Practice Race of the Dragon Gold Cup.

AZThe Fleet finally get away after several General Recalls….  in sunny Hornbaek, Denmark.

With a start line of 1km, yes 1 kilometre, it is always going to be difficult to start a fleet of nearly 80 boats. Add to the equation that it’s only a “practice” race, an oscillating wind of between 290 to 280 degrees and you have a Race Officers nightmare :-)

However, our very experienced IOR Christian Lerche, took the opportunity of setting up the required 2.4 mile first beat and tried a number of starts under a “P” flag, “U” flag then eventually the “Black” flag. In the end he decided to let the fleet continue up the course despite “half” of the boats seen over the line. This at least gave the competitors a chance to get used to the sea conditions and prepare themselves for the “real” challenge that begins today.

AZZA start that was recalled, the boats at the Pin were fine, but no sign of the committee boat!

At the end of the first beat it was our current European Champion RUS 27 “Annapurna” helmed by Anatoly Loginov, crewed by Vadim Statsenko & Alexander Shalagin who rounded first. Many of the other usual suspects were in hot pursuit including last years Gold Cup winner, Lawrie Smith, who is not going to relinquish this wonder trophy without a fight :-)

AZZZ

Here we see RUS27 Anatoly & team leading the first downwind leg, with Lawrie GBR 801 close behind.

In the end the wind died away and the teams made their way back to the Marina to enjoy the Champagne & joyful “Opening Ceremony” knowing that they are all ready to begin the main challenge over the next 6 days.

My thanks again to top Professional “Ricardo Pinto” for these excellent on the water photo’s…..  Many more reports and action to come.

Higher, Faster, Longer……..        Stavros. 

 

 

 

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Hornbaek is “Ready” for the Gold Cup…

G4253The magnificent Dragon Gold Cup takes place in Hornbaek, Denmark over the next 7 days as 80 teams from 15 different Nations take to the beautiful waterway that leads to Sweden.

Based at the north-facing Hornbaek Marina famed for it’s sandy beaches and ideal sailing conditions this area is often dubbed as Scandinavia’s Riviera…

Hornbaek Boat Club, the Royal Danish Yacht Club and Hellerup Sailing Club have the “joint” pleasure of hosting this amazing event which will run until the 2nd Sept. One successful team will lift this coveted Gold Cup Trophy which was first presented in 1937 by the Members of the Clyde Yacht Clubs’ Conference, with the intention of bringing together as many competitors of different nationalities as possible for yacht racing in a friendly spirit. There is no doubt that those “Members” who initiated this Championship all those years ago would be extremely proud to see 80 boats here this week!

This Championship will see a “Practice Race” today (Saturday) which allows competitors to familiarise themselves with the local conditions, whilst coping within an 80 boat fleet. It also gives the “organising committee” the chance to set a course that meets the requirements of the Gold Cup Rules and give Principle Race Officer Christian Lerche, the opportunity to finalise his thoughts and preparation for the main races to come. With 6 races, 1 per day, over the 6 days and no discard, it will certainly keep all of the competitors focused as no one can afford an early start or a racing disqualification…..

The event “main” sponsor is Ilse Jacobsen Hornbaek, who has designed a limited edition Dragon Gold Cup Collection. Ilse has also provided a superb Marque which will be the focal point for the daily briefings and weather reports, then serve as the “apres sail” centre plus host the Gala Dinner on Tuesday evening.

For my daily updates including many colourful photo’s throughout the week keep checking the IDA website and Facebook pages for all the latest action and results…

 

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

 

 

 

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2016 Corinthian Cup Winners in Cowes.

GB2The multi talented “Aimee” crew of Dillan, Libby, Julia, Cags & Graham Bailey in Cowes.

The 3rd Corinthian Cup was concluded in Cowes on Friday in glorious sunshine and a building south-westerly breeze. This year it was the Husband and Wife team of Graham & Julia Bailey sailing their newly acquired “Aimee” who took the title. Sailing with a variety of crew throughout the week, Graham convincingly took the championship winning 4 out of the 5 races.

GB1King of Cowes Graham Bailey, is the 2016 Corinthian Champion, helming GBR 782.

In 2nd place overall was GBR 763 “Bertie” helmed by Simon Barter, crewed by his Son James & Donald Wilks. Simon and his team had a really good understanding of the tides and wind patterns that are “unique” to the Solent waters.

GB4Runners Up GBR 763 “Bertie”, Donald, Simon & James at Prize Giving with Francesca Morgan.

