The resurgence of the International Dragon Class in the UK continues apace this week in Abersoch as the Dragon Northern Area Championship and Edinburgh Cup, supported by Aberdeen Asset Management, attract their highest number of entries in decades. Thirty-five teams competed in the Northern Area Championship, which concluded today, and no less than forty-three teams will race for the Edinburgh Cup, which gets underway tomorrow.
The strong international fleet, which includes teams from Japan, Australia, Russia, Ireland and across the UK, have enjoyed three challenging days of racing in a mix of conditions for the Northern Area Championship.
Sunday’s opening day was extremely light and shifty and despite multiple attempts at racing the wind only held good long enough for one short two-leg race to be completed. Local sailor Nick Jordan sailing Sanuk, his 1997 Petticrow, was delighted to win the first race. The Abersoch fleet has been successfully resurrected in recent years and now boats 15 boats race regularly. One of the secrets of their success has been a local fleet rule that prevents any member paying more than £15,000 for their boat so the fleet is largely made up of older boats. The excitement on Nick’s face as he crossed the finishing line ahead of some of the very newest boats and top professional sailors from the international circuit was a joy to behold. Second place in the opening race went to Owen Pay sailing Nijord with octogenarian Australian sailing legend Gordon Ingate aboard Whimsey third.
Monday dawned warm and sunny but frustratingly windless and the race committee was forced to hold the teams ashore initially and then continue the postponement afloat. Fortunately the wait was worth it and by mid afternoon the wind had filled in to a good 12-14 knots allowing three great races to be completed. Russia’s Mikhail Muratov sailing Murka 8 was top performer of the day, winning the opening race and then finished third in the next two, but he had been unable to compete on the opening day as he and his crew were travelling back from the European Championship in Germany and so held a DNC from day one. Julia Bailey of Cowes in Aimee added 5, 1, 2 to her first day’s fourth place while the Medway’s Mike Holmes also had a very consistent day with a 3, 2, 4 score to add to an OCS from day one. Fortunately the discard came into play after the fourth race, which put Julia Bailey and Mikhail Muratov on equal points with Julia holding the overall lead on count back and Mike Holmes two points behind them in third.
Tuesday proved to be another light airs affair and with a latest start time cut off of 14.00 the committee was under pressure to get at least one more race completed. There was an initial postponement but before long the race committee felt that a light breeze had begun to fill in and the race got underway. Just as the boats came to the line what had felt like a promising new wind started to destabilise and the first beat was an agonising affair for the teams as they attempted to pick their way through the holes in the breeze. Although extremely shifty the wind did just hold in sufficiently to allow the boats to ghost around the course and on the line Len Jones of the Medway In Rumours was the relieved victor with fellow Medway sailor Julian Sowry sailing Scimitar second and Edward Fort of the Cowes fleet in Bella third. Julia Bailey’s disappointing 17th fortunately wasn’t sufficient to knock her off the top of the podium and she claimed the Northern Area Championship and this historic Paisley Quaich Trophy by four points from Mikhail Muratov who finished the final race in ninth to take second overall with Mike Holmes eighth on the line and third overall. Mike Holmes also won the Corinthian Trophy for the top all amateur crew. Click here for full results.
|L-R Matt Young, Mike Holmes, Alex Burnett (Corinthian Champions), David Heritage, Julia and Graham Bailey (Northern Area Champions)|
Tomorrow the fleet will grow to 43 boats, who will come to the line to challenge for the famous Edinburgh Cup, which was first presented to the class in 1948 by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, a Dragon owner then and to this day. The forecast for the four day regatta promises something for everyone with light to moderate airs on Wednesday and Thursday followed by much stronger winds on Friday and Saturday. 2010 winner Klaus Diederichs, who hails originally from Germany but is now based in London, will be defending his title as will 2010 Corinthian winner Simon Brien from Cultra in Northern Ireland. Without doubt the international fleet gathered for this year’s event will make it one of the most hotly contested Edinburgh Cup’s of all times and we look forward to some outstanding racing. Click here for a full crew list.
The Edinburgh Cup will be raced from Wednesday 13 July to Saturday 16 July. News, results, photos, video reports and full information will be published atwww.edinburghcup.org and via the IDA Blog and the BDA Facebook page.
For further information about the British Dragon Association please visitwww.britishdragons.org or contact BDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on email@example.com, Skype fpbrown, Mobile +44 (0)7711 718470.
For further information about Aberdeen Asset Management please contact Jill Maxwell, PR Manager – WSM Sponsorship, Tel +44 (0)207 590 7520, e-mailJill.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk