DRAGON GOLD CUP SAINT-TROPEZ 2017
We are proud that the Dutch fleet provided nine entries among the 93 total entries in Saint-Tropez.
We saw top teams ( Pieter Heerema with his team Lars Hendriksen and Claus Olesen; Marc Blees with Tim Tavinor) new teams like Kaagteam NED 339 and the new Muiden team NED 429. The first Dutch V6 also joined, sailed by Max Vijzelaar with help from Jan Bakker and Dax . However….the admin of Watersportverbond was on holidays, so Max had to sail with sail number SWE 398. Part of the Dutch fleet was also GER 1167, owned and sailed by Hans”Teddy” Bähr and sailing with the RNLYC-flag. The same applies of GER 1140 where our Dutch Dragon friend Joost Houweling sailed with Nicola Friese and Vinchy Hoechst.
The new V6 of Max Vijzelaar to be rigged in Saint-Tropez
Regenboog sailor Kees Barnhard replaced an absent crew member on board the NED 398. He has great interest in sailing the Dragon as well. Being on cruise with his partner Evelien on his motorboat DIVA, Kees and Evelien joined us in Saint-Tropez.
During the first two days sailing Kees experienced the difference between lake sailing and a race course of 2,4 nm at open sea. Including a black flack ( with no discard….) However on day 3 the NED 398 was in good trim and in good steering hands, racing close with the new V6 of Max. As Jan Bakker said to Philip : ‘amazing how high and fast the old lady sailed’.
Reigning Dutch champion Pieter Heerema with Lars Hendriksen en Claus Olesen had a bit of an ‘off day ‘ on day one. However on day 4 Pieter had the overall third place. During difficult circumstances ( swell and hardly any wind) Pieter was unfortunately not able to maintain his position during race 5. He ended 4th overall. Still a top performance in this large fleet with the world top Dragon sailors.
Marc Blees was back in the fleet after many years sailing on Maxi’s (which he still does on Rambler) Together with Tim Tavinor in a new V6 (NED 11) Marc sailed an overall 34 th place. Including a 71 score. He was not the only one having hard times at sea during this Gold Cup.
Joost on board the GER 1140 scored an overall 12 th place. Pretty good (but they are obliged to perform like this as very experienced Dragon sailors.)
The new team NED 429 ( Amazing Grace) had a slow start, however their final race was the one they took home as an example how to do it. The Orange spinnaker was showing proud in the front lines of the fleet. ( See top photo)
For the NED 339 the whole event was a series of new experiences. We were proud to have seen how they “maintiendrai-ed” becoming TFL during 4 races. Keep on pushing and sailing Bontekoe’s. Perhaps join more of the events of the fleet and invite more experienced Dutch Dragon friends to help to trim the boat.
Dutch President Klaas Ruigewaard with Eric and Imke had some good days and bad days. Which happened to all of us. With NED 403 ( Maarten Klinkenberg, Christiaan and Daan) who were sailing a steady race, they scored in the middle section, just missng the Silver Cup slot in the middle.
As for the SWE 398 (not to be confused with the NED 398) Max, Jan and Dax had to get used to the boat. It didn’t quite do what the sailors wanted. Jan had all kind of theories with Rob about mast position and shroud positions. Test, experience and learn from errors must be the way forward for this beautiful new boat and an experienced Dragon sailor like Max.
We also kept an eye on the GER 1167, sailed by our Dutch/German friend Hans (Teddy) Bähr. As often is the case the NED 398 crossed several times with the GER 1167, who sailed home from the course with full pride showing his (new) club flag of the RNLYC.
All in all: it was a superb week sailing under beautiful circumstances. The Gold Cup is a serious challenge with its 2,4 nm long beats 3x up and 2x down. It were five unforgettable long days ‘in the office’ ( from 09:30 – 18:30) with much relieve for many: one day off ! In 2019 it will be the Dutch Fleet that has the honnor of organizing this marvalous event from 8 – 14 June 2019 in Medemblik. As for 2018: The Fins are anxious to recieve us in Helsinki. Registration is open. Just fly to Finland after having dropped your Dragon in Antwerp on Finn Ferries for a special price.
And talking about 2018: the Dutch season starts with Grade 2 Event Grand Prix Aalsmeer during the last weekend of March.
Don’t hesitate to join the DUTCH FLEET for competitive sailing and for experiencing the true spirit of the Dragon Class.