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Martin Byrne's Jaguar Sailing Team were fifth in the final race of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup in Cowes today. Together with a first place scored yesterday this lifted the sole Irish entry to fifth place overall.

'Given that our target was a podium finish we are somewhat disappointed with this overall result', Byrne told Afloat.ie

However, Byrne, sailing wih son Conor and pro sailor Pedro Andrades recognise this year's Edinburgh Cup was the toughest of the four he has competed in to date and, he says, the strength of the international opposition was easily the toughest challenge he has faced.

By his own admission, Byrne says the 'vagaries of sailing in the Solent was our undoing on day two when we had two poor results. Also a technical problem with a brand new mainsail on day one, didn't help our cause either.'

Nevertheless, Byrne finished strongly with a first & fifth in the final races. And together with this, his win in the pre-event British South Coast Championships, made for what he is calling a 'reasonably successful week'.

conor byrne Pedro andradesConor Byrne and Pedro Andrades aboard Irish Dragon Jaguar in Cowes

Byrne paid tribute to his crew. Conor and Pedro's fitness and strength, together with their team work and tactical awareness, brought us back up towards the front of the fleet at the finish. He also paid tribute to his wife Triona who made logistics and life ashore much easier for the team.

Published in Dragon

The penultimate day of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup 2017, produced one truly extraordinary race which shook the leader board up and leaves four boats in close contention going into the final race. Ireland's Martin Byrne from the Royal St. George Yacht Club of Dun Laoghaire has moved back up the leaderboard in the 38–boat fleet to seventh overall after a well–earned victory in race five. Download overall results below.

As they set off for the race area, the competitors found that the forecast north-westerly was instead an extremely shifty south-easterly of around 10-12 knots. Even seasoned locals famed for their ability to read the Solent's vagaries with ease have found themselves struggling to make sense of the apparently random shifts this week and today was no different. Recently crowned Dragon World Champion and Solent local Andy Beadsworth summed the situation up with a wry smile saying, "It's a little bit harder to win here that it was [at the Worlds] in Cascais! It's home waters and I thought I knew what was going on in the Solent, so I thought I knew how to go the right way, but we're getting it wrong with monotonous regularity."

 Beadsworth, sailing TUR1212 Provezza Dragon with Simon Fry and Ali Tezdiker, had had a disastrous race four and went into the day in fourth place on 31 points. Ahead of him were Igor Goikhberg in RUS98 Murka with Dmitry Berezkin and Roman Sadchikov in third on 26 points, Poul Richard Hoj-Jenson in GBR813 Danish Blue with Paul Blowers and Hamish McKay on 21 points and Martin Payne in GBR585 Full Speed with Gillian Hamilton and Chris Britten leading on 16 points.

With seconds to go, Beadsworth shot clear of the pack, which was holding back for fear of being pushed over the line by the tide, midline and was able to tack onto port and port tack most of the right side of the fleet. It was almost impossible to keep up with who was leading, as the big shifts pushed boats down snakes and up ladders constantly. At one point Payne looked good on the left, but he ended up virtually last around the weather mark. Meanwhile, Martin Byrne and his team of Pedro Andrade and Conor Byrne in IRL216 Jaguar had done the best job of picking their way through the minefield to lead Graham Bailey, sailing GBR782 Aimee with Julia Bailey, Will Heritage and Will Bedford, off down the first run, with Goikhberg a very close third. Beadsworth and Hoj-Jensen both rounded just inside the top ten.

From here on in Byrne kept clear air and extended his lead, but Bailey had his work cut out to keep the pack at bay as Beadsworth and Hoj-Jensen dug deep to fight their way to the front. As the boats closed the line at the end of the third and final beat, Byrne took a comfortable victory from Bailey with Tom Vernon in GBR810 Badger crewed by Oliver Spensley-Corfield and Adam Bowers third. Beadsworth had made his way up to fourth, Dmitry Bondarenko in Hauschreckeand with Vadim Statsenko and Alexander Shalagin was fifth, Hoj-Jensen sixth and Goikhberg seventh, but Payne unable to do better than 20th, which he immediately discarded.

