Pieter Heerema wins Dragon Gold Cup

Two final races in glorious sun and moderate breeze completed the six-race Dragon Gold Cup 2021 in Marstrand, with Peiter Heerema (NED) coming out on top from Pedro Andrade (POR) and Australia’s David Gilmour, with the regatta ending in high drama.

Five of the top ten boats were disqualified under Black Flag in the penultimate race, throwing the overall results wide open. Those on the wrong side of the line included Dirk Pramann (GER), Dmitry Samokhin (RUS), Andy Beadsworth (UK), Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and Jens Christensen (DEN), who had gone into the day second, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth respectively, but finished well outside those results.

For overnight leader, Pieter Heerema, the sight of so many close challengers pulling out must have been a welcome relief. But with no discard in the Gold Cup, there was still a lot of racing between him and victory, so it was immediately back to the business in hand.

Once again, this hugely experienced team, that includes past Gold Cup and double European Championship winning helm, Lars Hendriksen and Ukrainian 49er Olympian and past Gold Cup winning crew, George Leonchuk, sailed fast and smart. They finished the final race second behind Anatoly Loginov (RUS).

Loginov had been black flagged in the first race of the series, so despite this being his third race win, he had no realistic chance of making the podium and was sailing purely for the joy of it. Crossing the line in third was Belgium’s Benjamin Morgen, with Denmark’s Frank Berg fourth. Young Australian 49er sailor, David Gilmour, helming for the Japanese YRed team in his father Peter’s absence, was fifth.

Going into the final race, Heerema and his team had a 16-point break on nearest rival, Pedro Andrade, so their focus was on starting cleanly and staying out of trouble.

Andrade got a great start at the committee boat end, tacked right straight away and went on to lead the race comfortably all the way to the finish. Behind him, a chasing pack soon broke off the front of the fleet and a tight battle ensued between Andy Beadsworth, Magnus Holmberg, Dmitry Samokhin, David Gilmour and Pieter Heerema.

Despite winning the race in spectacular style, Andrade knew his reign as Dragon Gold Cup Champion had come to an end, as Heerema crossed the line in fourth behind Beadsworth and Samokhin. Holmberg took fifth and Sweden’s Martin Pålsson sixth.

In the overall standings, Heerema claimed victory by 13 points. Andrade took second. The Japanese team of David Gilmour, his brother Sam and Yashiro Yaju, representing event sponsor Yanmar, finished third.

This will be a particularly sweet victory for Pieter Heerema. He has spent some 30 years trying to win the Gold Cup and had developed something of a bridesmaid’s reputation, having made the lower slopes of the podium in 2013, 2018 and 2019, but never quite made it to the top step. But Heerema, also a Vendee Globe veteran, is not a man to give in easily and that determination has finally paid off.

After the prize giving, the elated Heerema summed up his feelings saying, “I’ve tried to win this thing a lot of times and I’ve been several times second, third and fourth, but finally it works!”

For Martin Pålsson, sixth place in the final race moved him up to fourth overall and confirmed him and his crew of Peter Lindh, Thomas Wallenfeldt and Gustav Gärdebäck as the 2021 Dragon Gold Cup Corinthian Champions. Second in the Corinthian Division was Denmark’s Frank Berg with Germany’s Benjamin Morgen third.

The Dragon Gold Cup also features a special competition for national teams for the Nations Cup. Three- boat teams for each nation are selected based on their finishing position in the opening race of the series. The winners of the 2021 Nations Cup are the Russian team of Dmitry Samokhin, Viktor Fogelson and Anatoly Loginov.

The deed of gift states that the trophy shall be held by the helmsman of the team member with the highest overall placing, and so the Nations Cup will be returning to Russia with Dmitry Samokhin.

At the prize giving, held outside the island’s famous Societetshuset community hall, competitors were able to not only salute the victors, but also say thank you to the people of Marstrand, and to all involved in the Dragon Gold Cup.

As the sun finally set on the Dragon Gold Cup 2021 by Yanmar, Martin Pålsson summarised the event. “First Marstrand showed its bad side, I’ve never seen so many days ashore here in my whole life, but finally we got three days with super sailing. We got all the races in, and they were full- length races.

“The Race Officers and everybody have done a tremendous job. The social life has been well organised and fun despite the COVID-19 restrictions and everything has been great. We’ve seen some impressive sailing from some young new crews and we’ve seen the Corinthian teams getting great results overall too.”

The 2022 Dragon Gold Cup will take place in Ostend, Belgium from 21 to 26 August, while the next major event in the International Dragon calendar will be the Italian Grand Prix and the Dragon European Grand Prix Finals in Sanremo, Italy from 26 to 31 October 2021.

Overall Top Ten:
1st – NED412 – Troika – Pieter Heerema – 1, 2, 5, 3, 2, 4 = 17
2nd – POR89 – Pedro Andrade – Petti Portugal – 2, 6, 8, 7, 6, 1 = 30
3rd – JPN56 – David Gilmour – YRed – 13, 25, 2, 12, 5, 8 = 65
4th – SWE401 – Martin Pålsson – Nono – 14, 11, 9, 10, 25, 6 = 75
5th – SWE345 – Jan Secher – Miss Behaviour – 8, 27, 20, 5, 7, 9 = 76
6th – SUI311 – Magnus Holmberg – Sophie Racing – 20, 1, 30, 13, 9, 5 = 78
7th – DEN266 – Frank Berg – My Way – 28, 3, 14, 20, 4, 12 = 81
8th – RUS27 – Anatoly Loginov – Annapurna – BFD, 10, 1, 1, 1, 7 = 91
9th – GER1180 – Benjamin Morgen – Rosie – 12, 5, 33, 25, 3, 14 = 92
10th – GER1207 – Nicola Friesen – Khaleesi – 9, 8, 27, 16, 27, 10 = 97

Corinthian Top Five:
1st – SWE401 – Martin Pålsson – Nono – 2, 3, 2, 2, 16, 1 = 26
2nd – DEN266 – Frank Berg – My Way – 12, 1, 5, 6, 2, 3 = 29
3rd – GER1180 – Benjamin Morgen – Rosie – 1, 2, 17 10, 1, 5 = 36
4th – BEL80 – Ben Van Cauwenbergh – FL4T OUT – 4, 8, 11, 1, 11, 9 = 44
5th – RUS35 – Viktor Fogelson – Sunflower – 7, 5, 9, 16, 4, 6 = 47

Full results: https://goldcup21.com/results/

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