Hendriksen clinches European title

Fiona Brown reports from a close final day of racing at the Aberdeen Bragon European championship

Saturday June 10th 2006, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: United Kingdom
At the end of an incredibly closely fought regatta Denmark's Lars Hendriksen and his crew Will Willett and Martin Leifeld, sailing Edward Sawyer's Clairvoyant, are the 2006 Aberdeen Dragon European Champions. By winning today's final race in stunning style Denmark's Frank Berg, sailing with Soren Kaestel and Neils Buddelund took second, while Bo Selko, crewed by Morten Harmsen and Klaus Landsmann of Denmark, was third and Russia's Maksim Semerkanov, crewed by owner Inna Shternberg and Mikhail Kondratiev, was fourth.

This incredible championship came to a close with a final marathon three hour race in the central Solent under more sunny skies and with a superb 15-18 knots of wind. His Majesty King Constantine of the Hellenes, President of the International Dragon Association, and Martin Gilbert, Chairman of regatta sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management, were among a rapt group of spectators who were kept in suspense until the closing moments of the race.

Initially in today's race it looked as if the title could have slipped from overnight leader Lars Hendriksen's grip as he rounded the first mark three quarters of the way down the fleet. Fortunately for him race leader Frank Berg, lying fourth overall going into the day, could not win the regatta and his only two competitors, Bo Selko and Maksim Semerkano were just a few places ahead so all was not yet lost.

From the off Denmark's Frank Berg had decided to close the regatta in style and led the entire way round the course to win by a huge margin. Second place was a battle between Sweden's Tom Lofstedt and the Ukraine's Sergey Pigiugin in which Lofsted was eventually victorious. Cowes girl Julia Bailey took fourth place just ahead of Ireland's Simon Brien in fifth with Britain's Len Jones sixth, Portugal's Antonio Correia seventh and Oleg Kohpersky of Russia eighth.

Back down the fleet the Championship was still to be decided. Hendriksen knew that provided Selko and Semerkanov finished in the teens or worse he was safe despite his own poor position. It was nail biting stuff as the three boats slogged round the course. In an attempt to catch his rivals Hendriksen took a right hand flyer up the second beat but only gained two places. Semerkanov and Selko meanwhile where enjoying a classic dog fight as the pair vied to not only move up the fleet and beat Hendriksen but to beat each other as well. Despite Herculean efforts they could do no better than 18th and 19th respectively and, knowing that he need do no more Hendriksen elected to turn away without crossing the line.

At this afternoon's prize giving His Majesty King Constantine presented the prizes to the winners and congratulated the Royal Yacht Squadron, the International and British Dragon Associations, the Cowes Dragon Fleet and event sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management for an extremely successful championship.

For Lars Hendriksen, Will Willets and Martin Leifeldt this was a particularly poignant win as their owner and regular helm, Edward Sawyer, is currently in hospital following an accident at last week's Dragon Edinburgh Cup. In his acceptance speech crew member Will Willett said "We'd like to thank the Royal Yacht Squadron for five days of fantastic racing and we'd particularly like to thank Ted Sawyer, whose generosity and enthusiasm for Dragon sailing is such that when he knew he would be unable to compete this week he insisted Lars and I race the boat. We are very proud to win this trophy on Ted's behalf."

Martin Gilbert, CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management, said..."Aberdeen Asset Management has been proud to sponsor the 2006 Aberdeen Dragon European Championship and we congratulate all 41 crews on their fine efforts this week. It has been a regatta of the very highest standard. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Royal Yacht Squadron for hosting a splendid week's racing."

The secret committee which has decided the Dubarry Team of the Day Award each evening felt that on this final day it was only fitting that the award should go to the final boat to cross the line in the final race of the series. The entire Russian Team have been wonderful competitors at this regatta and so Sergey Maslov and his crew Alexander Ekhzov and Andrey Dolgov aboard RUS3 received an exceptionally warm welcome from their fellow sailors as they came up to collect their Dubarry boots.

Results:

Pos Sail No  Boat  R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Tot Net
1 DEN138 Clairvoyant 13 13 3 0 16 25 48 118 45
2 DEN66 My Way 19 17 0 26 43 14 0 119 50
3 DEN372 BB King 34 0 5.7 24 0 22 25 110.7 51.7
4 RUS-77 Diamond 21 5.7 14 14 19 0 24 97.7 52.7
5 SWE 336 Pilen 30 39 15 21 10 5.7 3 123.7 54.7
6 IRL193 Kin 27 3 31 13 17 15 10 116 58
7 DEN368 Flawless 48 14 8 8 26 8 20 132 58
8 RUS44 Red October 3 19 29 10 30 17 17 125 66
9 GER996 Sinewave 0 10 16 22 22 29 27 126 70
10 GBR 682 Ecstatic 14 18 39 23 14 3 29 140 72
11 GBR705 Danish Blue 31 16 13 31 5.7 26 18 140.7 78.7
12 POR-48 El Gringo 18 26 11.7 39 46 10 13 163.7 78.7
13 RUS-1 Godfather 17 11.7 28 37 18 19 14 144.7 79.7
14 GER951 Saphir 16 15 37 5.7 37 21 26 157.7 83.7
15 FRA300 Ar Youleg 11.7 25 19 16 41 23 15 150.7 84.7
16 RUS2 Alisa 8 8 44 48 11.7 31 16 166.7 91.7
17 GBR660 Aimee 37 44 34 20 3 28 8 174 93
18 GBR716 Jerboa 36 37 17 17 44 13 19 183 102
19 UKR777 Transbunker 42 43 25 3 31 38 5.7 187.7 102.7
20 IRL176 Phantom 35 23 10 33 47 16 21 185 103
21 GBR702 Rascal Rat 5.7 35 24 34 27 30 22 177.7 108.7
22 GBR708 Rumours 28 27 21 35 24 36 11.7 182.7 111.7
23 GBR653 Njord 10 34 27 36 8 39 42 196 115
24 DEN380 Lil 20 22 26 30 42 18 48 206 116
25 RUS25 Versiya 3.0 29 30 22 19 25 35 23 183 118
26 GBR688 Quicksilver III 39 29 30 15 36 11.7 41 201.7 121.7
27 GBR693 Virago 41 32 32 11.7 13 47 38 214.7 126.7
28 GBR709 Kuling 15 45 20 48 21 41 32 222 129
29 GBR610 / 788 Rackham 26 36 38 29 15 24 39 207 130
30 GBR684 Hand of Fortune 23 41 18 27 34 42 28 213 130
31 RUS34 Russo Orient Express 24 24 23 25 45 45 34 220 130
32 RUS3 Bars 33 21 43 28 38 20 43 226 140
33 MON-001 Munegu 44 20 36 18 40 32 36 226 142
34 GBR 700 Princess Jalina 38 31 41 40 20 40 30 240 159
35 GBR669 Supremacy 22 33 33 32 39 44 48 251 159
36 GBR710 / GBR679 Avalanche 25 38 35 42 35 33 31 239 159
37 GBR656 / GBR648 Apalala 32 28 46 44 28 43 37 258 168
38 FIN63 Nenya 43 42 40 41 29 27 35 257 172
39 GBR706 Chips 46 40 42 43 23 37 33 264 175
40 GBR681 / GBR690 Stampede 40 47 45 38 32 34 40 276 184
41 GBR593 Flamboyant 45 46 48 45 33 46 48 311 215

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