It all went down to the wire for the 43-strong fleet from Japan, Australia, Russia, Ireland and the UK on the final day of the 2011 Dragon Edinburgh Cup, supported by Aberdeen Asset Management, at the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club in Abersoch. Going into the day Mikhail Muratov and Klaus Diederichs were tied for the lead on 16 points, Martin Byrne was on 17 points, Julia Bailey counted 23 and Olga White 28. In the Corinthian fleet Richard Goodbody led Simon Brien by a single point with Patrick Gifford and Nigel Biggs both five points behind them.
There were four attempts at getting the final race, the sixth in the series, started including three under black flag. A total of six teams were disqualified including Olga White, whose hopes of making the podium were immediately dashed. Eventually at the fourth time of asking the fleet got away cleanly for what proved to be the best race of the series with the wind up at around 20 knots from the southwest and some nice big waves which made the runs pretty exciting.
Off the line Byrne got the best start at the committee boat end and was the first to tack off to the right with Diederichs and Muratov following. By the mid point Byrne had already established a lead with Diederichs and Muratov jostling for position on the front edge of the pack. Muratov went further right than Diederichs gaining a significant advantage at the top end of the course and as they rounded the first mark Byrne led with Muratov in fourth and Diederichs seventh.
As Diederichs and Muratove fought their way out of the pack, Bryne established control of the race and clearly had no intention of relinquishing it, gradually stretching away from the fleet. Behind him at the leeward mark Muratov rounded third with Diederichs on his tail in fourth.
On the second beat Byrne extended his lead to some 200 yards, Muratov moved into second and Diederichs third. They held their positions on the second run and up the final beat Byrne was able to maintain a loose cover on the fleet and cruise to a very well deserved victory. As Byrne was enjoying himself out front Muratov and Diederichs were still fighting it out. Meanwhile Simon Brien had been showing bursts of incredible speed to pull up through the fleet and as the fleet came on to the final beat he was challenging Muratov and Diederichs. Brien chose to work the middle whilst the other two went hard right and his move paid off. On the line Byrne and his team looked back to see Muratov finish second, Brien third and Diederichs fourth. Brien’s nearest Corinthian challengers Nigel Biggs and Patrick Gifford crossed the line in fifth and thirteenth places.
So Martin Byrne and his crew of Pedro Andrade and Adam Winklemann sailing Jaguar were declared 2011 Dragon Open British Champions and winners of the historic Edinburgh Cup. In his acceptance speech at the prize giving Martin paid tribute to the many famous names engraved on the trophy since it was first presented to the class by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh in 1948 and said how thrilled and delighted he was to be joining such illustrious company. He also paid tribute to his crew and to his “fourth crew member”, wife Triona, explaining that it is she who is responsible for making sure they actually get to the regattas, for organising all the accommodation and logistics, for buying the beers in the bar, for making sure they get dinner and for getting them home again each evening before they get into too much trouble!
Second place overall went to Russia’s Mikhail Muratov sailing Murka 8 with Valentin Uvarkin and Vladimir Krutskikh, and in third was Klaus Diederichs sailing Fever with Peter O’Leary and David Burrows. At the prize giving there were also a number of special presentations including the Jordan Bell, which is presented to the highest scoring team in the regatta without a top five result in an individual race. The popular team of Julian and Claire Sowry and John Greenwood sailing Scimitar received rousing cheers from their fellow Dragon sailors as they came to the stage to collect this trophy. Another very popular presentation was the “most sociable crew of the regatta” award, which went to Simon and Mark Brien and David Gomes of Kin whose dedication to the social cause was second to none. Having soaked the crowed with the presentation bottle of champagne Simon and his crew helped Martin and his team start their celebrations by filling the Edinburgh Cup and toasting them.
Simon Brien was awarded the Edinburgh Cup Corinthian Trophy with Richard Goodbody sailing Diva with Rick and Rob Johnson in second, Nigel Biggs sailing Puca with Franz Rothschild and Pete Evans third, Patrick Gifford with Harry Pynn and Edward Streeter in Nereid fourth and Julian Sowry fifth. The Corinthian teams are the lifeblood of the Dragon Class and it has been terrific to have such a strong fleet of Corinthians racing this week and to see so many of those Corinthian teams seriously challenging the professional crews. It’s also been great to see the camaraderie and friendly rivalry amongst those who weren’t making it to the front of the fleet, but were none the less enjoying great racing and truly getting into the spirit of the Edinburgh Cup.
|L-R Adam Winlemann, Martin Byrne, Pedro Andrade, Laura Schenken (Aberdeen Asset Management)|
Special thanks must go to the members and staff of the South Cearnarvonshire Yacht Club, to our sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management, GJW Direct and Gwynedd Council and to all the Dragon sailors who travelled to Abersoch from across the world to take part in the event. And finally the British Dragon Association would like to thank the Abersoch Dragon Fleet as a whole and Fleet Captain Rob Riddell and his wife Chrissie in particular for the incredible effort they have made to rebuild the Dragon fleet in Abersoch and for giving the fleet a most welcome opportunity to return to Abersoch for an Edinburgh Cup.
In 2012 the Dragon Northern Area Championship and Edinburgh Cup will be held in Cultra in Northern Ireland from 1-7 July. Still to come in the British Dragon programme this season are the South Coast Championship in Cowes from 23-25 July, Cowes Classic Keelboat Regatta incorporating the British Classic Dragon Championship from 26-29 July, Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week incorporating special events celebrating the 90th birthday of His Royal Highness The Duke Of Edinburgh whose Dragon Bluebottle will be on display on the Aberdeen Asset Management hospitality stand at Cowes Yacht Haven, Aldeburgh Week from 19-21 August and Burnham Week from 27 August to 3 September. More information about all these events is available from www.britishdragons.org.
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 at www.edinburghcup.org and via the IDA Blog and the BDA Facebook page.
For further information about the British Dragon Association please visit www.britishdragons.org or contact BDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on e-mail 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-mail Jill.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk