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A Harbour Seal photographed at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most widely distributed species of pinnipeds, they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Baltic and North seas. Photo: AfloatA photograph of a Harbour Seal taken at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, this species can be found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They are the most widely distributed species of pinnipeds and can be found in the coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Baltic and North Seas. Photo: Afloat

Displaying items by tag: Dragon

Torquay finally delivered perfect sailing conditions for day five of the Dragon Gold Cup 2023, where the previously abandoned race four was re-sailed in glorious sunshine and a south-south-easterly breeze which built from around 10 to 15 knots through the race.

With the minimum required number of four races now completed the championship is valid and with a fifth place in today’s race, Lawrie Smith sailing GBR815 Alfie for the Glandore Yacht Club has further tightened his grip on the overall lead with a 15-point delta on his nearest rivals.

The remainder of the podium is still wide open, however, as just eight points now separate second to sixth place in the no discard series. Going into the final day SUI318 Wolf Waschkuhn is on 27 points, with DEN423 Bo Johansen and JAP52 Peter Gilmour both on 30 points, BEL82 Xavier Vanneste is on 34 and GER62 Stephan Link counts 35 points.

Two races remain to be sailed on the final day, so the Race Committee has brought Friday’s first start time forward to 11:15 in the hope that the second race can get underway before the 14:30 latest warning signal cut off time.

As the competitors arrived in the race area for the restart of the previously abandoned race four, the breeze was already well established and after an initial general recall, the U flag came out of the Race Committee's locker and they were off at the second attempt. Both Andy Beadsworth sailing TUR12 and Peter Cunningham in CAY9 were disqualified for being over the line. After racing Beadsworth protested the Race Committee’s decision but the jury did not find in his favour.

At the weather mark Michael Zankel sailing POR90 once again headed the fleet from Bo Johansen in DEN423, Stephan Link GER62, Jan Woortmann GER1221, David Tabb GBR818, Peter Gilmour JAP56, and overall leader Lawrie Smith who slotted into seventh in GBR815. Eighth to round was Graham Bailey in GBR192, the famous 75 year old Bluebottle, who was showing her face at the front of the fleet for the first time this week.

Down the first run it was very tight and as they round the first leeward gate Johansen had just crept ahead to round the starboard gate a few seconds ahead of Zankel. Link held third, with Woortman fourth, Gilmour fifth, Tabb sixth and Smith still seventh.

By the top of the second beat Zankel had reclaimed the lead, Woortman was up to second with Johansen third and Gilmour fourth. Smith had pulled up to fifth while Link was down to sixth.

Zankel began to extend his lead on the second run and by the leeward mark he had a decent cushion over Johansen, with both opting for the port gate. Gilmour and Woortman rounded the starboard gate in tight formation, Link rounded fifth and Smith sixth. The leading six had opened up a decent gap on the chasing pack which was now led by Wolf Waschkuhn and Laurie Rechard.

As the fleet came to the line Zankel took his second victory of the regatta by a big margin. Second to fourth were all overlapped on the line and after by the narrowest margin it was Gilmour who took second, with Johansen third, Woortman fourth, Smith fifth, Link six and Waschkuhn pulling up into sixth. Back ashore however, Tabb protested Woortman for tacking in his water and Woortman was disqualified.

After racing Graham Bailey spoke about how unusually testing the conditions have been here in Torquay, saying, “We had sparkling conditions out there today, we had about 11 to 13 knots, that sort of order and just great open water racing, it’s fantastic. It’s been difficult. I don’t want to say a difficult venue because I think that it’s just that the weather models have been difficult, they’ve shown it’s been difficult weather. It’s not been straight forward. So I wouldn’t blame that on Torbay which we love, we’ve just had tricky weather. But it’s tricky for everybody so it’s completely fair and some workout better than others. So it’s been a challenge, but it’s never been absolutely obvious. It’s one of those venues and weather conditions where you never give up and even down to the last beat there’s always something to be had, there are holes to be had, snakes and ladders, so it keeps it pretty open and you’ve got to be on your toes all the time.".