So the showdown in tomorrow's remaining race is going to be a humdinger. Bailey tops the leader board with 12 points, Hoj-Jensen is on 14, Beadsworth 15 and Payne 16. The forecast for that final race is 12 gusting 20 knots from the north-west, but we're beginning to learn that what is forecast and what we get are not necessarily related this week so stand by and watch this space.

After sailing the crews once again repaired to the Island Sailing Club's terrace where the daily prize giving included the presentation of the Crews Race Trophy, which went to Nigel Cole sailing Avalanche, and the Youngest Sailor Trophy which went to Will Heritage of Aimee. The prize giving was followed by the final special raffle draw of the event. Over £30,000 of prizes have been given away in the draw, for which all boats are eligible, and the top prize of a Petticrows Dragon radio model yacht was drawn tonight. One of the rules of the draw is that if the winning person is not present to collect their prize then they miss their turn and another ticket is drawn. Tim Tavinor of Petticrows assisted Regatta Chairman Gavia Wilkinson-Cox by drawing the winning ticket, but the name read out elicited no response and so Tim went in for a second ticket. As he read out the name Furious a huge cheer went up and owner Owen Pay was for once completely lost for words and clearly absolutely delighted with his new toy.

Today's final race is programmed to get underway at 11.00 and the regatta will conclude with the Edinburgh Cup 2017 Prize Giving Dinner Dance at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.

Published in Dragon

Royal St. George's Martin Byrne, fresh from British South Coast victory last week, is in the hunt for the Dragon Edinburgh Cup 2017 after two well sailed opening races for the sole Dublin Bay boat yesterday. Byrne is in ninth place in the 38–boat fleet. Cork interest in the regatta is focussed on Mark Mansfield's middle man role on Mike Budd's fifth placed entry. Download results below.

The International Dragon fleet is famed for the exceptionally close nature of its racing, but even in the Dragons a three-way tie for the overall lead of a regatta is truly extraordinary. But that is exactly the situation the top three boats have found themselves in. 

Following two wet and windy races in the Central Solent, reigning Dragon World Champions Andy Beadsworth, Simon Fry and Ali Tezdicker sailing TUR1212 Provezza Dragon, five time Edinburgh Cup Champion Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen sailing GBR813 Danish Blue with Hamish McKay and Paul Blowers, and Martin Payne sailing GBR585 Full Speed with Chris Britten and Gillian Hamilton, are all tied for the overall lead on six points.

Mansfield dragonRoyal Cork's Mark Mansfield (left) competing with Mike Budd and Mark Greaves are fifth. Photo: Fiona Brown

Hosted by the Island Sailing Club, this 69th edition of the prestigious Edinburgh Cup has attracted 38 entries from Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland and across the UK, for four days of windward leeward competition. The opening day of racing brought grey skies, a brisk south westerly wind ranging from 12 to 25 knots and a lot of rain. But, whilst conditions might not have been pretty, the racing was absolutely outstanding.

Race one produced a tight four boat tussle between Danish Blue, Full Speed, Graham Bailey's GBR782 Aimee, crewed by Julia Bailey, Will Heritage and Will Bedford, and Oliver Morgan's GBR791 Christianna, crewed by Francesca Morgan and Jamie Lea. On the line the four boats were separated by just 30 seconds with Aimee first, Christianna second, Full Speed third and Danish Blue fourth. A minute behind the leaders and just in front of the pack came Provezza Dragon in fifth, who'd correctly gone right early on the first beat, but then found themselves caught in heavy traffic from another fleet, which cost them dearly.

After their problems in race one, the crew of Provezza Dragon dug deep for race two, sailing a perfect first beat to lead by a comfortable margin at the weather mark. With the advantage of clear air, they were able to extend their lead throughout the race, winning by two seconds shy of a minute. In second was Danish Blue with Full Speed third and Ireland's Martyn Byrne sailing IRL216 Jaguar with son Conor and Pedro Andrade fourth.

In the overall standings the leading trio of Provezza Dragon, Danish Blue and Full Speed, who are all on six points, are followed by fourth place Aimee on eight points, Mike Budd sailing GBR793 Harry with Mark Mansfield and Mark Greaves is in fifth on fourteen points and Christianna sixth on 15 points.

