September 22, 2015 – Opening day at the Regatta de Royales de Cannes; sailors and organizers could not have asked for better conditions, despite a tricky chop good wind and sunny skies welcomed the eighty plus boat fleet. A true show on the Bay with big and small boats deploying their whole sail inventories for the enjoyment of fans and spectators. The Dragons went for two action packed races in the Golfe Juan.. On the opening day of classic racing at the Regates Royales, Aeolus did his very best to make the eighty-plus crews happy, despite a very disorderly and chaotic sea-state. The fleet, divided into seven classes, enjoyed a south-westerly od around fifteen knots, progressively increasing to a stiff twenty plus. Just when the race committee fired the first starting signal, with all the big boats on the line, a spectacular accident happened between MARISKA and ELENA, the 15MI barely escaping the worst, breaking free from ELENA’S huge bowsprit. Both had to go back to Cannes’ Vieux Port and be submitted to a thorough check. The rest of the fleet marched along on a long triangular race coarse, upwind to the buoy off La Napoule, before heading back to Cannes for a final leg along the beach.
The Scottish-flagged J Class SHAMROCK V was, as usual the first to cross the line while the smaller boats fought on to better their positions on corrected time. All their huge sails deployed, MOONBEAM IV and her older brother MOONBEAM of FIFE- they were actually born eleven years apart-went head to head, finishing just a few metres away. Gaffers were also on their own turf today, showing all their potential and that sometimes “older is better”. German Dragons on a high after yesterday’s race in pretty light wind, won by Ivan Bradbury on BLUE HAZE, today the scenario was totally different. The 38 crews were kept waiting for some time at the pontoons but then enjoyed great sailing conditions on the windward/leeward race coarse set in the Golfe Juan, with some fifteen knots of south-westerly and a chop that made the tacticians’ job harder. But not for Germany’s Michael Schmidt (M3) who after two races got to the top provisional spot just ahead of the Briton who only scored a fifth, whilst his countrywomen Gavia Wilkinson-Cox (Jerboa) jumped on the third step of the podium, even at points with Italian skipper Guiseppe Duca (Cloud). To make things even more exciting, the race committee went for a third race in an increasing south-westerly breeze.