In 3rd place overall, was GBR 704 “Ganador” helmed by Martin Makey from Burnham-on-Crouch, crewed by the BDA Chairman Tim Wilkes and his wife Teresa. This team won the 2nd race of the competition in style when they made full use of the strong flood tide to open up a commanding lead.

GB33rd Overall & race 2 winners, Tim & Teresa Wilkes with helm Martin Makey on “Ganador”.

This was a very well organised event hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club, as part of Cowes Week. The conditions were excellent and all the Corinthian Teams enjoyed the variety of skilfully set courses that used the full spectrum of the middle Solent.

In closing Solent Fleet Captain, Oliver Morgan, thanked the R.L.Y.C. for their organisation of this “important” Dragon event and hopes that the Corinthian Cup will continue on in 2017. The 2015 Cup was held in France followed by the 2016 Cup in Germany, which country will now take up the “baton” and host it next year ?

Higher, Faster, Longer…..    Stavros.

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Lawrie Smith Is 2016 Dragon Edinburgh Cup Champion

P1030392 (1)The Dragon Edinburgh Cup 2016 Supported by Gwynedd Council ‘Wales 2016 Year of Adventure – Snowdonia Mountains & Coast’ came to a spectacular conclusion off Abersoch as the 35 strong fleet enjoyed one finalrace in glorious sunshine, big waves and a brisk west-south-westerly of 18-22 knots. Going into the day the only way that second placed Grant Gordon, Kasper Harsberg and Ruihrihd Scott sailing GBR780 Louise could overtake leader Lawrie Smith sailing GBR801 Alfie with Joost Houweling and Adam Bowers was to finish first and hope that Smith finished seventh or worse. Meanwhile Mike Budd, Jeremy Entwistle and Mark Greeves in GBR793 Harry needed to win the race and have Gordon finish seventh or worse to enable them to move up into second.

Smith, Houweling and Bowers are three of the most skilled and experienced sailors you could hope to see in a Dragon and if you ever wanted a lesson in how to win a championship this was the day to be spectating. As soon as Race Officer Malcolm Blackburn had the fleet under starters orders is was clear that Smith had no intention of letting his rival out of his sights.  “We knew what we had to do and that’s what we focused on. Starting in the right place or going the right way up the first beat weren’t important, just that we kept Grant under control.” Explained Joost Houweling after racing.  And keep him under control they did with masterful poise through the prestart and up the first beat.  At the first mark Neil Hegarty sailing IRL176 Phantom with David Williams and Peter Bowring led Mike Budd off down the run, whilst Smith and Gordon were buried well down into the pack.

Dragon Edinburgh Cup Champion 2016 Lawrie Smith – (c) www.greenseaphotography.co.uk

Smith kept Gordon right where he wanted him on the first run and having ensured he had neutralised the threat Smith let loose and began to make places up through the fleet, leaving Gordon trailing in his wake. It’s a sheer joy to watch a great sailors put Dragons through their paces upwind and as the breeze built on the final leg the spectators got to enjoy some textbook big wave sailing. Smith continued to pick off boats all the way up the leg, while Budd, conscious that Gordon was well down the fleet, put all his energies into getting past Hegarty to win the race. On the line Hegarty just managed to hold off Budd for line honours, James Peters, David Cummings and James Dawson aboard GBR662 Yeah Baby took third and Smith snuck in for fourth, a gnat’s whisker ahead of Mark Dicker, Selina Dicker and James Campbell in GBR610 Rackham and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, Mark Hart and Tim Tavinor in GBR761 Jerboa.

With the final points calculated Lawrie Smith, Joost Houweling and Adam Bowers were declared the Edinburgh Cup 2016 Champions by an eight-point margin – the second time that Lawrie has won this historic trophy. The fight for second went to countback with Gordon and Budd counting 17 points apiece and Gordon just pipping Budd for the second step on the podium.

Dragon Edinburgh Cup Corinthian Champion 2016 Mike Budd
(c) www.greenseaphotography.co.uk

Whilst Mike Budd, Jeremy Entwistle and Mark Greeves were disappointed not to have taken second overall, they were none the less delighted to have won the Corinthian Dragon Edinburgh Cup Trophy by five points from Mark Dicker. Third place in the Corinthians came down to another tie breaker with Neil Hegarty and Rob Campbell both on 16 points, a single point behind Dicker, and Hegarty taking third on countback.

