It was clear that the fight to take the Paul & Shark Trophy, the International Dragon Cup, would be tough and would come down to the very last race for the teams aiming at the podium. Going into the last racing day the Russian crew of Bunker Prince, skippered by 470 gold medallist Yevgeni Braslavets and flying the flag of local Yacht Club Sanremo, looked almost unbeatable with their solid margin of 9 points, but the tricky conditions of the Ligurian Riviera reshuffled the cards. The final two races were raced with a light and shifty westerly that never exceeded 6 knots, putting to the test the Dragonists’ ability and tactical skills.
At the end of the seven-race series two teams emerged at the top tied on points: Ivan Bradbury’s Blue Haze with crew Lars Hendriksen and George Leonchek, and Russia’s Bunker Prince skippered by Yevgeni Braslavets with Sergey Pugachev and Sergey Timokhov. Bunker Prince grabbed the Paul & Shark Trophy 2019, on countback, thanks to more wins. Despite their consistent series the other Russian team on Annapurna, with veteran Anatoly Loginov and crew Vadim Statsenko and Alexander Shalagin, did not manage to catch up and finished on the third step of the podium.
“We’re really happy with this result because the conditions were very tricky and the competition strong," declared Bunker Prince’s skipper Yevgeni Braslavets. "It was exciting, in last two races there was a big fight for the Trophy. It was light , a bit choppy and shifty. We had a bit of everything. Today we had unusual condition for Sanremo. All the top teams had some bad results. During the week we were pretty consistent and today we made some mistakes, too. Everyone can make mistakes so… but we kept focused and made it. I want to congratulate my team. We look forward to come back to Sanremo in October for the 90th Anniversary Regatta; it will be a great event, with a huge fleet, good racing and fun.”
Competition was also intense for the other top spots - prizes being awarded to the first five teams - with Germany’s Khaleesi led by female skipper Nicola Friesen with Vincent Hoesch and 2014 Star World Champion and 2017 Star Sailors League Finals winner Frithjof Kleen, scoring two good results on the final day and taking fourth place, while Switzerland’s Sophie Racing with Hugo Stenbeck, Bernardo Freitas and Martin Westerdahl finished the series in fifth.
Yanez with skipper Giuseppe Duca, Jean-Sébastien Ponce and Vittorio Zaoli, racing for Compagnia della Vela di Venezia, were the first Italian team and were also awarded with the national title on the best combined results in the Alassio Dragon Trophy and Paul & Shark Trophy.
“We’re happy with how the regatta went. We managed to get seven good races in, all technically tricky conditions, but as it often happens the best teams emerged. We now keep focusing on the 90th Anniversary Regatta, that promises to be something really different, I’m sure it will be an event to remember,” said Beppe Zaoli, president of Yacht Club Sanremo.
The Paul & Shark Trophy is the first event of the season for the class in Sanremo, anticipating the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta planned for next October on the Ligurian Riviera. The event is expected to be one of the top rendez-vous on a national and international level for the quality and number of teams taking part - as of today more than 100 boats have already registered.
Full final results after seven races at this link