Wednesday was the third day of racing at the JPMorgan Fleming Dragon Gold Cup 2004. The event hosted by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club will culminate with Race 6 on Friday 16 July.
The Dragon originated in Norway and has always enjoyed tremendous popularity throughout its 75-year history in Scandinavia and the countries surrounding the Baltic. They are still strongholds of the class and are well represented in the Gold Cup fleet racing in Falmouth this week.
Wednesday, and Gold Cup Race Four definitely had a distinctly Viking flavour with Danish skippers Jorgen SCHONHERR and Frank BERG resuming the head to head battle they enjoyed in the first two races of the regatta.
The fleet once again raced out in Falmouth Bay and Race Officer, Jeff MARTIN, was able to set a simple windward/leeward course as specified under the Deed of Gift of the Cup. The westerly wind was a fairly constant 12-14 knots and allowed the full five legs of the 12-mile course to be completed.
Frank BERG led up the first beat with Jorgen SCHONHERR in close pursuit, however by the second round Schonherr was in front and managed to hold the lead then for the rest of the race. In a classic match-racing duel Schonherr never gave Berg an inch and on the final beat to the finish covered all the way to the gun. The winning margin was around 20 metres followed by yet another Dane Soren PEHRSSON sailing Half Five DEN 319.
The German challenge headed by Marcus BRENNECKE GER 1007 and Werner FRIR did not enjoy a good day as both faltered under Danish pressure. Brennecke posted a 17 and Frir a ten, which would be respectable to most but will see them drift in the overall results.
Likewise Turkish skipper Arda BAYKAL also felt the heat and posted his worst result to date finishing 28 and losing second place overall. Schoenherr is holding steady and with two races to go he is twelve points clear of Berg, with Frir and Brennecke both now 17 points behind Berg and 30 points behind Schoenherr.
Barring a disaster, Schoenherr should win but with no discard rule he needs to compete well in the last two races, any slip up and Frank BERG could well take the lead. So far the Danish pair shown excellent starting tactics to get clear wind and good boat speed with an eleventh and twelfth being their worse results in a highly competitive 75-boat fleet.
Soren PEHRSSON is starting to show some form and is lying sixth overall, if he has a good last two races it could easily be a Danish clean sweep which will pleases the current Falmouth residence of the Crown Prince Henrik the Royal Consort of Denmark.