Challenging conditions welcome 73 boats from 15 countries
Photos by Fredrik Stjernfeldt
Last year it was Göteborgs Kungliga Segelsӓllskap’s turn to host the Dragon Gold Cup! But, like most events, it was canceled because of COVID-19. This year things are starting to open up and the Gothenburg Royal Yacht Club (GKSS), together with the Swedish Dragon Association and Marstrand Sailing Association (MSS) got another chance.
Up until the end of May, we weren’t sure the Cup would happen because of all the uncertainty of the pandemic, so we had the challenge of preliminarily booking and promoting the regatta nonetheless. After a lot of planning and organizing, we got the go-ahead. On the starting line on the 15th of August, we had 73 boats from 15 countries in the Marstrand marina.
The beginning of the Cup was not what we had been hoping for. Tune-up race day was canceled because of too much wind. On the first day of racing, we faced a too-calm ocean and on the second day, there was too much wind again.
The wait for the Gold Cup in Marstrand had been a year, so what’s another three days, right?
On day four the racing could finally begin! To catch up on the missed races, the first race started at 0900. To qualify as a championship, four races minimum were required and now it was perfect sailing conditions on the north of Marstrand. The first race had many tight finishes and lead changes but was won by dutchman Pieter Heerema with Troika. He was awarded the prestigious Börge Börresen prize, (a well-known name in the Dragon Class). In the second race, we enjoyed watching a former Swedish America‘s Cup sailor Magnus Holmberg finish 1st.
The regatta is divided into Corinthian and Open divisions and in the Corinthian division, GKSS local champion Martin Pålsson with Nono was an early leader at the top of the scoring board which we, of course, were very excited about!
The after-party was at the classic “Societetshuset” (or “Såsen” in local Swedish and “Community House” in English), a beautiful all-wooden building from 1866 where sponsor Taittinger Champagne served four Magnums to appreciative sailors.
Day five, the second day of racing, we saw Dutch Pieter Hereema add more distance to the runner-up. Martin Pålsson also added to his lead and the locals at Marstrand couldn’t be happier! The two planned races were well executed and the race committee now had day three to make it even more exciting, with everything at play.
The after-party was a Hawaiian Shirts Party hosted by the International Dragon Association Championship Coordinator Martin Payne. Sponsor Taittinger gave away prize bottles of Champagne to the best-dressed individuals.
During the last day of the regatta, there were no major surprises. Both Pieter and Martin held their grip for their divisions. However, Sam Gilmour with YRed went from 9th place to 3rd with two final good races.
All in all, a successful Dragon Gold Cup with title sponsor Yanmar and supporting sponsors TNG Swiss Watches, Henri Lloyd and Taittinger. Also, the regatta couldn’t have been hosted without the fine collaboration between the three clubs, Swedish Dragon Association, Marstrand Sailing Association (MSS), and Gothenburg Royal Yacht Club (GKSS).