In the Corinthian all amateur division David Tabb was the top performer, narrowly beating Christoph Skolaut with GBR763 Simon Barter third. In the overall Corinthian standings Skolaut continues to lead the competition from David Tabb with Peter Bowring’s IRL225, being helmed by Neil Hegarty, third. Peter Bowring summed up their feelings about the regatta so far saying, “It’s been a great event. Torbay have put on a fantastic event but we’re finding it difficult. That’s more down to us and the conditions, but that’s sailing.”.

Once again, the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2023 regatta marquee was ready and waiting to welcome the crews home with more tasty hot snacks and a plentiful supply of complimentary cold beers, which were much needed after a long day on the twelve and a half mile race course.

Later in the evening the crews came together in the elegant waterside ballroom of the Imperial Hotel Torquay for party time at the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup Gala Dinner. After welcome drinks guests enjoyed a delicious three course dinner.

Speaking after dinner, International Dragon Association (IDA) Chairman Gerard Blanc thanked the British Dragon Association and the Royal Torbay Yacht Club for their tremendous work in organising the event, Yanmar for their most generous and ongoing support of the Dragon Class and the competitors for travelling from so far afield to take part.

On behalf of the event Sponsor, Yanmar Marine International, Mr Kitamura paid tribute to the organisers and the Dragon sailors for the exceptional quality of the regatta and spoke of the synergy between Yanmar and the sailing community.

Special tributes were also paid to Race Officer Stuart Childerley and his team who have done a most impressive job in running racing despite some of the most challenging conditions the Dragon fleet has ever seen.

One of the highlights of a most enjoyable gathering was the presentation of the prestigious Børge Børresen Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the first race in the Gold Cup. This very special trophy goes to Lawrie Smith, Ruaridh Scott, Concalo Ribeiro and Richard Parslow of Alfie. The trophy was presented by the IDA's Championship Coordinator Martin "Stavros" Payne and the presentation included the now traditional bottle of Glenfiddich whisky, which the winners greatly enjoyed consuming from the trophy.

The late Børge Børresen is a legend amongst Dragon sailors. At 16 years old, he built one of the first Dragons in Denmark in 1936 with his brother Albert. For some 65 years, he was the preeminent Dragon builder, constructing multiple Olympic, World, European and National Championship winning boats. One of his greatest contributions to the class was his leadership in translating the Dragon from wooden to GRP construction. The fact that a 1938 wooden Dragon like Bluebottle is racing on a level playing field this week against the very latest boats off the production line is testament to the work that Børresen did in devising the scantlings for the GRP boats. He was also an exceptional sailor, participating in the Gold Cup 51 times consecutively, winning as a crew for Thorkil Warrer in 1951 and 1956 and as helm in 1967 and 1985. He won many other major Dragon regattas, including, at the age of 75, the World Championship sailing with Jesper Bank.

Two races remain to be sailed on the final day of the six-race no discard series, which concludes on Friday, 15 September.

PROVISIONAL TOP FIVE AFTER THREE RACES

  • 1st - Lawrie Smith, GBR815, Alfie - 1, 3(RDGc), 3, 5 = 12
  • 2nd - Wolf Waschkuhn, SUI318, 1quick1 - 4, 4, 12, 7 = 27
  • 3rd - Bo Johansen, DEN423, Deja Vu Ver. 2.0 - 2, 24, 1, 3 = 30
  • 4th - Peter Gilmour, JPN56, YRed - 3, 12, 13, 2 = 30
  • 5th - Xavier Vanneste, BEL82, Herbie - 5, 8, 8, 13 = 34

Overall results here

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Day four of the Dragon Gold Cup 2023 in Torquay brought frustration for the sailors and race committee alike, as race four of the six-race series had to be abandoned on the second beat when the wind died off completely. As a result, there are no changes in the overall standings, and Lawrie Smith of Glandore YC continues to lead the fleet from Switzerland's Wolf Waschkuhn with Belgium’s Xavier Vanneste third, Andy Beadsworth sailing for Turkey fourth and Denmark’s Bo Johansen fifth.

The fleet had gone afloat early for an 09:30 start, knowing that the wind was likely to drop off by lunchtime. It took three attempts to get the race underway, but eventually, they started under the U flag and with a clear line. Conditions were already light and shifty, but it was sailable, so away they went under grey skies in about 6 knots from 045 degrees on a 2.5-mile first leg.