Aimee also now leads the Corinthian competition for all amateur crews, with Owen Pay, Mark Daly and Jon Mortimer sailing GBR777 Furious third and Richard Leask, Willie Adams and Nevin Jaimeson, sailing GBR731 Kestra third.

Once back ashore and dried out, the competitors gathered for the daily prize giving, where not only did they were also invited to enjoy a relaxing head and back massage courtesy of Cowes based BeCalmed Wellbeing and Medi Spa. Caroline Hurley, owner of BeCalmed, present the daily prizes which included special gift baskets and bags from the company. Regatta Chairman Gavia Wilkinson-Cox then invited Race Officer Jill Smith to assist her with the daily draw into which all competitors are entered. Each evening three lucky winners receive one of more than £30,000 worth of prizes generously donated by local and marine companies. Later in the evening the visiting teams all attended "At Home" dinners hosted by members of the Cowes Dragon fleet.

The forecast for day two of the regatta promises to be much drier with lighter winds from the north. Two further races are planned with the first start scheduled for 11.00.

Published in Dragon

Martin Byrne's Jaguar Sailing Team won the British South Coast Championship as the warm up event ahead of the Edinburgh Cup where racing starts today on the Solent just off Cowes, Isle of Wight.

Only three races were completed in varying conditions over the two day event. Byrne's Jaguar Sailing Team were most consistent with results of 6,2,5 to win the Championship ahead of an international fleet of 38 Dragons which included the World Champions, Andy Beadsworth's, Provezza Dragon.

Byrne told Afloat.ie - "We were using this event as a warm up before the Edinburgh Cup and to familiarise ourselves with the tricky and very tidal race course on the Solent. Also it was important to re-acquaint ourselves again as a crew which includes my son Conor and Portuguese professional Pedro Andrade. However, we are under no illusions, that many of the other top teams were in the same mode and the competition will be much hotter for the main event".

Martin Byrne Conor Byrne Pedro Andradez2011 Edinburgh Cup Champion Martin Byrne (centre), with his son and past Irish Laser National Champion Conor Byrne (right) and top professional Dragon crew Pedro Andrade

The International Dragon fleet has gathered at the Island Sailing Club in Cowes for the 2017 Dragon UK South Coast Championship and Edinburgh Cup sponsored by Oliver Morgan Architects and Stoneham Construction Ltd. Thirty-eight teams from as far afield as Turkey, Russia and Switzerland and across the UK and Ireland are taking part in six days of top flight competition from 9 to 14 July.

For added Irish interest in the Cup, Mark Mansfield from Royal Cork is sailing as middle man with UK helmsman Mike Budd.

The programme opened with two days of racing for the South Coast Championship. Sunday 9 July brought extremely light winds and despite the best efforts of Race Officer Gill Smith only one race was possible. The light and variable conditions gave the tacticians a few headaches, with a number of people being caught out by a right hander near the top of the first beat, which caused them to over-stand the windward mark. Igor Goikhberg, sailing RUS98 Murka with Dmitry Berezkin and Roman Sadchikov, avoided the pitfall and led the fleet off down the run. But Goikhberg wasn't to have it all his own way with Graham Bailey, crewed by Julia Bailey, Will Heritage and Will Bedford aboard GBR782 Aimee, soon putting him under pressure. It turned into a game of cat and mouse with the two boats eventually coming to the line neck and neck, where only the Race Officer was able to confirm that Bailey had claimed the race by just a single second. Owen Pay, Jon Mortimer and Mark Daly sailing GBR777 Furious followed them home for third.

Dragon Jaguar craneImmaculately prepared Royal St. George Dragon Jaguar is hoisted into the water, ready for today's first race of the Edinburgh Cup at Cowes

Day two could not have been more different with a moderate south westerly already well established when the boats arrived in the starting area. The wind faltered slightly towards the end of the day's first race, race two of the series, and there was a short delay to allow it to settle before race three got underway. Once settled the wind built rapidly to over 20 knots, which combined with a building ebb to give some big waves at the top end of the course and plenty of thrills and spills for the watching spectators. Sadly, one of the casualties of the stronger wind was Igor Goikhberg whose rig came down on the final run.