Dragon Edinburgh Cup Vintage Champion 2016 Mark Dicker
(c) www.greenseaphotography.co.uk

As well as second Corinthian, Mark Dicker, sister Selina Dicker and cousin James Campbell also won the Vintage Division Trophy for boats built at least 20 years ago. The Dragons have always had a reputation for outstanding build quality and this can be clearly seen in the number of older boats that have performed well this week. Second place in the Vintage Division went to GBR746 Beauty & The Beast, helmed by Peter Marchant with Katie Cole and Andy Biddle, while GBR655 Phormerly Phantom helmed by Chris Thomas and crewed by Selina Thomas and George Bird-Jones came third.

Despite the occasional lack of sunshine, the Dragons have enjoyed both outstanding racing and truly exceptional hospitality this week in Abersoch. Special thanks must go to Race Officer Malcolm Blackburn and his team who did an excellent job of completing all six championship races in what were often very tricky conditions. The Abersoch Dragon Fleet and the team at South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club have pulled out all the stops to make the fleet welcome and to organise an outstanding championship. At the Prize Giving Gala Dinner British Dragon Association Chairman Tim Wilkes paid tribute to the dozens of volunteers who have given up so much of their time to make this event possible and particularly thanked Abersoch Dragon Fleet Captain Rob Riddell for his work not only on this regatta, but in creating a 21 strong club fleet at Abersoch from scratch in less than 10 years. He also thanked the club’s administrative and hospitality staff for keeping the fleet organised, fed and watered in incomparable style.

Martin Payne interviews Edinburgh Cup Winners Mark Dicker (Vintage), Lawrie Smith (Overall) and Mike Budd (Corinthian)
Martin Payne interviews Edinburgh Cup Winners Mark Dicker (Vintage), Lawrie Smith (Overall) and Mike Budd (Corinthian)

In his Edinburgh Cup acceptance speech Lawrie Smith, a man not normally known for his verbosity at prize givings, not only thanked the organisers, but confirmed that the support and assistance extended to the competitors at this event and the standard of race management he had seen during the week were some of the best he has ever seen and that he would be delighted to compete in any regatta organised by the club.  He also thanked his crew and his fellow competitors, particularly Grant Gordon and the Louise team, for the outstanding racing.

The 2017 Dragon Edinburgh Cup will be raced from Cowes and will run concurrently with Panerai British Classic Week from 8 to 15 July 2017. Further information about the event will be available shortly at www.edinburghcup.org.

Further information, news, results and photographs from the Edinburgh Cup 2016 are available from www.edinburghcup.org and via the British Dragon Association Facebook Page or by contacting BDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on fiona.brown@fionabrown.com, +44 (0)7711 718470 or Skype fpbrown.

Additional and high resolution images are available on request from Andy Green – www.greenseaphotography.co.uk

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Wet & Wild On Day Three of Edinburgh Cup In Abersoch

IMG_9202Conditions were wet and wild on the third day of the 2016 Dragon Edinburgh Cup, supported by Gwynedd Council and the ‘Wales 2016 Year of Adventure – Snowdonia Mountains & Coast’, at the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club in Abersoch.  The forecast predicted rain, poor visibility and plenty of wind and that’s exactly what the fleet got.

The 18-20 knot south-westerly kicked up quite a swell against the ebbing tide, creating an upwind dilemma for the tacticians who had to decide between sailing in the relatively flat water on the right hand side of the course or heading left out into the faster current but much bigger seas. Another dilemma for everyone was finding the marks as the visibility was so poor that at times you couldn’t even see the rest of the fleet, never mind either end of the course.

Revelling in the conditions was Neil Hegarty sailing IRL176 Phantom with Peter Bowring and David Williams. After a rather slow start to their regatta this very experienced trio found their form today and despite constant pressure from the chasing fleet sailed a superb race. Asked what gave them the jump Neil said;  “We won the pin. We thought that the tide was ebbing so going out left would be best, plus we had some space down there and clear wind.”

It was an extremely close race and following Hegarty across the line for second was overnight leader Lawrie Smith, sailing GBR801 Alfie with Joost Houweling and Adam Bowers. Mike Budd, Jez Entwistle and Mark Greeves sailing GBR793 Harry took third with Grant Gordon, Ruairidh Scott and Kasper Harsberg in GBR8780 Louise fourth and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, Mark Hart and Tim Tavinor in GBR761 Jerboa fifth.

In the overall standings Smith now leads by three points from Gordon but his lead is not unassailable and if Gordon wins tomorrow’s race Smith must finish sixth or above to claim overall victory. Budd goes into the final day in third place, 8 points off the leader, putting victory out of reach but leaving the door open for move up to second. Martin Byrne, sailing IRL 201 Jaguar with Adam Winklemann and Donal Small, is also still in with a chance of a place on the podium so it’s going to be an exciting finale tomorrow.