PROVISIONAL TOP FIVE AFTER THREE RACES

  • 1st - Lawrie Smith, GBR815, Alfie - 1, 1, 3 = 4
  • 2nd - Wolf Waschkuhn, SUI318, 1quick1 - 4, 4, 12 = 20
  • 3rd - Xavier Vanneste, BEL82, Herbie - 5, 8, 8 = 21
  • 4th - Andy Beadsworth, TUR12, Provezza Dragon - 16, 6, 2 = 24
  • 5th - Bo Johansen, DEN423, Deja Vu Ver. 2.0 - 2, 24, 1 = 27
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Day three of the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2023 at Torquay brought yet more ultra-shifty and variable breeze, this time from the northwest quadrant, which built from around six knots at the start of racing to sixteen by the finish, clocking right throughout the day.

Denmark’s Bo Johansen in Déjà Vu Ver 2.0 led from the outset of the third race and took victory by an impressive margin. Behind him the fight for second was fierce with Andy Beadsworth’s Turkish Provezza Dragon ultimately finishing second and Lawrie Smith’s Alfie third.

In the overall standings Smith, who is sailing for the Glandore Yacht Club, has consolidated his overall lead and now has a fifteen-point delta over his nearest rivals. Behind him the rankings are much tighter with Switzerland’s Wolf Waschkuhn, who finished twelfth in the race, one point ahead of third placed Xavier Vanneste of Belgium, who finished eighth. Beadsworth’s second place puts him in fourth overall, two points behind Vanneste and four ahead of Bo Johansen in fifth.

Ireland's Neil Hegarty from Dun Laoghaire is lying 20th, Jonathan Bourtke 32nd and Kinsale's Brian Goggin 46th. Results here.

After racing Bo Johansen was very pleased with his team’s performance, saying, “It was fantastic, the start was very narrow and we got over to the right side and then we just got in front of all the boats and then it was just a case of stay ahead and don’t do anything! It was shifting about 15 to 20 degrees to the right side, so it was more fair to be on the right.”.

The forecast for the day had only offered wind in the afternoon so Race Officer Stuart Childerley had delayed racing by two hours until 14:00. With much fresher conditions and vastly improved visibility over the first two days, the fleet ran down to the racecourse under blue skies and fluffy white clouds. The backdrop for racing was also more scenic with the spectacular English Riviera and Devon’s rolling hills sparkling in the sun.

Racing got underway at the first attempt, but with Peter Gilmour and Germany’s Magdalena Grundt both individually recalled and forced to return under spinnaker. The wind was still light and shifty, the tide was running fairly evenly right to left across the course, and the fleet was clearly undecided on which way to go so were soon spread across the bay. Once again those on the right gained and Bo Johansen had made the best of it to take a generous lead early on. Following him around the first mark were Finland’s Lauri Rechardt, Lawrie Smith, Sweden’s Jan Secher and Germany’s Stephan link.

By the end of the first run Johansen had extended his lead further, Rechardt and Smith held their positions, Link had pulled up into fourth and Salcombe based David Tabb into fifth with Secher now sixth and Beadsworth seventh.

On the second lap Johansen had opened up his lead even further. Smith had held second place for four of the five legs and looked reasonably secure rounding the bottom mark, but with the wind building and still shifting right Beadsworth was determined to reel him in, and the pack was pressing hard.

On the line Johansen won in spectacular style, but the fight for second would go all the way. Smith did all he could but as they came to the line, it was Beadsworth who took second with Smith third, Secher fourth, Skolaut fifth, Link sixth, Tabb seventh, Vanneste eighth and Rechard ninth.

After racing Christoph Skolaut said, “It was a really good race, we started bad and had to make a turn before the starting line because we had no space, but went to the right side and then we came around tenth at the first mark. Then we went down to the right side, went a little bit faster than the other. After this our position was quite stable. We picked the right buoy at the last gate and went to the right side and gained I think two or three boats on the last leg. So we’re very happy.”.

One of the most impressive performances of the day came from Peter Gilmour and his team who sailed like demons to make up for their disastrous OCS. On every leg they pulled up places and at the finish they crossed in thirteenth place, which puts them into sixth overall and still very much in contention for a podium finish.

