International Dragon World Championship – Waiting, waiting, waiting

Overall leaders - Bunker Queen. - Dragon World Championships
John Curnow ©
International Dragon World Championship will be sailed from the 9th to 15th January 2011, hosted by the Royal brighton Yacht Club, Victoria, Australia.

At 3.27pm the course boat, Tarni, indicated they were on station and at the 3.30, the Answering Pennant, which had been up for most of the day, finally came down. A course of 150 degrees had been set and at 3.45, the race was away!

Regrettably, all the pent up adrenalin had the fleet well over and so the general recall was sounded. Race Management also reset the line to allow for a course change to 165 degrees. There was a second general recall at 4.05, which meant the black flag went up, to let all and sundry know that you had to play nicely on the next start or go home. At 4.20, which was around the time when a lot of people thought the breeze would finally kick in today, the race did get away. It would have been lucky to gust to 10 knots although by the finish it was easily a more solid nine knots and far less variable. It was unfortunate for two boats, who got the dreaded call over the radio and so for them, the day was over. Mark Woodland, Nigel Henderson and Matt Dundas aboard the Australian entry, Lyla, along with Sweden’s Martin Pålsson, Göran Alm and Johan Norem on Bendira will now be hoping that this can count as their drop, when there are more than the five races completed, which are required for the championship to be awarded.
As per yesterday, the fleet spread out from the near as half a nautical mile long start line, with a few new crews trying the Lucky Left. Not as many went to the right side as yesterday, but a lot went way, way left. Typically, the middle was the place to be, by the time they got to the top.

The start finally got away at about 4.20pm. - Dragon World Championships
John Curnow ©

Former World Champion, Tommy Müller, led the fleet there, but the top 50 or so boats were packed in very tightly. Infringements were bound to occur and there were at least five penalty turns performed by crews in this batch. For overnight series leader, West Australia’s Richard Lynn, this meant his crew lost easily 20 places, as they not only had to perform the turn, but then get going again in the very disturbed air that all the other yachts going by had created. Great Britain’s Lawrie Smith was certainly happy to be back up the pointy end of the fleet and took Bunker Prince right out to the edge of the hitch mark. The other feature of the first rounding was a good number of crews going for the gybe set of their spinnakers.

The top three of Müller, Smith and Brasalev stayed the same all the way back down and by the time they got to the bottom mark, the pressure had filled in a little from the very gentle start. The desire to do well was still burning for most crews and there were definitely some incidents and lots of calls of ‘protest’. Again, many penalty turns were evident. As opposed to yesterday, there were not nearly as many changes in the top ten at the roundings. The likes of the Bunker Boys from the Ukraine and Australia’s Gilt Dragon II, along with yesterday’s victors, Scoundrel, all featured in these sorts of positions for the entire day.

Back at the top for the second time, Race Management signalled a course change back to 150 degrees and its reciprocal, 330. Again, there was lots of action in the front of the fleet and yet more penalty turns to be seen. Those who had come out right did well. The leaders had changed somewhat, with the Ukraine’s Bunker Prince coming in first from Germany’s Montana and then the Bunker Boys. Smith and Müller were still in the top ten, as too Sweden’s Ming and Australia’s, Scoundrel.

Given that the fleet had started to separate out a lot more by the time they all got to the bottom mark again, it is no real surprise that it was a far more pleasant rounding. The seaway had built by now, too, and was easily one half of a metre. Montana from Germany, skippered by Dirk David and crewed by Stefan Abel and Mark Bayer, led the fleet in over Yevgen Brasalev’s Bunker Prince and then Markus Wieser driving Bunker Queen.

Yevgen Brasalev, Sergey Timokhov and Yevgen Kushienko aboard Bunker Prince would then go on to take the fleet up to the top for the win at a little after half past six in the evening. In second place would be Montana and third was the Bunker Boys, who are Lars Hendriksen, Yevgen Kushchiyenko and George Leonchuk.

Overall, Markus Wieser, Sergey Pugachev and Matti Paschen aboard Bunker Queen are leading the 2011 Dragon World Championship. Martin Palsso's Bendira is in second after initially having been given a Black Flag Penalty by the Race Committee which was subsequently removed after a post--race photographic review. In third is the Bunker Prince skippered by Yevgen Braslavez with Lawrie Smith's Alfie in fourth. Australia’s Richard Lynn, Ian Olson and Ron Rosenberg are in fifth, despite their misfortune today. Special mention has to be made of Montana, who are in sixth and the leading Corinthian (all amateur) crew at this time. The Banker Boys move in to seventh, Sweden’s Out Of Bounds holds eighth and yesterday’s winners, Scoundrel, are in ninth tonight. Former world champion, Thomas Müller and crew have Sinewave in tenth and the recently crowned Prince Philip Cup winners aboard African Queen are in eleventh.

Ultimately, all this means that there are a great number of crews who can win this 2011 Dragon World Championship.

'It was a hard one to wait around for and once on the water, we had a couple of systems to get over our heads before we felt we could get the race underway', said Principal Race Officer, Kevin Wilson. 'The breeze was originally at 240 degrees and swung in towards 170. We were delighted to get the race away and see it hold true, with a little phasing to the right.'

Racing will begin again on Thursday, as the crews have a lay day on Wednesday.

Bunker Prince from the Ukraine - Winners on the day. - Dragon World Championships
John Curnow ©

The bow of Britain's Quicksilver IV cuts away after the start. - Dragon World Championships
John Curnow ©

Germany's Montana finishes second on the day and is the highest ranked Corinthian crew, currently. - Dragon World Championships
John Curnow ©

Melbourne's CBD rises out of the rain clouds. - Dragon World Championships
John Curnow ©

Richard Lynn on Puff-eu negotiates the last bit to get around the hitch mark after the penalty turn - Dragon World Championships
John Curnow ©

Germany's Dragoni Holly take a wave as they approach the finish line. - Dragon World Championships
John Curnow ©


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