So my friends, the Gold Cup has Been and Gone…  Won “Brilliantly” for the 2nd time by Tommy Muller and this occasion his “Bavarian Dream Team”, who just pipped our very own and current World Champion,  Lawrie Smith by just 1pt.. Yes Campers, just 1 point ..!

It was a fantastic Gold Cup and a true credit to Kinsale Yacht Club and their many helpers and volunteers who offered the very best to the 60 lucky competing Dragons, both on and off the water. Under the expert guidance of PRO Alan Crosbie who himself won the Irish Dragon National Championship in 1992, it was a “full-on” event sailed in predominately strong winds and big seas…. During the 7 racing days (which included one practice race) the International Teams from 13 different countries fought hard to overcome not only the “testing” sailings conditions, but the extremely high quality fleet boasting many National &  World Champions and of course Olympic Medalist’s..

From the moment of arrival at the spacious “Kingston Boat Yard” where many of the boats were expertly rigged, polished, launched and recovered helped by brother’s Shawn & George Kingston or over at the main shipping port where the rest of the fleet were managed, there was an organised and well drilled “feel” in the air. Also the Yacht Club of Kinsale had a splendid Marquee ready and able to host the daily and evening gatherings, which were thankfully and gratefully sponsored by Brewin Dolphin who specialise in Investment Managing and Financial Planning.

Kinsale is a beautiful fishing village of County Cork and is famous for it’s battle in 1601 where the English defeated an Irish/Spanish force, then in 1677 Charles Fort was built to guard the harbour against the French and Spanish. The Dragon sailors and friends visited Charles Fort during the week seeing history for themselves and the truly stunning views. Each day of the Gold Cup the boats sailed majestically out pass this magnificent Fort as crews reflected on times gone by and reconstructed in their minds the battle cry’s all those brave lost men many years ago……

When the boats gathered on the race area each day the scenery of the Old Head Golf Course and fantastic panoramic views could be witnessed by all as the long 2.3 mile courses were expertly set giving the ultimate challenge to these hardened and enthusiastic sailors… Some days the 20+ kts of wind also bought in huge rollings waves which would test the fleet in their seamanship, whilst giving downwind thrills and excitement to the brave. Spectacular Surfing and “Death Rolls” were had by all as our wonderful one design class was put through the sternest of test’s..  It is a true credit to the design and current boat-builders that all came through unscathed despite numerous broaches and wipe-out’s!

From a sailing point of view those of us who witnessed Tommy Muller’s first Gold Cup win 10 years ago in Mariehamn, Finland (then sailing with Mario and Bjorn), knew he had the skill, determination and patience to win again.. This time sailing with the “Bavarian Dream Team” Vincie Hoesch (who now has 7 Gold Cup wins, unbelievable) and my good friend Michi Lip, Tommy had to fight hard. With Lawrie Smith and Dmitry Samokhin as his main contenders, it was not over until the very last beat of the very last race. Such is the beauty of the “Non-Discardable” Gold Cup Series….  Lawrie came so close to adding this prestigious trophy to his current World Title, but it was not to be….   Tommy is the King again and as he thanked his crew and family for all their help and support, this moment of greatness will be remembered for many years to come…………..

Higher, Faster, Longer………….    Stavros.