Fifth placed Christoph Skolaut was the first Corinthian boat across the line with David Tabb second and Guus de Groot of the Netherlands third. At the midpoint in the regatta Skolaut now leads the Corinthian Division from Tabb with de Groot third.

David Tabb commented, “We’re really pleased, we went around mostly around seventh, thought we got up to sixth, dropped back to seventh and just a bit of backwards and forwards but very competitive. We’re good in the light stuff but struggling a bit because we’re underweight in the heavier stuff. It’s a lovely place to sail, it feels a bit like home when you’re from Salcombe!”

In the Nations Cup for the three boat national teams the UK team of Lawrie Smith, Grant Gordon and David Tabb continues to lead the pack. Germany’s Jan Woortman, Olaf Sternel and Stephan Link are second with Ireland’s Neil Hegarty, Brian Goggin and Jonathan Bourke third.

The forecast for Wednesday’s fourth race is that there will be wind early in the day, but that it is likely to die off by the afternoon. The Race Committee has announced that it intends to start the fourth race at 09:30 to take advantage of the early breeze. Three races remain to be sailed between now and the conclusion of the regatta on Friday 15 September and the result of all races count. 

PROVISIONAL TOP FIVE AFTER THREE RACES

  • 1st - Lawrie Smith, GBR815, Alfie - 1, 1, 3 = 4
  • 2nd - Wolf Waschkuhn, SUI318, 1quick1 - 4, 4, 12 = 20
  • 3rd - Xavier Vanneste, BEL82, Herbie - 5, 8, 8 = 21
  • 4th - Andy Beadsworth, TUR12, Provezza Dragon - 16, 6, 2 = 24
  • 5th - Bo Johansen, DEN423, Deja Vu Ver. 2.0 - 2, 24, 1 = 27
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The second day of racing at the Dragon Gold Cup 2023 in Torquay brought an intensely fought second race and more than a few dramatic incidents.

Just as the race was about to get underway a call came over the VHF to announce that one of the competitors had fallen overboard by the pin mark. The Race Committee immediately announced a short postponement and tasked RIBs to assist. Fortunately, the competitor was rapidly back in his boat, a towel and some dry clothes were found, and they went on to race.

As soon as the man overboard was resolved, the race committee went back into action. With a slight current pushing the boats over the line, it took three attempts to get the fleet away, the third under a black flag. Caught out by that black flag were GBR192 Graham Bailey and GBR831 Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, who headed home for a leisurely lunch.

For the rest of the fleet, a two and a half mile beat across the mouth of Torbay in a very shifty and variable southwesterly lay ahead of them. At the weather mark, it was SUI313 Dirk Oldenburg that led the pack, closely followed by POR90 Michael Zankel, GER1221 Jan Wortman, SWE800 Jan Secher, GRB820 Grant Gordon, GBR815 Lawrie Smith, GBR682 Eric Williams, GER62 Stephan Link and TUR12 Andy Beadsworth.

Oldenburgh held his lead down the first run, while Secher pulled up into second with Gordon third. Beadsworth and Zankel rounded neck and neck, with Beadsworth taking the starboard gate and Zankel the port. Williams and Link also rounded simultaneously on opposite buoys with Smith right on Link’s heels.

The wind was going right, and the committee had signalled a change of course with the weather mark now just off Berry Head. With the breeze all over the show and anything from 5 to 12 knots, it was nip and tuck between the leading group all the way up the beat, but as they came round the mark Smith was ahead of Secher, Gordon, Oldenburgh, Zankel, Beadsworth and Williams.

As the leaders hoisted and took off down the run the remainder of the fleet was still coming in on the port lay line. Unfortunately, one of the up-bound boats, Stephan Schutze’s GER883, failed to keep clear and caught Smith’s rig, dismasting both boats. Although Schutze did the correct thing and formally retired, back ashore Smith went to the jury to request redress and was awarded average points.

The remaining pack continued to battle it out and places changed constantly. On the final beat Zankel got ahead and finished the race with a ten second lead. Behind him Secher beat Oldenburgh by inches, with Waschkuhn fourth, Beadsworth fifth, Gordon sixth and Williams seventh, all within a few seconds of each other. Belgium’s Xavier Vanneste had another good day and finished in eighth.