The Corinthian Division for all amateur crews will also be decided on the final race with Mike Budd currently leading the fleet by two points from Rob Campbell, sailing GBR788 Quicksilver VI with Paul Fletcher and Luke Malissa. Mark Dicker sailing GBR610 Rackham with Selina Dicker and James Campbell is one further point back in third, while today’s race win puts Neil Hegarty firmly in contention for a Corinthian podium finish too.

Mark Dicker and Rackham are also leading the Vintage Class for boats more than 20 years old.  He has a four-point lead over second placed Peter Marchant who is sailing GBR746 Beauty & The Beast with partner Katie Cole and Andy Biddle, while third in the Vintage class is GBR655 Phormerly Phanton sailed by Chris and Selina Thomas and George Bind-Jones.

Dragon Edinburgh Cup 2016 - Day 3 - Martin Payne Interviews Simon Barter and Race Winner Neil Hegarty
Dragon Edinburgh Cup 2016 – Day 3 – Martin Payne Interviews Simon Barter and Race Winner Neil Hegarty

The regatta concludes tomorrow, Friday 5 June, with a final championship race starting at 11.00. There is a last start cut off time of 12.00, but with the weather forecast promising 15 to 20 knots from the west-south-west the race committee should have no problem getting them underway in time.

It’s A Family Affair

Close observers may have spotted that the results are littered with crews who share a common surname. The Dragon is a boat that gets into your blood and entire families and multiple generations find themselves infected with Dragonitis.

A classic example of genetic Dragonitis among those racing this week is the Rackham team. Helm Mark Dicker and his sister Selina are third generation Dragon sailors and their crew James Campbell is not only their cousin, but is also a second generation Dragon sailor himself. Team Rackham also dispel the myth that you have to be an old man to race Dragons as all of them are very much still in the first flush of youth.  Indeed, Mark has even brought his foiling International Moth to Abersoch and is to be found buzzing back and forth in front of the club after racing each day.

Husband and wife teams are also very common in the fleet and this week’s top performing couple is currently Oliver and Francesca Morgan, who are racing GBR791 Christianna with North Sail’s Nigel Young.  Francesca’s week got off to a slightly sticky start when she slipped overboard in big waves at the weather mark on the final day of the Northern Championship warm up event. Fortunately, husband Oliver saw her go and managed to grab hold of her before she became separated from the boat. “Unfortunately the bit he got hold of was my foot and I found myself being dragged along with my head underwater, increasingly concerned that I might drown!” laughed Francesca. Luckily she is made of strong stuff and she managed to haul herself up on the spinnaker sheet allowing Oliver to let go of her leg and drag her back aboard.  Undeterred she has been back out there this week and they go into the final day in ninth place.

British Dragon Association Marks 60th Anniversary With A Party And A Special Presentation

2016 is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the British Dragon Association and to mark the occasion the Abersoch Dragon Fleet invited the Edinburgh Cup competitors to join them for a spectacular Cocktails and Canapes Party on Wednesday evening. The party featured copious quantities of Taittinger Champagne and delicious canapes which had been home made by the members of the Abersoch fleet and South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club. Naturally what goes on tour stays on tour, but suffice it to say that a good time was had by all.

Current British Dragon Association Chairman Tim Wilkes took the opportunity to make a very special presentation. The BDA is a volunteer organisation run for the members by the members and many people give up their time to support and manage the class and its events, but few people have made such a long and dedicated contribution to the BDA as the recipient of Tim’s special award.

For twenty years, exactly one third of the time that the BDA has been in existence, Owen Pay has been an officer of the class. In that time, he has filled many roles including Class Secretary, Class Chairman and Solent Fleet Captain. His enthusiasm is infectious and he has been a major player in ensuring the ongoing success of the Dragon in Great Britain.  He has organised many of the fleet’s major championships, represented British interests to the International Dragon Association, encouraged new members to join the fleet and buy boats, helped to spread the word of Dragon sailing far and wide, and hosted many a fantastic Dragon party!

In making the presentation to Owen, Tim explained that he could not do so without also paying tribute to the woman who has been Owen’s administrator, general factotum, sounding board, frequent crew and all round support network for almost all of that 20 years – his lovely wife Josey who sadly cannot be here this week. Owen and Josey are a formidable team (and formidably good fun) and the BDA owes them a huge debt of gratitude. On behalf of the BDA and its members Tim presented Owen with a beautifully framed black and white photograph of K1 – the very first Dragon owned in Britain – sailing on the River Crouch in the early days of the class.