Reigning Dragon World Champion Andy Beadsworth, sailing TUR1212 Provezza Dragon with Simon Fry and Ali Tezdiker, had been the wrong side of the race one shift and finished down in 19th place, but he wasn't about to make the same mistake twice. He led race two from start to finish and in race three was only briefly challenged by Martin Payne sailing GB585 Full Speed with Gillian Hamilton and Chris Britten. Whilst the two race wins were impressive the lack of a discard forced him to count his 19th which dragged him down the overall rankings into fourth.

Graham Bailey was unable to repeat his winning form of race one and having added a ninth and a sixth to his score card he took third place overall. Martin Payne and his team were on an upward trajectory and after an eighth in race one went on to finish fifth and then second, putting him one point ahead of Bailey and in second overall.

But ultimately it was consistency that paid and 2011 Edinburgh Cup Champion Martin Byrne, sailing this week, as Afloat.ie reported earlier, with his son and past Irish Laser National Champion Conor Byrne and top professional Dragon crew Pedro Andrade, took the South Coast Championship title with a 6, 2, 5 score line and a narrow two-point overall margin.

Following the South Coast Championship Prize Giving the crews came together on the terrace of the Island Sailing Club for the 2017 Edinburgh Cup Welcome Champagne Reception sponsored by Chris Bull, owner of GBR772 Jazz, being raced this week by his brother Adrian.

Event Organiser Gavia Wilkinson-Cox welcomed the teams and in particular thanked those who had travelled from overseas to join the British fleet for its prestigious National Championship regatta. Moored on the dock immediately below the club was Andy Beadsworth's World Championship winning Petticrow Dragon, and she thanked Andy and his team for making the effort to attend this event so soon after their Worlds victory in Cascais. Gavia also paid tribute to the dozens of volunteers who have made the regatta possible, to the race management team, to the generosity of the event sponsors and to regatta hosts the Island Sailing Club, who hosted the very first Edinburgh Cup some 69 years ago.

Gavia then handed the microphone to the Rev. Andrew Poppe, vicar of Holy Trinity Church Cowes to bless the event. Clearly a man who knows his sailing audience well, Rev. Poppe concluded his address by saying, "We pray for fine weather, fine winds and fine sailing, and for fine wines and a most excellent gathering at the end of the week to salute both the winning boats and all who come, to race, to sail and to rekindle the community and competition that is Dragon Class sailing. Tonight we pray for fine burgers, fine beer and fine banter. We ask, Lord, your blessing on this occasion in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen." And with the formalities complete the champagne corks popped, the BBQs were fired up, the band struck up and a fabulous time was had by all.

Racing for the Edinburgh Cup is scheduled to commence at 11.00 tomorrow with a south westerly breeze of 13 to 21 knots forecast. Sadly, the wind is to be accompanied by heavy rain so everyone's foul weather gear will no doubt get a good workout.

Published in Dragon

If you live outside the goldfish bowl which is the International Dragon Class and Dun Laoghaire sailing, you may not have heard that the ginger cat which is resident in the Royal St George Yacht Club had become so fond of spending time in Martin Byrne’s Dragon in the club boat-park that it almost went to Kinsale reports WM Nixon.

Seems that former RStGYC Commodore Byrne hitched up his Dragon without a care in the world to head for Kinsale and the South Coast Championship last month. And everything went smoothly until he was well through the Dublin suburbs, when a guy pulled up alongside him at traffic lights, and asked if he always travelled with a ginger pussy on top of his boat.

The bould Martin gingerly (how else?) headed back to the club, and returned one agitated feline to its home base, then headed off for Kinsale again. But by this time, the Gardai had been alerted and the boys in blue were determined to get their moneysworth. So when the Byrne Dragon equipe pulled up at a police check on the road to Cork, didn’t he have to tell the whole story of how the cat was no longer in the ship’s company before he could go on his way?

