds of 7 to 14 knots from the southwest. The Dragon Gold Cup 2021 by Yanmar continues until Friday 20 August with a maximum of six races scheduled.
Further details about the event can be found at www.goldcup21.com.