Michael Zankel was delighted with their performance today saying, “We had a very good day and we finished first. We got a good start and were always on the right side. At the last mark we were third or fourth and then we managed it. The sailing was very hard. We have a very good boat. It’s not our boat, we chartered it, and we have new sails from 8D Sails, which we’re using for the first time here. And it works, but we have four more days, and we will see at the end.”.

Jan Secher was also a happy man and commented, “It’s been a good day for us. We came in second with a very tight finish, really it was centimetres apart, but we’re really happy. It was quite shifty, not quite as shifty as yesterday when we had a big righty come through and we didn’t have quite the same shifts today. It was really flukey, both in terms of direction and pressure, in particular the end of, the second run when we ran out of wind at the end. We didn’t have a super good day yesterday, so this gets us back in there, we’re sitting in tenth overall and its very tight, which it normally is at the beginning of the regatta. We’re looking forward to the rest of it, great racing, really good administration and a great race committee.”.

Although Zankel won the race, Smith’s first day win means that currently his average points give him two first places, so in the overall standings with two races now completed he continues to lead the regatta. Wolf Waschkuhn’s fourth puts him second overall, with Xavier Vanneste now lying third with a fifth and an eighth. Peter Gilmour had a steady day adding a twelfth to yesterday’s third, putting him into fourth overall, with Grant Gordon fifth.

Speaking immediately after racing Wolf Waschkuhn said, “We have two fourths now so we are first or second, as if Lawrie is reinstated it will be second. There were big holes in the course, especially in the middle. If you were caught in the middle, then you stayed in the doldrums and that was a problem. We got a very good start, probably leading the fleet together with Provezza, then lost the lead and had to play catch up over the course of the race, and eventually came fourth, a decent result. The Gold Cup is all about consistency and so far, we’re consistent.”.

Dirk Oldenburgh also acknowledged what a challenging day it had been, “We had a very good day, a difficult day and successful day, especially after we had a difficult, not successful day yesterday. The conditions were better today, it was tricky, it was difficult, the waves were difficult, the sea state was difficult, and the shifts were difficult, but overall we were happy and lucky!”

In the Corinthian division the day’s top performer was GBR763 Simon Barter, with GBR818 David Tabb second and GER1113 Thomas Scherer third. In the overall Corinthian standings Barter now leads the fleet from Holland’s Guus de Groot and Britain’s David Tabb.

Simon Barter commented, “Overall it’s been great. We’ve had tremendous conditions, challenging, and the quality of the fleet is exception. We feel that if we are in the top half of the field, we’re doing a good job so we’re very pleased with where we got to. There were lots of shifts out there today and the most important thing was just keeping your eyes out of the boat and having the courage of your convictions to sit through a difficult patch knowing you could try and get somewhere there was a bit more breeze.”.

Alongside the overall and Corinthian results, there is also a special ranking for the top-performing national teams. The teams are set based on the top three performing boats from each nation in the opening race. After two races the United Kingdon team, comprising Lawrie Smith, Grant Gordon and David Tabb, leads the Nations Cup from the German team of Jan Woortman, Olaf Sternel and Stephan Link, with Ireland’s Neil Hegarty, Brian Goggin and Jonathan Bourke third.

For day three light airs are forecast for the morning with the breeze building in the afternoon, so the Race Committee has announced that the start of race three will be postponed from noon until 2 p.m. Four races remain to be sailed between now and the conclusion of the regatta on Friday 15 September and the result of all races count.

PROVISIONAL TOP FIVE AFTER TWO RACES

  • 1st - Lawrie Smith, GBR815, Alfie - 1, 1 = 2
  • 2nd - Wolf Waschkuhn, SUI318, 1quick1 - 4, 4 = 8
  • 3rd - Xavier Vanneste, BEL82, Herbie - 5, 8 = 13
  • 4th - Peter Gilmour, JPN56, YRed - 3, 12 = 15
  • 5th - Grant Gordon, GBR820, Louise Racing - 12, 6 = 18

Results are here

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Glandore Yacht Club’s Lawrie Smith, the 2015 Gold Cup and 2011 Dragon World Champion, and this season's Edinburgh Cup champion, emerged victorious in the Børge Børresen Memorial Trophy after a gruelling 10-mile-long windward leeward course in challenging conditions.

