The International Dragon fleet is assembling in Weymouth for the 2013 South Coast Championship and Edinburgh Cup, supported by Aberdeen Asset Management, which get underway this weekend at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA). In recent years the UK Dragon fleet has gone from strength to strength and this year’s entry of 39 teams for the Edinburgh Cup and 37 for the South Coasts is one of the highest in many decades. Registration starts on Saturday 22 June with the South Coast Championship being raced on Sunday 23 and Monday 24 June, followed by the Edinburgh Cup from Tuesday 25 to Friday 28 June.
Always the highlight of the British Dragon sailing calendar, this year’s Edinburgh Cup has the added excitement of being a warm up event for the 2013 Gazprom International Dragon World Championship, which will also be hosted by WPNSA from 5 to 13 September. Amongst the World Championship systems being trialed at this event is live race tracking which will be available for the Edinburgh Cup races from Tuesday to Friday. Thanks to TackTracker’s sophisticated system you will be able to watch the racing unfold live as well as take advantage of the post race analysis system to see exactly where your favourite teams made their gains and losses.
The Dragons are renowned for the high quality of their competition and these events are no exception. The big names vying for the titles include double Olympic Gold Medalist Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, whose many victories in the Dragon Class include no less than five Edinburgh Cup wins; Olympic Silver Medalist and reigning Dragon World Champion Lawrie Smith, sailing with Ossie Stuart and Tim Tavinor; and reigning Dragon European Champion Jose Matoso of Portugal, crewed by Gustavo Lima and Frederico Melo who both represented Portugal in the 2012 Olympics also sailed on Weymouth Bay.
Germany’s Marcus Brennecke, who has top German Star sailors Marc Pickel and Thomas Auracher on his crew and David Howlett as his coach, clearly see’s the Edinburgh Cup as an excellent stepping stone to a podium finish at the Worlds and will be a team to watch out for. Also racing next week with an eye firmly on the Worlds are Australian’s Marcus Blackmore, who is crewed by Aussie sailing legends Terry Wetton and Don Cowie; and Sandy Anderson who made history in 2006 by becoming the first woman to win the Dragon Prince Philip Cup in Australia and would clearly like to be the first woman to win the Edinburgh Cup too. No doubt Julia Bailey, sailing with Graham Bailey, Will Heritage and Keith Tippell, and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, sailing with Jean Sebastien Ponce and Vicente Pinheiro De Melo, will be keen to give Sandy a good run for her money in the challenge to become the first lady winner.
The field for the Corinthian, all amateur, division of the competition is also exceptionally strong this year and is led by reigning Edinburgh Cup Overall and Corinthian Champion Simon Brien and his crew of Mark Brien and David Gomes from Northern Ireland. Other strong Corinthian contenders are Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, Owen Pay, sailing with Jon Mortimer and Josy Roberts-Pay; Mark Wade, sailing with Mandy Wade and Simon Cash; Patrick Gifford, sailing Harry Pynn and Andrew Pritchard-Barrett; and Japan’s Bocci Aoyama, sailing with Tetsuya Sasaki and Norio Igei. One of the great strengths of the Dragon Class is the quality and camaraderie of its Corinthian crews who are more than capable of giving the professional teams something to think about and we can definitely expect some thrilling racing as the week progresses.
You can keep up with all the news from the events via the 2013 Dragon Edinburgh Cup Website, at the British Dragon Association Facebook page and through the Edinburgh Cup Live Tracking. For further information about the event please contact