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International Dragon Association Launches Circuit 2019 Dragon Grade 1 European Cup

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International Dragon Association Launches Circuit 2019 Dragon Grade 1  European Cup_2

Throughout its 90-year history the International Dragon has remained at the forefront of international keelboat racing and 2019 sees the launch of a new initiative to further enhance that reputation for world class competition. The 2019 Dragon European Grade One circuit will feature four regattas and will culminate in a spectacular new Grand Final featuring the top 20 teams, with a specially commissioned Dragon European Cup perpetual trophies being presented to the winners.

Attracting top teams from across Europe and around the globe, the events will be spread across the season and located in premier venues with top quality race management. For 2019 the series will comprise:

2 – 6 April - Dragon Grand Prix de Cannes, Cannes, France

1 – 4 May - H.M. King Juan Carlos I Trophy, Cascais, Portugal

3 – 6 July - Dragon Grand Prix Germany, Kühlungsborn, Germany

11 – 16 November - Dragon Grand Prix Spain & European Cup Series Finals, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Participants will have to qualify for the Dragon European Cup Grand Final. Places will be awarded to the top 20 highest scoring helms in the four qualifying regattas, with one discard allowed from the first three events. The final regatta of the year, the Dragon Grand Prix Spain in Palma de Mallorca, is compulsory for sailors who wish to compete in the Final.

Out of the 20 finalists, there will be a quota for non-Corinthian and Corinthian sailors, based on the proportion of non-Corinthians/Corinthians participating in all four qualifying events. For example, if the total entries for all four events are 160, Corinthian entries total 40 and non-Corinthian total 120, then the Corinthian quota for the Final will be five, and the non-Corinthian will be 15.

The winner will be awarded a spectacular new trophy which has been designed and created for the series by Finnish sculptor and sailor Sami Salomaa. In addition, there will be a perpetual trophy for the top Corinthian helm, presented by legendary Hong Kong Dragon sailor Lowell Chang.

The format for the Grand Final will incorporate up to five races of standard IDA Grade 1 regatta format and duration, subject to weather conditions. If there are five races sailed one discard will apply. There will be no minimum number of races for the final; the trophy may be awarded if only one race is completed.

IDA Chairman Vasily Senatorov shared his thoughts on the new series; "The new Dragon European Cup adds an additional focus on top-flight competition, whilst carefully maintaining the essential balance between the professional and Corinthian teams. In selecting Cannes, Cascais, Kühlungsborn and Palma for this year's events we have secured four superb and hugely popular venues which will ensure outstanding regattas, an excellent mixture of sailing areas and conditions, and of course some great après sailing activities, as camaraderie and hospitality are vital elements of any Dragon regatta."

Already participation is confirmed from a stellar line up of competitors representing at least fifteen nations including, America's Cup skipper and four time World Match Racing Tour winner Peter Gilmour, top Dutch Dragon sailor and Vende Globe veteran Pieter Heerema, 2017 Dragon European Champion Pedro Andrade (POR), 2017 Dragon Gold Cup winner Stefan Link (GER), 2013 Dragon World Champion Klaus Diederichs (GBR), and Russians Yevgen Braslavetz and Anatoly Loginov who are both past winners of the Dragon Gold Cup and double Dragon European Champions.

At least 50 teams are enteredd for the opening event in Cannes which gets underway on Tuesday 2 April and runs until Friday 5 April, with up to 8 races scheduled over the four days. Full coverage of the event will be available from www.intdragon.net.

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