Further information, news, results and photographs from the event are available from www.edinburghcup.org and via the British Dragon Association Facebook Page or by contacting BDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on fiona.brown@fionabrown.com, +44 (0)7711 718470 or Skype fpbrown.

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Place Changes Galore On Day 2 Of Edinburgh Cup In Abersoch

IMG_8940Day two of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup 2016 supported by Gwynedd Council and the ‘Wales 2016 Year of Adventure – Snowdonia Mountains & Coast’ might have been grey and chilly, but nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the 35 strong International Dragon fleet as they fought it out in two further Dragon British Open Championship races, races three and four of the series.

The forecast had promised a south-westerly building from the low teens up towards 20 knots, but what actually materialised was a gradually decreasing breeze which kicked off the day at around 16-18 knots and ended up at barely 10 knots. Once again it was extremely shifty with constant changes in velocity giving the tacticians and trimmers plenty to think about.  The tide also played a greater role today, both in terms of the starts where boats were being pushed over the line and tactically as the tide made the runs somewhat one sided.

With four of the six scheduled races now completed the overall standings are shaping up, however, the single discard won’t come into force until race five has been sailed so there is still all to play for between now and Friday’s last race.

Overnight leader Lawrie Smith sailing GBR801 Alfie with Joost Houweling and Adam Bowers added another win and a fourth to their scorecard and now leads the regatta by four points from Grant Gordon sailing GBR780 Louise with Kasper Harsberg and Ruairidh Scott, who finished third and second in today’s races to move up from third. The points separation may be deceptive though as Gordon’s worst score is a seventh while Smith’s is a fourth.

Local hero Mike Budd, sailing GBR793 Harry with Jeremy Entwistle and Mark Greeves, made full use of his local knowledge to sail himself up the fleet from yesterday’s eighth overall into third and leading Corinthian, thanks to a fifth in race three and an impressive win in race four putting him on 22 points total.

Martin Byrne sailing IRL201 Jaguar with Adam Winkelmann and Donal Small went into the day in second, but had something of a shocker in race three, finish twelfth after a disappointing start.  He came back again in race four and held second until the top of the second beat when he approached on port and attempted to tack into the mark in front of Gordon. It was a marginal call and with Gordon’s crew loudly hailing their objections Byrne decided to take his turns and not risk a protest. He went on to finish the race in fifth which puts him level pegging with Budd on 22 points, although Budd has the slightly better discard of a 10th versus Byrne’s 12th.

Overnight Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, sailing GBR761 Jerboa with Mark Hart and Tim Tavinor, had held fourth place just ahead of Rob Campbell sailing GBR788 Quicksilver VI with Luke Mallisa and Paul Fletcher, who also led the all amateur Corinthian Division. Sadly, both crews found themselves disqualified under the black flag in race three which took the race committee three attempts to start thanks to the tide pushing the fleet over the line. In total some half dozen boats had to sit out the race and watch their championship hopes fade. Campbell went on to finish seventh in race four and Wilkinson-Cox twelfth, which drops them down to eleventh and thirteenth respectively in the overall ranking.

Oliver Morgan sailing GBR791 Christianna with his wife Francesca and Nigel Young rounds out tonight’s top five having moved up to the leader board from seventh, largely thanks to a third place in race four having crossed the line in fourteenth in race three, their worst result of the series.

Chasing Mike Budd for the Corinthian Edinburgh Cup title is Mark Dicker sailing GBR610 Rackham with sister Selina Dicker and James Campbell, who also leads the Classic Division for Dragons built 20 or more years ago. A seventh and sixth in today’s races also put Dicker into sixth place overall, just a single point behind Morgan. Tonight’s Corinthian top five is completed by Rob Campbell in third, Simon and James Barter and Donald Wilkes sailing GBR763 Bertie in fourth and Rob Riddell, Simon Cash and Georgina Dewar sailing GBR622 Merlin in fifth.

The regatta continues until Friday with two further championship races still to be sailed. Tomorrow the schedule calls for a single championship race, plus the legendary Dragon Edinburgh Cup Crews’ Race in which the competition is at least as fierce as the main regatta. The forecast indicates the fleet can expect rain and strong south-westerlies of 18 to 28 knots so we can only hope that it proves to be as inaccurate as today’s was!