And by the time he got to Kinsale, hadn’t the multi-talented Rob Jacob been on the case, and the resulting cartoon was already going the rounds. Even the coolest skipper can be put off his stride when one thing after another is piled like this into the way of his smooth progress. So although Martin Byrne may have won the renowned Edinburgh Cup in the International Dragon Class in times past, in Kinsale a fortnight ago he didn’t even get a podium place. But we’re assured the RStGYC cat is purring along very nicely, thank you.

Published in Dragon

#TradeNews - A local business that began with one sailor's enthusiasm over 20 years ago has now moved back to a Dun Laoghaire location under another another sailor's renewed vision.

Martin Byrne, a former Commodore of the Royal St George Yacht Club and a three-time Dragon National and Edinburgh Cup champion, is the new owner of the long-running and iconic business A Stitch In Time Embroiderers Ltd.

Originally founded on the ideals of Simon Nolan of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, who aimed to provide a service to sailors in Dun Laoghaire where they could personalise their club or event clothing, Simon's brother David Nolan subsequently took over the business and moved it to Monkstown Farm.

The embroidery works and services developed over this time, but the sailing connection never diminished.

After David's passing, his son Markham ran the business for two years before Martin Byrne took over. Under Byrne's direction, the corporate and business aspect of the services provided by A Stitch In Time continued to develop.

stitch in time

A Stitch In Time's new premises in the heart of Dun Laoghaire's sailing community

Just recently, A Stitch In Time returned to where it all began, relocating to the Irish Lights Building in Dun Laoghaire Harbour in what's already being regarded as a major new step for the company – while also getting back to the roots of its business with the yacht clubs in Dun Laoghaire and throughout Dublin Bay.

Check out A Stitch In Time Embroiderers Ltd on Facebook or at www.astitchintime.ie

Published in Marine Trade

#dragon – Dublin's defending champion Martin Byrne scored an eighth and a third at the Edinburgh Cup yesterday to lie third overall just two points in front of the World Champion, Lawrie Smith. Top British lady helm Julia Bailey Leads the fleet after a spectacular double victory scored in the opening races.

The Edinburgh Cup, awarded to the winner of the Open British Dragon Championship, is one of the most prestigious and historic trophies in British yachting having been presented to the class by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1949 and sailed for annually since.  It is also notoriously difficult to win and the 45 strong fleet assembled in Cultra on Belfast Lough for this year's Edinburgh Cup, sponsored by Belfast Harbour, is considered to be one of the most competitive ever.

All the more remarkable then that today's opening two races were both won by the same boat in a bravura sailing performance which produced one relatively comfortable win followed by a last moment seat of the pants victory.  Pundits in the class have been scratching their heads to remember the last time one boat won both opening Edinburgh Cup races and so far a comparable situation cannot be recalled.  As if the achievement wasn't already impressive enough it should also be noted that the winning crew includes the youngest sailor in the fleet at just 11 years old.  The boat that claimed those victories is GBR720 Aimee of Cowes helmed by Julia Bailey with husband Graham Bailey, Dylan Potter and youngster Will Heritage crewing.

No one else came close to matching Julia Bailey's consistency and tonight its Monaco's Jens Rathsack, sailing MON2 Jeanie with Stefan Waak and Mario Wagner, who claims second overall with a 2, 6 score to count eight points, six behind Bailey.   With an 8 in race one followed by a 3 in race two defending Edinburgh Cup Champion Martin Byrne sailing IRL201 Jaguar with Pedro Andrade and Adam Winkleman lies third overall on 11 points and reigning Dragon World Champion Lawrie Smith, sailing Alfie with Ossie Stewart and Tim Tavinor is fourth on 13 points thanks to an 11, 2 score line.

Julia Bailey also leads the Corinthian Division for the all amateur crews with Owen Pay, sailing IRL204 Seabird with Steve Richardson and Jon Mortimer, second and Patrick Gifford, sailing GBR717 Nereid with Paul Springett and Andrew Vaughn, third.

Alongside the formal daily prizes awarded each evening there is also a very special draw to win a set of Sebago sailing shoes for your crew.  Today's very popular Sebago prizewinners were Sunderland's Dave Atkinson, Michael Matthews and John Outhwaite of GBR690 Blue Movie, who were delighted recipients of this fun award.

