Dragoon Eurocup in the Netherlands
Uncharacteristic fine weather greeted the 11 young sailors, aged from 11 to 14 years and from four countries competing over an 8-race series for the Eurocup at Katwijk from 3rd-6th August.
Day One was dominated by the 4-strong RYA supported British team in light and shifty conditions, perhaps inspired by the pre-race rendition of "Three Lions"? After a port-end flyer gave them pace that was not to be challenged, Tom Phipps and Johnathan Cook easily took Race 1. This was a lesson quickly learnt by Will Davies/ Will Thompson, taking Race 2 using similar tactics, with all three other British boats taking places 2-4.
A similar result awaited race 3. This time it was Phipps/Cook who went for the profitable port end of the line, going on to win. Andrew and Chris Tayler strived to close the gap by cleverly playing the wind shifts but, in the end, they had to settle for 2nd place. Following a slow start, Peter Treviss-Bell/Nick Tayler, the 4th British team members, made a great comeback. They continually challenged Davies/Thompson for 3rd place, finally settling for 4th.
Day Two dawned to light winds and rain, making for shifty and damp conditions for the start of race 4. The Tayler brothers caught the whole fleet on starboard at the start, forcing them to the unfavoured side of the course and holding their position until the finish. In similar fashion, Phipps/Cook led race 5 from the start, demonstrating the skill that has earnt them the World and National Championships. Treviss-Bell/Tayler kept close to the leaders throughout, but were not able to close the gap in a strong tide. They finished 4th behind Davies/Thompson (3rd) and the Polish Dzieweicki brothers (2nd).
Race 6 continued to demonstrate team GBR’s domination of the event, to the extent that their coach’s initial evaluation of the race was "Phipps and team GBR have destroyed all opposition!!". His slightly longer report saw Phipps/Cook take 1st place with the Taylers in 2nd, Davies/Thompson in 3rd place and Traviss-Bell/Tayler in 4th.
Day Three saw the light winds continue over a strong tide. Phipps/Cook and Davies/Thompson benefited from a clear start, pulling away and taking advantage of a favourable windshift to take 1st and 2nd places respectively. Third place was taken by the Dutch boat crewed by Minee/Jonker.
Storm clouds built for race 8, causing further shifts and challenging conditions for the fleet. Treviss-Bell/Tayler were over at the start and returned to recommence the race, benefiting from a windshift and tacking to enjoy the starboard lift it offered. From this point, they led to within 10 metres of the line, only to be pipped at the post by the brothers Tayler.
Day Four dawned to no wind, but the fleet launched in anticipation nevertheless. After 2 hours, the racing was abandoned, leaving the British team triumphant and taking all 4 first places. The entire fleet celebrated a fun event with swimming in the waves and an enjoyable prizegiving session. Camaraderie was the theme of the event and friendships were made that will, no doubt, be rekindled in the future.
Results; 1st – Tom Phipps and Johnathan Cook
2nd – Andrew Tayler and Chris Tayler
3rd - Will Davies and Will Thompson
4th – Peter Traviss-Bell and Nick Tayler.