Martin Payne Interviews Lawrie Smith And Grant Gordon
Martin Payne Interviews Lawrie Smith & Grant Gordon

This evening the crews are enjoying a delightful Champagne and Canapes Party hosted by the Abersoch Dragon Fleet. The evening will feature not only lots of lovely bubbly and fabulous canapes, hand made by the members of South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club, but also some fun fundraising activities in support of Parkinson’s Disease research, a cause very close to the fleet’s heart as member Neil Lamont is currently fighting the disease.

Further information, news, results and photographs from the event are available from www.edinburghcup.org and via the British Dragon Association Facebook Page or by contacting BDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on fiona.brown@fionabrown.com, +44 (0)7711 718470 or Skype fpbrown.

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Dragon Edinburgh Cup Gets Off To Spectacular Start In Abersoch

1D4_3161The 2016 Dragon Edinburgh Cup, supported by Gwynedd Council and the ‘Wales 2016 Year of Adventure – Snowdonia Mountains & Coast’, got off to a fantastic start in Abersoch with two races in a 12-18 knot northerly wind and plenty of sunshine. The South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club’s race committee did an excellent job with the courses in the shifty offshore breeze and the 35 strong fleet made the most of the opportunity for some great racing.

Fresh from his victory at the Dragon Northern Championship Lawrie Smith, sailing GBR801 Alfie with Joost Houweling and Adam Bowers, took off from the first start like a scalded cat and led the fleet comfortably at the weather mark. Behind him Gavia Wilkinson-Cox sailing GBR761 with Tim Tavinor and Mark Hart, and Martin Byrne sailing IRL201 Jaguar with Donal Small and Adam Winkelmann, were in hot pursuit with the rest of the pack hard on their heels.  Smith looked to have the race under control until the second two mile beat when Wilkinson-Cox made good use of the shifts to pull right back onto his transom.
Byrne meanwhile was sailing a conservative and very smart race to hold the pack at bay whilst at the same time staying in close touch with the leaders. As the boats approached the bottom of the final run Smith and Wilkinson-Cox were neck and neck, but Smith had the inside track as they made the final turn into the hook finish. Wilkinson-Cox gave it her all and pushed to weather on the final short close reach gaining ground all the way, but Smith had no intention of letting her through and claimed first blood in what promises to be a fantastic edition of this classic event.  Wilkinson-Cox was followed in by Byrne with Rob Campbell sailing Quicksilver VI with Luke Malissa and Paul Fletcher finishing fourth and leading the Corinthian fleet home.

The wind had dropped a little to 12-14 knots, but was even more shifty for race two so the committee shortened the leg length down to 1.5 miles. This time it was Grant Gordon, sailing GBR780 with Kasper Harsberg and Ruairidh Scott, who popped out at the front of the fleet with Mark Dicker, Selina Dicker and James Campbell in GBR610 Rackham, Rob Campbell’s Quicksilver and Oliver Morgan’s GBR791 Christianna crewed by Francesca Morgan and Nigel Young close behind them at the first mark. Behind them Byrne, Smith and Wilkinson-Cox found themselves down in the pack and fighting for clear air.

Byrne began to take places on the first run, but Smith and Wilkinson-Cox were struggling to find lanes out of the melee.  The race committee opted to run a six leg course with a third full beat to the finish and by the start of that last beat Byrne was up into second behind Gordon, but Smith and Wilkinson-Cox were still back in eighth and tenth respectively. It’s a fool who counts Lawrie Smith out of a boat race until the fat lady has sung though and he sailed a blinder to leap up into third place. Clare Hogan sailing IRL206 Cloud with Mark Pettit and Brian Matthews took fourth with Paddy Atkinson, Tim Harper and Martin Farnworth sailing Neil Lamont’s GBR636 Seafire in fifth.

With two of the six scheduled races completed Lawrie Smith’s first and third put him into a single point lead over Martin Byrne with Grant Gordon three further points back in third place.  Gavia Wilkinson-Cox finished race two in ninth and lies in fourth place, one point ahead of Rob Campbell who leads the Corinthian Division as well as lying fifth overall, and two points ahead of Paddy Atkinson. The top ten is rounded out by Oliver Morgan seventh, Mike Budd eighth, Mark Dicker ninth and Clare Hogan tenth.

Paddy Atkinson and Seafire’s performance is particularly rewarding for owner Neil Lamont who is not able to race this week. Neil suffers from Parkinson’s Disease which currently prevents him from sailing and so he is using the event to promote awareness of and raise funds for Parkinson’s research.  Neil has donated a stunning Charles Bell original watercolour of Dragons sailing in Abersoch Bay which will be auctioned at the Edinburgh Cup Prize Giving Dinner on Friday, and at Wednesday evening’s Champagne and Canapes Party there will be a raffle for a Nebuchadnezzar of Tattinger Champagne with all proceeds going to Parkinson’s Disease research.

