INTERNATIONAL DRAGON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2023
reported by Leigh Edwards, Tasmania
The 2023 Dragon World Championship was held in Turkey, for the first time, at the end of May. The stunningly beautiful and historic resort of Bodrum in southern Turkey, on the Mediterranean Sea east of Greece and north of Cairo, hosted a light weather regatta.
The preceding Turkish Open Championship was won by the Royal yacht, Bluebottle, helmed by Graham Bailey; fifth in last year Worlds; from Provezza Dragon (Andy Beadsworth) World Champions in 2017 & 2019 and 1quick1, (Wolf Waschkuhn) the 2022 European Champion. Reigning World Champion GBR 819 Fever (Klaus Diederichs) placed fifth in a fleet that promised to be a thrilling high-quality competition.
After Registration and the € 750 Entry Fee, all boats were afloat on 27th May for five days and a planned ten races, with three crews representing Australia.
2023 Dragon Class World Championship in Bodrum, Turkey
The opening day of the Worlds were absolutely perfect. Twenty-four teams started Race 1, under a Black Flag, with a first beat of 2 nm, with the wind around 270° at 12 kts in crystal clear water. Perfect sailing conditions. At the top mark for the first-time GBR 820 Louise Racing (Grant Gordon) was leading from POR 90 Easy (Michael Zanknel); SUI 318 1quick1 (Wolf Waschkuhn); GBR 819 Fever (Klaus Diederichs) and AUS 551 Yeahnah (Jan Eckert).
Easy got through to win from Louise, and Provezza.
The second race for the day was another clear start, again under Black Flag, in beautiful conditions with 1quick1 leading all the way, from Bluebottle, the Belgian Herbie, Louise and Fever. Bodrum truly delivered.
Day 2 and Race 3 started on time under P flag. Easy was over early but quickly returned for the 1.8 nm beat in 9 kts of wind from 180°. But the race was abandoned when the breeze clocked 50° and dropped below 6 kts. Race 3 re-started at 2 pm with a 1.7 nm beat in 9 kts from 260° with Fresh Gale OCS but returning, so a clear line. After a 30-minute beat upwind Bluebottle led 1quick1, Eva on Fire, Louise and Towie (Tim Tavinor).
Gordon, helmed by Richard Lynn from Western Australia had a beaut second beat, correctly picking the favoured right-hand side of the course and rounded third. And held to finish behind 1quick1 and Provezza in a race taking an hour and a half and in dying breeze the Race Committee sent the fleet to the Marina.
On Day 3 the first attempt at the fourth race was abandoned when the southerly wind shifted right towards the west. The wind eventually settled from 250° at 9 kts with the fleet split 50/ 50 right and left. At the top for the first time, it was the consistent 1quick1, from Eva, Herbie, Fever Louise, Saturn (Pedro Andrade) and Provezza.
The favoured side was difficult to pick and it really depended on being in the breeze for the longest time; Lars Hendriksen read the conditions best and bought Eva on Fire home first from Grant Gordon aboard Louise and then Saturn, Fever in their best race and Wolf on 1quick1 in their worst race!
Race 5 had a clear start at 4 pm with the wind steady from 250° at 6 - 7kts. The Race Officer set a shorter 1.4 nm beat and Herbie arrived first at the top mark from the usual contenders. Bluebottle sailed beautifully to be first to the top the second time top mark from 1quick1, Herbie, the Ozzie in Europe Yeahnah, helmed by Jan Eckert, with owner and former World Match Race Champion Torvar Mirsky in the middle.
Torvar bought the Petticrows v6.1 in 2022, and with top Portuguese crew Frederico Melo forward, there has been no stopping this team in recent months. Torvar is an endorsed Australian competitor in international Dragon events as an established member of WAIDA, Royal Perth and Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club having resided in WA and as a coach in RFBYC’s youth program. He has also been nominated for the award of WA match racer of the year, WAIDA regularly nominate him as their number one pick for a slot in the IDA Gold Cup and Euro championships, he is usually their highest ranked member in the IDA rankings. At the finish . . . it was Wolf gybing 1quick1 late to win by literally a lick of paint from Bluebottle, then Herbie and Yeahnah.
Day 4 and Race 6 started at 1 pm with Easy and Sydneysider and ex-IDA Officer Robert Alpe initially OCS on the 1.8 nm beat. Business as usual was resumed with the fast boats leading. In a dying breeze Louise beat 1quick1 home with Yeahnah having their best race, third. Racing was closed at 3 pm, there was no wind for another race.
The last day of the regatta and Race 7 started with three teams deciding to stay ashore for the final race.
It was a big match race between the two contenders; Louise (13 points) and 1quick1 (10) before the start. In the end it was all clear and they were off. Two 1.8 nm beats and two runs to decide the World Champion in 10 kts from 010°.
However, at 14.48 that final regatta deciding race was abandoned when the breeze shifted back 40° from 010° to 330° on the first upwind. The Race Committee had no option. This meant SUI 318 1quick1 Wolf Waschkuhn, Joao Vidinha and Charles Nankin were World Champions, from GBR 820 Louise Racing, Grant Gordon four-up with Luke Patience, James Williamson and Faye Chatterton; with the bronze medal going to GBR 192 Bluebottle Graham Bailey, Julia Bailey, Ruairidh Scott and Will Bedford.
A High-pressure weather system prevalent over the area resulted in light breezes and six high quality races.
Great racing, difficult conditions but quality races. Overall, the 24 teams enjoyed themselves and the best three teams finished on the podium; Wolf from Switzerland, Grant from Great Britain and Graham sailing the Kings boat placed third.
Edited and authorised from Facebook notes by Stavros, Martin Payne, IDA Sailing Coordinator
2023 Dragon Class World Championship in Bodrum, Turkey