Two further races are scheduled for tomorrow and the six race series continues until Saturday with a single discard being applied after the fifth race has been sailed.

Race by Race

The fleet, whose crews represent some 11 different nations including Japan, Australia, Monaco, Portugal, Germany, Denmark, the UK and Ireland faced some extremely difficult conditions with light and shifty winds in both races.  Race Officer Nigel Kerney and his team faced a tough day in the office as they shifted start lines and marks almost constantly trying to keep the courses fair.  Initially the day was overcast with showers, but during the second race the sun came out and the North Down countryside was revealed proving that this truly is a stunningly beautiful place to sail and visit.

In race one Patrick Gifford led the fleet at the first mark with Bailey a reasonable distance back in second and the pack some lengths back again.  By the leeward mark Bailey and the pack had closed the gap although Gifford still rounded a few seconds ahead with the two boats choosing opposite sides of the beat.  Gifford did his best to hold everyone at bay for as long as he could but the onslaught eventually overwhelmed him and he finished the race in sixth.  Meanwhile Bailey took the lead and despite various challenges defended confidently to the finish taking victory from Rathsack.  Third place went to Kinsale's Cameron Good sailing IRL211 Little Fella with Maurice O"Connell and Henry Kingston while Simon Brien took fourth

The second race was an altogether different affair and initially things looked far from good for Bailey as she rounded the weather mark in 18th place.  They'd had a reasonable start at the pin end and then got a nice left shift but couldn't tack on it as they couldn't cross the fleet.  By the time they could tack they had over stood the mark and were forced to take a lot of sterns as they tried to find space in the packed starboard layline.  They immediately gybe set whilst the rest of fleet headed right, taking each other up in the process, and with the benefit of the tide Bailey managed to lay the leeward mark in one gybe gaining a lot of places.  Two more good legs saw them pull up into second behind race leader Smith.

Julia takes up the story of the final beat.  "We went just behind Lawrie at the last bottom mark with one beat to go.  We were quite happy second to Lawrie.  We could see they were moving the finish line boat to the right and we weren't quite sure how far they would go so we went quite a long way. When it obviously became time that we should be tacking [for the line] we said to Lawrie 'Don't worry Lawrie, we'll follow you in if you want to go, but if we go now don't tack on us please.' but I'm not sure he heard that so we tacked and he tacked on us.  We then tacked immediately off and just as we were going through the tack we got a 5 degree lift and by the time Lawrie came back at us he couldn't cross us and got stuck underneath and we just managed to hold him out."  Crossing the line behind Bailey and Smith were Byrne, and Owen Pay.

Top Five After Two Races

1.  GBR720 - Aimee - Julia Bailey -  1, 1 = 2

2.  MON2 - Jeanie - Jens Rathsack - 2, 6 = 8

3.  IRL210 - Jaguar - Martin Byrne - 8, 3 = 11

4.  GBR763 - Alfie - Lawrie Smith - 11, 2 = 13

5.  IRL204 - Seabird - Own Pay - 10, 4 = 14

Published in Dragon

Dragon Edinburgh Cup winner Martin Byrne's impressive international form continues this week at the helm of Jaguar. The Dublin sailor leads HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark for overall honours at the Régates Royales in Cannes, on the south of France. Byrne, the Commodore of Dun Laoghaire's Royal St. George Yacht Club is counting a 1, 1 and 3 in the 58-boat fleet. 'We're off to a good start' Byrne, the Irish Dragon national champion, told Afloat.ie this morning. July's Edinburgh Cup winner is sailing with Brian Mathews and Portuguese sail maker Andrade Pedro.

dragonjaguar

Martin Byrne leads the 58-boat fleet

After the fleet could not go out on the water on Monday because of the strong, gusty typical Mistral breeze, the 58 boat strong Dragon fleet had three windward/leeward races on Tuesday starting in a 12 knots south-westerly, that progressively increased during the afternoon hours, topping 20 knots. Competition was strong as usual for the top positions and the class' champions imposed their supremacy. The first two races went both to Dublin's Byrne on Jaguar Bear who managed to get the better of reigning champion and class master Anatoly Longinov on Annapurna and on multiple class winner Danish Poul Richard on Antigua's flagged Danish Blue on the first one. A nearly clean score for the Irish skipper who was third in the last race of the day won by Ian Bradbury on Blue Haze. HRH Prince Heinrik of Denmark's had a very positive first day with a sixth, a second and a fourth. With five points, the Irish team is then securely on top of the provisional podium, in front of HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark (13 points) and the Russian crew skippered by Anatoly Loginov (16 points).