Edinburgh Cup 2016 Day 1 Interviews

Racing continues until Friday 8 July with a total of six races scheduled and a single discard coming into play after the fourth race is completely. Two races are planned for tomorrow when the wind is expected to swing into the south-west and to build from around 12 knots at the start of the first race to the mid-teens with gusts up into the low twenties by late afternoon.

Further information, news, results and photographs from the event are available from www.edinburghcup.org and via the British Dragon Association Facebook Page or by contacting BDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on fiona.brown@fionabrown.com, +44 (0)7711 718470 or Skype fpbrown.

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Lawrie Smith Wins Dragon UK Northern Championship 2016


Thirty-two teams from across the UK and Ireland enjoyed two days of hard fought racing from the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club in Abersoch to decide the winner of the 2016 Dragon UK Northern Area Championship on 3 and 4 July.  Despite a slight delay to allow the wind to settle on day one, the race committee was able to complete all six of the scheduled windward leeward races and the fleet enjoyed a true mix of conditions with day one offering champagne sailing conditions in warm sunshine and an 8-10 knot southerly, while day two brought leaden skies, plenty of rain and winds gusting up towards 25 knots.

With the event also acting as a warm up for the Dragon Edinburgh Cup supported by Gwynedd Council through the ‘2016 Wales Year of Adventure – Snowdonia Mountain & Coast’ (for the Dragon British Open Championship), which runs from 5 to 8 July, the quality of the fleet was exceptionally high and ultimately racing was so close that the championship could only be decided on count-back.

Going into the final race Grant Gordon, sailing GBR780 Louise with Kasper Harsberg and Ruairidh Scott, held a two-point lead over Lawrie Smith in GBR801 Alfie with Joost Houweling and Adam Bowers. Although Smith led the race from the first mark, Gordon was right on his tail all the way round the course.  On the line it was Smith first home but behind him Gordon came to the line neck and neck with Simon Barter, sailing GBR763 Bertie with James Barter and Donald Wilkes. In the closing moments Barter just managed to get his nose in front of Gordon’s forcing him down into third place and giving Smith overall victory.

Third overall went to Mark Dicker, sailing GBR610 Rackham with sister Selina Dicker and James Campbell. Dicker had shone in the relative light airs of the opening day and led the regatta overnight, but day two’s strong winds saw him struggle a little so he had to be content with third overall.  Fourth place was filled by Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, helming GBR761 Jerboa with Mark Hart and Tim Tavinor.

Simon Barter’s second place in the final race pushed him up into sixth in the overall standings and also ensured he won the right to have his name engraved on the Norther Championship Corinthian Trophy for all amateur crews.

At the Northern Championship Prize Giving Dinner Lawrie Smith was fulsome in his praise for the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club’s race management team and for his fellow competitors. He also looked forward to the Edinburgh Cup supported by Gwynedd Council’s ‘2016 Wales Year of Adventure – Snowdonia Mountain & Coast’, which gets underway on Tuesday 5 July and runs until Friday 8 July, and which will see the fleet grow to 35 boats for what promises to be another excellent championship.  Fortunately, the sun is forecast to return for the start of the Edinburgh Cup and the wind is expected to swing to the north west and moderate back to the low to mid-teens so more champagne sailing is on the cards.  A total of six races, plus the traditional Edinburgh Cup Crews Race, are scheduled and the on the water programme will be matched by some outstanding Welsh hospitality apres sailing too.

Further information, news, results and photographs from the event are available from www.edinburghcup.org and via the British Dragon Association Facebook Page or by contacting BDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on fiona.brown@fionabrown.com, +44 (0)7711 718470 or Skype fpbrown.

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Rack ‘em Up in Abersoch.

ABR2GBR 610 “Rackham” Mark Dicker, James Campbell & Selina Dicker lead in Abersoch.

It was a glorious day for sailing in the magnificent bay of Abersoch, North Wales, for the start of the BDA Northern Area Championships sponsored by the “Gwynedd Council” in their support of the 2016 Wales Year of Adventure. With the picturesque mountain range of Snowdonia in the background and a cloudless sky you had the feeling there was no better place in the world to be :-).

ABR6The fleet enjoying a south-westerly breeze of 7 to 10 kts in Abersoch, North Wales.

