We’ve had an absolutely outstanding weekend here on Belfast Loch.  Simon Brien’s personal commitment to bringing the event back to the North has paid off in spades and despite the often grey skies its been an absolutely sparkling weekend.

The Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club welcomed the Dragon sailors with open arms and made everyone feel completely at home.  From the constant supply of hot coffee and scones to the fastest results service in the world (where else do you get someone standing at the top of the dock handing you your results as you come off the boat?) the RNIYC just got it right.  Special thanks to PRO Alan Crossbie and his entire team for outstanding work in what were at times very difficult light and shifty conditions, and to the members, volunteers and staff of the club for their incredible hospitality.

Thanks too to event sponsors Belfast Harbour and North Down Council.  Launching the boats in Belfast Harbour followed by the Belfast Harbour Stenaline Fun Race down to the club was an inspired idea as was the dinner hosted by the sponsor at the historic Belfast Harbour Offices on Thursday night.

Simon’s enthusiasm for this event was infectious.  He showed no mercy in persuading everyone to attend and having got us all here he showed no mercy in entertaining us until we couldn’t take any more.  Simon and Juanita’s BBQ party on Friday night has already reserved its place in Dragon folklore.

Congratulations to our new Dragon Irish Champions Martin Byrne, Adam Winkleman and Pedro Andrade who put together a truly impressive series and to second placed Don O’Donoghue, Gwen Chapelain and Dallas Caskey and third placed Andrew Craig, Mark Pettitt and Brian Matthews.  And finally thanks to all the competitors who made this such an exciting regatta to watch and who were as always such a great bunch of people to spend time with.

We’ll have an official event press report for you tomorrow but in the meantime I’m off for a few hours much needed shut eye.