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Gazprom Dragon Europeans 2016: The Coupe Virginie Heriot went to Anatoliy Loginov (RUS27)
The “Big Dragon week” in St.Petersburg YC started in the first ten days of June 2016 with the Silver cup practice regatta for dozen of early birds that arrived at the Europeans venue to train. The competition was won by Loginov and it seemed like the shape of things to come. The Russian Open Dragon Championship/pre-Europeans saw 25 crews from 6 countries competing from 12th till 14th July in some really testing conditions. Having scored three bullets in six races RUS27
Annapurna crew have regained the national title that had been lost last year to Dmitry Samokhin’s RUS79. In turn, Samokhin handed the title over and became vice-champion and third overall. Marcus Brenneke (GER11) finished second overall. The Gazprom Dragon European Championship on 18th July welcomed 45 crews from 13 countries with some greatest sailors from Germany, the UK, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Ukraine and of course Russia.
The only day that saw one race was the first when with 5 minutes left to day’s cancellation the jury decided to send the fleet to race and they gained a perfect race under perfect and unexpected conditions.
The winner of the first day was the four times European Champion Markus Wieser with Diego Negri and Sergey Pugachev (Transbunker’s UAE7). But from the second day to the last RUS27 was leading although some days with tiny margin.
Entering the final day the game was wide open. Given 2 races left and one more discard all top-5 crews had realistic chances of winning. The 5 point lead that Anatoliy Loginov gained a day before against UAE7 Markus Wieser has shrunk into one point after the acting Russian champion scored double seventh and the German master managed 3 and 8 finishes.
The first race on 22nd July was disappointing for both leaders. Loginov finished 10th and Wieser 9th while their leaderboard neighbors, Link (GER1162) and Brennecke (GER11) were second and first. “The first race wasn’t successful, we lost our position and probably were out of top-5,- Loginov comments, - so we decided to relax and take it as it comes”.
The start of the second race didn’t bring any relief either. “Big right shift left us somewhere at 30-ties on the first rounding and even our competitors GER1162 decided to abandon the race seeing no chances of continuing the fight for top-3, - Loginov comments, - but we decided to sail on and our decision was rewarded”.
For the second and final race of the day the Jury picked D-course. That meant 3 upwind legs with upwind mark finish. Their decision not to give up their efforts, Russian Champion managed to pick some shifts, climb steadily and finally was fifth on the finish line while Brennecke was 7th and Wieser was 23rd . Worlds medalist Frank Berg (DEN408), won the final race that established his crew as the leader in the Corinthian division.
While fleet headed home, everybody were calculating the results which wasn't obvious since both RUS27 and GER1162 appeared tied at the same score. Considering Loginov’s win in the second race of the Europeans and no-wins (but astonishing four second finishes) Link’s score, the Coupe Virginie Heriot went to RUS27 Annapurna.
The Bronze medal went to Brenneke (GER11) who really performed well,even if the crew sails together less than a year. Markus Wieser (UAE7) dropped to fourth and his team mate, now ex-European champion but acting World champion Evgen Braslavets (UAE8) finished fifth.
“The championship was really tight, - says Loginov, - you see even upon race completion we weren’t sure that we were winning. This is very important win for us and for the whole Russian Dragon community”.
Full results http://dragoneuro2016.ru/results/
On-line GPS tracking is available at http://dragoneuro2016.ru/tracker/
Writer: Ivan Bidzilya, the Gazprom Dragon European Championship Press Office
Photo Credits: Elena Razina