Russell Coutts has won the Champion of Champions race at the Hanseatic Lloyd-sponsored Dragon 75th Anniversary Regatta in St Tropez

Russell Coutts has beaten a line up of sailing greats past and present, in the Champion of Champions race at the Hanseatic Lloyd-sponsored Dragon 75th Anniversary Regatta in St Tropez.

Sailing with his crew of Yann Neergard and Sam Evans, Russell had a very close win over Sweden’s Tom Lofstedt, just squeezing across the line inches ahead of the former 470 champion.

Dane Lars Hendriksen, who normally crews for the Prince Consort of Denmark, took third place.

Russell Coutts described it as a difficult day, and it certainly wasn’t the sort of weather one normally associates with this glamorous French resort, with almost constant rain, and frequent thunderstorms.

The breeze initially from the west, shifted with every passing squall, and at times almost disappeared between them, with the rain often reducing the visibility dramatically.

Also in the top six of this “rock star” fleet were two of England’s former Olympians and America’s Cup skippers, Phil Crebbin and Andy Beardsworth, and the president of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, sailing with Ulli Libor.

Phil Crebbin, who has been crewing for David Sherriff all week in Dancing Brave, qualified for the Champions division as the current 8 Metre World Champion.

He commented: “It’s the first time in my life I’ve helmed a Dragon, and I came fourth, that’s not so bad,” though it is understood it is going to cost him a bottle of Don Perignon as the result of a bet with the rest of the crew.

In the “masters” race for over 65 year olds, it was Jeugeni Kazakov of Estonia who took the winning gun, while the Juniors race – under 30 years old – went to Sweden’s Victor Orn.

Britain’s Laurence Jacobsen continued his winning ways in the Classics division, while the Ladies race was won by Kristin Schroder of Germany, and the Crews race by Dutch sailor Gerhard Potma.

Attempts to re-sail the two heats postponed from Wednesday were abandoned when the wind deserted the Bay of St Tropez, leaving the fleet slopping around in a nasty swell.

The fleet has now been divided into gold, silver and bronze divisions for a final race on Saturday.

Results

Champions race

1. SUI 298 Russell Coutts – HLL-Gaudium

2. SWE321 Tom Lofstedt – Maria

3. DEN343 Lars Hendriksen – BB King

4. GBR692 Philip Crebbin – Dancing Brave

5. GBR700 Andy Beadsworth – Princess Jalina

6. SUI288 Jacques Rogge – Hanseatic Lloyd

Juniors race

1. SWE303 Victor Orn – Amada

2. FRA300 Louis Yves Urvois – A R Youleg

3. GER882 Silvan Boos – Dragodom

4. RUS3 Mikail Kondratiev – Bars

5. DEN332 Martin Leifelt – Monick

6. TUR40 Arda Baykal – Ala Turca

Ladies race

1. GER981 Kristin Schroder – Elliott

2. NED276 Pamela Rijks – Juna

3. GER816 Katha Zachariassen – Assi

4. JPN48 Ulala Ohyama – Yevis

5. GER946 Fritzi Geppert – Gecco

6. GBR660 Julia Bailey – Aimee

Masters race

1. EST 1 Jeugeni Kazakov – My Best

2. POR 45 Jorge Pinheiro – Nivel II

3. GER 900 Dr Fritz Ehrlicher – Bingo

4. FRA 329 Yves Theze – Coq Rouge IX

5. GER 818 Dr Uwe Plath – Sangaree

6. GBR 672 George Nicholson – Pistou

Classics race

1. GBR 402 Laurence Jacobsen – Meteor

2. LAT 3 Nikolai Korackin – Phoeniks 2

3. SUI 147 David Veit – Syrinx

4. IRL 40 Dan O’Connor – Leprechaun

5. GBR 39 Richard Green – Aurora

6. GBR 363 Chris Jones – Mistress

Crews race

1. NED 331 Gerhard Potma – No name

2. FRA 305 Frederic Gourlaouen – Bijou Bihen II

3. FRA 336 Jean-Claude Duverge – Viking

4. GER 970 Dirk David – Montana

5. AUS 179 John Wilson – Imagination

6. DEN 266 Soren Kaestel – My Way