It was a truly “Full On” sailing day for all 48 competitors during day two of the Guyader Grand Prix here in Douarnenez, on the West Coast of Brittany. Although the weather deteriorated as the day went on the PRO managed to complete two more excellent races fitting of any top Grade 1 Event.
With the wind gusting between 18 to 24 knots, the upwind sailing was extremely tactical whilst the downwind sailing was “awesome”. This photo below shows the winner of race three, the first of the day, DEN 138 “EVA” helmed by Lars Hendriksen, crewed by Frithjof Kleen & Pedro Andrade, sailing a “fine line” down over the waves. The skill and nerve takes years of practice to sail a Dragon low in a strong breeze and there are none better than Lars (who is the current European Champion) to demonstrate this.
Lars at his best, Frithjof holds on and Pedro has the look of surprise, but trims well.
So Lars took the first race of the day sailing his beautiful Pedersen & Thuesen Dragon followed home closely by Pieter Heerema who was also helming his magnificently refurbished Pedersen & Thuesen “Troika” NED 412. In 3rd place was GER 1133 “Sinewave” helmed by Tommy Muller who revels in these conditions and was now leading overall after 3 races.
After a slight delay and a few aborted starts due to wind shifts, the President of the Committee du Course, Jean Gabriel Le Cleach, once again had the patience to get it right. This meant that the second race of the day, race 4 overall, was started cleanly just after 2.30pm (Chinese Dentist), in a building wind, with drizzle and mist. However, this time it was the turn of Pieter Heerema to take the control away from Lars. These two “training” partners have put in a considerable amount of time and effort to advance their heavy weather skills. This really started to show as NED 412 “Trioka” with Pieter at the helm and crewed by Theis Palm and Claus Olesen rounded the top mark first and never looked back….
Pieter Heerema acknowledges the winning signal as the TRIOKA team cross the line.
Following Pieter across the line was DEN 138 Lars Henriksen who had to settle for 2nd place, but had sailed a perfect day to be right in contention overall. In 3rd place was the ever present GER 1133 Tommy Muller, crewed by Vincie Hoesch and Marc Pickel who have simply sailed 4 fantastic races. Tommy now leads from Lars overall by 2pts, closely followed by Lawrie Smith who despite not having one of his best days, managed to hang in there to record a 5th and a 9th and maintain 3rd overall, with still three races to go.
Meanwhile the best of the “Corinthian” Sailors were also battling it out within the fleet, keeping a watchful eye on their fellow Corinthian competitors. Once again it was FRA 386 “Lady Jane” helmed by Luc Pillot and crewed by Jean Claude Danet and Nicolas Abiven who had a good day to retain the overall lead. Moving up into 2nd overall is GER 1042 “PUK III” helmed by Philip Dohse and 3rd is now FRA 396 “LEGEND” Remy Arnaud.
So now we move onto the penultimate day, Friday, another two races and again strong winds forecast. I hope it does not prove to be too strong so that we cannot race as this competition is really heating up into a fantastic climax.
Higher, Faster, Longer…………….. Stavros. (GER 1102).