Three races were completed in quick succession for this extremely keen and quality fleet of 30 boats, which will see more competitors join in the fun on Tuesday for the start of the prestigious Edinburg Cup. Race 1 was won by GBR 801 “Alfie” helmed by the legendary Lawrie Smith, crewed by Joost Houwelling & Adam Bowers. Lawrie and his team settled into form immediately and must be a favourite to regain the Edinburg Cup he last won in 2013. Race 2 was won by GBR 610 “Rackham” helmed by Mark Dicker, crewed by his sister Selina and James Campbell. This young team showed excellent up wind speed and backed up this victory with two 2nd places to lead the event overall….  Many congratulations to the “Rackham” team.

ABR3Winners of Race 2 of the Northern Championships.  GBR 610 “Rackham” crosses the line.

The final race of the day saw another favourite for the Edinburg Cup set the pace, this was GBR 780 “Louise” helmed by Grant Gordon, crewed by Kasper Harsberg & Ruairidh Scott. This experienced team finished top UK boat (12th) at the 2015 World Championships and really built up a comfortable lead by the end of the three up wind & two down wind legs to win the race.

ABR4GBR 780 “Louise” Grant Gordon, Kasper Harsberg & Ruairidh Scott win race 3 yesterday.

Principle organiser Rob Riddell has achieved wonders at this vibrant and superb club situated on the Headland of Abersoch. The South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club now has 21 local Dragons registered all raced by a very enthusiastic group of sailors who really enjoy their sailing. The fun never stops both on and off the water, it truly is a great place to sail & socialise :-)

ABR1Overall results after 3 races.  1st GBR 610.   2nd GBR 780.  3rd GBR 801. 4th GBR 770.

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

 

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Magnificent Last Day in Kuhlungsborn….

111Overall winners GER 1157 “M3″ helmed by Michael Schmidt, with Malte Philipp & Mario Wagner.

It was an unbelievable final day in Kuhlungsborn as the disappointment of Friday’s lack of wind was soon forgotten by the 41 boat fleet. The early fog lifted shortly after midday and as the sun broke through the wind turned to the north. So the flat water and shifting south easterly winds enjoyed by the sailors on Thursday were replaced by short deep waves providing excellent surfing opportunities down wind whilst testing helms and crews upwind.

Race 4 of the series started under a “U” flag and three boats were identified as early starters. However, boats starting down the pin end of the line had a small advantage and UAE 9, GER 11 and UAE 8 all sailed extremely well to be the main contenders at the top of the first 1.7 mile upwind leg. In order to get two races completed it had been agreed to finish the race on the 2nd downwind leg and it was UAE 8 who eventually passed GER 11 & UAE 9 to take the victory.

1122Winners of Race 4, UAE 8  Yevgeni Braslavets, Sergey Timokhov & Oleksandr Myrchuk.

With the overall result wide open the final race started at 2.10pm as the wind increased to 17 – 20 kts making a fantastic finale to this competitive Grade 1 event. This time the race was dominated by GER 11 helmed by Marcus Brenneke who had “Olympian” Jochen Schumann & North Sails Theis Palm on board to help him power through the waves and extend their lead.

1133Winners of Race 5, GER 11 Marcus Brenneke, Jochen Schumann & Theis Palm.

However, it was GER 1157 helmed by Michael Schmidt who battled hard to stay in touch with GER 11 to finish 2nd and take the overall Championship by the smallest of margins. The victorious “M3″ team finished on equal points with UAE 8, so on “count back” both had a 1st and a 2nd, so the tie was decided on GER 1157 having a 4th, whilst UAE 8 had a 5th. How close can it be ? Quite amazing. So many congratulations to Michael Schmidt, Malte Philipp and Mario Wagner.

The Corinthian winners with a very strong performance was DEN 411 “African Queen” helmed by Jorgen Schonherr who actually finished a very creditable 5th in the overall standings.

11cc

Corinthian Winners DEN 411 Jorgen Schonherr, Thomas Schmidt & Christian Videbaek.

This superb Grade 1 event  was well organised by the Segelclub Kuhlungsborn e.v. It had excellent race management orchestrated by IRO Christian Haake,  fantastic “apres” sail parties, a wonderful marina and 5 top quality races despite losing two days to lack of wind…

Final Results.    1st GER 1157  15pts.    2nd  UAE 8  15pts.   3rd GER 11  17pts.  4th RUS 27  17pts      5th DEN 411  19pts     6th UAE 7   22pts

Many thanks once again for all these amazing photo’s from Ricardo Pinto.

Higher, Faster, Longer……….      Stavros.   (on board the Committee Boat).

 

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