Published in Dragon

Match Racing has been given full approval by the national sailing association. I reported a few weeks ago that Match Racing Ireland, which organises the racing, had made application to the Irish Sailing Association. This has been approved.

"We are now a recognised Category 3 organisation within the ISA and hope this will mean we can send a representative to the All-Ireland championships, dependent on an invitation to us. Being recognised as a formal body is important for funding or when individual teams need support at international events," Ric Morris of Match Racing Ireland told me. "Bringing people through from college sailing is something we are very interested in and we are at the moment targeting the 2012 World University Match Racing Championships in France."
That may mean having to get hold of a couple of J24s, the boats used for that event. Match racing here has so far been concentrated in the ISA J80 fleet. Ric said he was "confident match racing will continue to flourish. The question will be the scope of it. Howth, Lough Derg and Dun Laoghaire clubs have confirmed they will run match racing next year."
Next month Kinsale will be the location for two match racing events - the ISA Women's Match Race Championship on October 9 and 10 followed by the Open Match Racing Championships from October 22-25.
Dragons Are Still Alive

The English are known for preferring that the rest of the world would speak their language. That attitude resulted in a Norwegian-designed yacht being called a Dragon.

Sailed by a helm and crew of two, it was designed by Norwegian Olympic sailor, Johan Anker, in 1929 with two berths for cruising in his home waters. The boat became so popular that, within ten years, it had spread all over Europe and become established in the top echelons of yacht racing. The Clyde Yacht Association presented the Gold Cup to the class in 1937.

dragons

Dragons competing off Kinsale. Photo: Bob Bateman. Gallery HERE.

During negotiations for the official recognition of the boat by the international sailing federation, a translation of Anker's name into 'Draggen' was rejected by the English yachting association which found 'Dragon' easier. The name was applied to the boat. Johan Anker was killed in World War Two. After the war his family waived design royalties to allow English yards build the boats, "as a token of appreciation for British support of Norway" when it was invaded by the Germans. That led to an increase in its popularity.

Dragons raced their South Coast Championship off Kinsale with ranking points to be won for the World and European Championships. Local club sailors were hoping to end class domination by Dun Laoghaire, but just fell short of their target.

Andrew Craig sailing Chimaera took the South Coast title back to the Royal St.George in Dun Laoghaire, while his clubmate Martin Byrne in Jaguar was second. Cameron Good, Henry Kingston and Simon Furney, a long-established Kinsale team sailed Little Fella, to third overall, with club colleague James Mathews helming Diva, crewed by Rick and Rob Johnson in fourth.

I have heard the Dragons described as "old worldly" but the class is alive and well to judge from the racing in plenty of breeze off Kinsale, where the Dragon Gold Cup, a world event, will be held in 2012. Kinsale Yacht Club will also host the national championships next year.

KYC is and will be, a busy place.

• This article is reprinted by permission of the CORK EVENING ECHO in which Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation
The Dragon South Coast Championships has a new leader in Kinsale. Andrew Craig's Chimaera now leads Martin Byrne's Jaguar, both are from the Royal St. George in Dun Laoghaire. Local Cameron Good's Little Fella is third.

Results following today's two races:

1. IRL211 Little Fella Cameron Good KYC
2. IRL192 Chimaera Andrew Craig RStGYC
3. IRL210 Diva James Matthews KYC

1. IRL192 Chimaera Andrew Craig RStGYC
2. IRL176 Phantom Neil Hegarty RStGYC
3. IRL210 Diva James Matthews KYC

Published in Dragon
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