Sunny skies and a northwest breeze greeted the Dragon fleet in Falmouth Harbour on day one of the Edinburgh Cup, the British Dragon national championship.
There were two clean starts and exciting racing from the 24 Dragons in Falmouth Bay. After a recent awe-inspiring performance at the Dragon World Championship in Kuhlungsborn, Bluebottle GBR 192 helmed by Graham Bailey, took a commanding lead, securing their first win. Followed across the line by Provezza Dragon TUR 1212 helmed by Andy Beadsworth and Andy Moss’ Hands Off GBR 760.
An increasing afternoon breeze allowed the Dragons to stretch their legs across Falmouth Bay, TUR 1212 crossed the line first with recently crowned BDA Southwest Dragon Champions Jaguar Racing Team IRL 201 in second. Cowes-based Dragon Jerboa GBR 761 enjoyed a better race taking third place followed by Pageboy XI GBR 791 and Furious GBR 777.After two races, Provezza Dragon TUR 1212 had a five-point lead with Bluebottle, Jaguar Racing Team and Hands Off separated by just one point.
An OCS for Provezza and Naiad in race three meant open season at the top of the pack with Dragons all converging on the windward mark in breeze. The iconic, dark blue hull of Bluebottle edged forward to take the race three win ahead of Jerboa GBR 761. Third place of the race went to Richard Davies’ Flotation GBR 790 after a superb display of shift selection and downwind sailing. Hot on the heels were Jaguar Racing Team IRL 201 and Pageboy XI GBR 792 in fourth and fifth.
As the Dragons prepared for the start of race four the wind swung more to the North and increased and combined with a disturbed sea saw all sailors on the side heading up the first beat. Fei-Lin’s Flirtation GBR 633 picked the winning side of the racecourse and after the second downwind leg had opened a considerable lead to take the bullet.
It was all change at the top after four races with Jaguar Racing Team IRL 201 ahead by three points, closely followed by Provezza and Bluebottle.
Going into the final two races of the 2022 Edinburgh Cup in Falmouth it was close at the top. Just one or two points were in it for four of the Dragons and it quite literally was all to play for!
The conditions further tested the fleet with many choosing to hit a hard corner before turning to the upwind mark. Gains were made downwind for many of the Dragons, but it was the final beat to the finish that determined the outcome.
Provezza claimed their second race win with Bluebottle in second and, Jaguar Racing Team taking third. Burnham-based Dragons Flotation GBR 790 and Still Crazy GBR 827 came in fourth and fifth, respectively.
“Falmouth provided a stunningly beautiful venue for Dragon racing, the ability to race outside and inside the Carrick Roads means it can cope with the vagaries of the British weather.” Simon Barter, BDA Chairman and helm of Bertie GBR 763
The 2022 Edinburgh Cup was won by Provezza Dragon TUR 1212, Andy Beadsworth, Simon Fry and Edward Salter. While not his first Edinburgh Cup win, Andy Beadsworth has achieved his first Edinburgh Cup title as a helm.
There was no fourth win for Graham Bailey, but his team of Julia Bailey and David Heritage sailed an excellent week on Bluebottle showing that the restored, vintage Dragon is still extremely competitive.
After claiming the 2022 BDA Southwest championship title, third place overall and top placed Corinthian Dragon, Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Racing Team were delighted. “We are very happy with how we went and the whole week, we enjoyed ourselves.”
Bluebottle helm, Graham Bailey commented “We are still on a learning curve with Bluebottle, but our averages were good enough through week to put us in contention going into the final day. The start lines had been excellent all week so in the final race we opted for mid-line and put the hammer down. Andy (Beadsworth) split tacks and we each held our nerve as the separation grew, then it was all down to the last shift to see who was ahead. We tried a close cover on the second beat, but this was never going to deliver the points we needed so we changed to “sail the course” mode hoping we could put enough distance on Andy and the fleet for us to survive any volatility which may put Andy at risk.
“Having Provezza in the Edinburgh Cup did wonders for the profile of the event and many teams noticeably raised their game to meet the challenge including several class stalwarts such as Owen Pay who regularly put Furious GBR 777’s bow ahead of us all at the top mark.”
Next year’s event and 75th celebration of the Edinburgh Cup with be in Cowes, August 2023. For further details visit www.britishdragons.org or follow @britishdragons
Images: courtesy of British Dragon Association/Paul Gibbins/Catherine Daly