Ukrainians win HLL Dragon Grand Prix Germany 4/7/06

The winners of the 2006 HLL Dragon Grand Prix Germany are Sergei Pichugin, Sergei Timovkhov und Dimitri Yarmolenka. The Ukrainians secured overall victory by grabbing first place in the sixth and final race (on 4 July 2006). Pichugin is therefore the winner of the Challenge Cup, a model of the HLL Atlantic. He also receives a 5,000-euro limited partnership share in the ship itself. The crew as a whole also won the Chronoswiss Trophy, and a valuable watch for each crew member.

All four days of the regatta were rewarded with a steady easterly Force 3 -4 and cloudless blue skies. “It couldn’t have been better”, enthused Rupert Fischer, commodore of the German Dragon squad, about the prevailing conditions. Yet again, the best yachtsmen were able to exploit small but difficult to anticipate changes in wind direction to gain the upper hand.

At the beginning of the last race, the wind turned slightly to the left, giving Ulli Libor and his crew on SUI-299 a perfect start at full speed. Most of the crews were too late to spot this wind shift and took the right-hand side, where they were then at a disadvantage.

Wolfgang Rappel, GER 979, was able to stay longest on the left-hand side, and rounded the first windward mark well ahead of the field. The Ukrainians were able to reduce the lead on the downwind leg. Tacking to the finish line, Rappel went to the left again, and Pichugin immediately to the right. This time, Pichugin had chosen the better side and was first over the line.

With three first places in the six races, Pichugin had only 10 points. GER 996 (Thomas Müller, Vincent Hoesch, Max Scheibmair) had a day victory and 17 points on place two, while DEN 380 (Peter Warrer, Lars Wegener, Mikel Kidmose) came in third with 24 points. A total of 41 teams from eight nations took part, including Australia,.

The social and media highlight of the Grand Prix was an integrated benefit gala for the World Childhood Foundation, the Childhood Charity Evening. The gala, which was also attended by the Foundation’s founder, Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, in the company of her husband, His Majesty King Carl XVI. Gustaf, succeeded in generating around 138,000 euros for the charity.