Clairvoyant pulls ahead
In the overall standings Denmark and Russia are the dominant nations. Lars Hendriksen of Denmark, sailing with Will Willett and Martin Leifeldt aboard Edward Sawyer's Clairvoyant, leads the championship on 16 points while Germany's Thomas Muller, with crew Martin 'Stavros' Payne and Mario Wagner, lie second on 26 points. Just 6.7 points separate third to ninth places which are held by Valdemar Bandolowski (DEN 30 pts), Bo Selko (DEN 30.7 pts), Georgy Shayduko (RUS 32 pts), Maksim Semerkanov (RUS 33.7 pts), Frank Berg (DEN 36 pts), Alexander Ezhkov (RUS 36 pts) and Jakob Bergbauer (GER 36.7 pts) respectively. Ireland's Simon Brien rounds out the top ten overall on 43 points.
For the third day running the Solent provided sparkling conditions and the Royal Yacht Squadron Race Committee got racing underway as the wind began to build from the west. Championship Dragon racing is renowned not only for the exceptional quality of the sailing but for the gruelling length of its races and today was no exception with the leading boat taking over two hours to complete the five leg course.
With the championship at its mid-point this was to be one of the closest races so far and there was a heightened air of tension from the first signal. At the first weather mark Sergey Pigiugin's team from the Ukraine led the fleet closely followed by Jakob Bergbauer of Germany and Lars Hendriksen of Denmark Peter Nicholson, one of the elder statesmen of Dragon sailing and a Cowes fleet member, rounded fourth with Louis Urvois of France fifth and double Olympic gold medallist Valdemar Bandolowski of Denmark sixth. Georgy Shayduko was the first Russian to round in seventh, followed by Christian Boillot of France, Finland's Lauri Rechardt and then Brits Rob Campbell, Keith Skelsey and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox.
On the first run Pigiugin, Bergbauer, Hendriksen and Nicholson held their positions, but behind them Shayduko had the bit between his teeth and began clawing back places to round the leeward mark in fifth ahead of Bandolowski, Urvois and Boillot. Gavia Wilkinson-Cox was also on a mission and rounded ninth.
On the next beat Shayduko and Wilkinson-Cox kept the pressure on and at the second weather mark Pigiugin continued to lead from Bergbauer but Shayduko moved into third with Nicholson fourth as Hendriksen dropped back to fifth ahead of Urvois and Wilkinson-Cox.
On the final run Hendriksen dug deep and showed impressive boat speed to pull back up into second hard on Pigiugin's heels as they rounded the last mark. They took off up the right hand side but a few minutes in Hendriksen made his decisive move and tacked away. Faced with the dilemma of covering Hendriksen or the fleet Pigiugin stood on, a move which was to be his undoing. At the line it was Hendriksen by 17 seconds from Pigiugin with Bergbauer third, Bandlowski fourth, Shayduko fifth and Nicholson sixth. Ireland's Simon Brien sailed a lovely final beat moving up from tenth to seventh with Semerkanov in eighth, Campbell ninth, Urvois tenth and Wilkinson-Cox eleventh.
Speaking after racing today International Dragon Association Chairman David Dale was delighted with the regatta to date. "The quality of racing at this year's Aberdeen Dragon European Championship is outstanding and every race has been thrilling to watch. The hard work put in by the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Cowes Dragon Fleet has paid of handsomely and it is wonderful to see so many friends from around the globe enjoying racing here in Cowes. Of course none of this would have been possible without our title sponsor, Aberdeen Asset Management, for which we are extremely grateful."
Alongside the main competition our anonymous selection committee have found some worthy winners for the Aberdeen Dragon European Championship Dubarry Team of the Day Award. On Tuesday the award was presented to Mike Hayles and his team Alex MacDonald and Des Davies aboard GBR681 for their heroic determination to compete in this regatta despite the loss of their own boat which sank without trace during the Edinburgh Cup just a week ago. Today's award goes to Lauri Rechardt and his team of Risto Ryti and Nicola McLennan sailing FIN 63, who rounded the first weather mark in 9th place and then conducted a comprehensive fleet review to finish 36th - a performance truly worthy of the Irish Dubarry Team of the Day Award!
|20||GBR684||Hand of Fortune||23||41||18||28||110||69|
|25||RUS34||Russo Orient Express||24||24||23||26||97||71|
|34||GBR610 / 788||Rackham||26||36||38||30||130||92|
|35||GBR710 / GBR679||Avalanche||25||38||35||43||141||98|
|36||GBR656 / GBR648||Apalala||32||28||46||45||151||105|
|37||GBR 700||Princess Jalina||38||31||41||41||151||110|
|38||GBR681 / GBR690||Stampede||40||47||45||39||171||124|