From Ireland, Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring and David Williams from the Royal St.George Yacht Club finished 24th, and Brian Goggin, Sean Murphy and Daniel Murphy from Kinsale Yacht Club were 31st. 

Despite leading at the first mark, Smith faced tough competition from half a dozen other contenders, with the race lead changing hands frequently. It was only on the final beat into the line that Smith was able to regain control and cross ahead of Denmark’s Bo Johansen. Japan’s Y-Red Yanmar Racing Team helmed by Peter Gilmour came in third, with reigning Dragon World and European Champion Wolf Waschkuhn of Switzerland finishing fourth.

The Royal Torbay Yacht Club Race Committee, led by Race Officer Stuart Childerly, faced a forecast of mainly light airs with the possibility of wind building for a period during the afternoon and clocking round to the right. The wind did exactly that, going from five to fifteen knots and through almost ninety degrees as the race progressed. Stuart and his team did an excellent job of keeping on top of the shifts and moving the marks to ensure each of the legs was as true as possible.

The fleet got away at the first time of asking, but Britain’s Mark Dicker, Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, and Tom Hill were all called over the line and had to return. Wilkinson-Cox made an impressive comeback, fighting her way back up to nineteenth place, a considerable feat in a fleet of this quality. After the race, she commented, “We’re well pleased with our boat speed, we just need not to start on the ‘ladies’ tee,’ to use a golfing analogy!”

PROVISIONAL TOP FIVE AFTER ONE RACE

  • 1st - Lawrie Smith, GBR815, Alfie - 1 = 1
  • 2nd - Bo Johansen, DEN423, Deja vu ver, 2.0 - 2 = 2
  • 3rd - Peter Gilmour, JPN56, YRed - 3 = 3
  • 4th - Wolf Waschkuhn, SUI318, 1quick1 - 4 = 4
  • 5th - Xavier Vanneste, BEL82, Herbie - 5 = 5
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Four Irish Dragon keelboats are in the hunt for the Gold Cup 2023 this weekend in Torquay.

Hosted by the Royal Torbay Yacht Club (RTYC), the regatta will officially begin with an Opening Ceremony on the Harbourside at 18:00 on Saturday, 9 September, followed by a Welcome Reception at the RTYC. Championship racing will run from Sunday 10 to Friday 15 September.

With 50 teams from across Europe, Asia, and Australasia and some of the top Dragon sailors in the World competing, the event will follow the traditional and infamously challenging Gold Cup format of six days racing with one single long windward leeward race each day and all races to count.

British Olympian and America’s Cup veteran Lawrie Smith, sailing Alfie is, entered under the burgee of Glandore Yacht Club in West Cork. 

From Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay, former national champions Peter Bowring, Neil Hegarty (Helm) and David Williams are racing. Also from the bay, Jonathan Jonathan and Barry O'Sullivan from the National Yacht Club sailing Full Speed are in action.

From Kinsale, and with the 2024 Gold Cup heading there next September, Daniel Murphy, Sean Murphy, and Brian Goggin will fly the KYC flag in Whisper this weekend in Torquay.

The Dragon Gold Cup is one of the most famous trophies in yachting and is raced for annually at venues across Europe. Quoting from the original 1937 Gold Cup Rules created by the Clyde Yacht Club’s Conference when they presented the Gold Cup, the intention of the competition is to “bring together as many competitors of different nationalities as possible in a friendly spirit”. With 14 countries from 3 continents represented and full professional to all family crews racing, this edition most certainly meets that criterion.

Torquay is a popular venue with superb racing waters, a welcoming and very experienced host club, and all the delights of the English Riviera. On behalf of the RTYC, Commodore James Clapham looks forward to welcoming the sailors; “We are delighted that the Dragon Gold Cup is returning to Torquay. Our club’s association with the class goes right back to the early days of Dragons in the UK and includes hosting the sailing for the 1948 Olympics, in which the Dragon featured, the Gold Cup in 1995 and the Edinburgh Cup no less than ten times between 1952 and 2018. Our volunteer team has been working for over two years to prepare the event and we are excited that those plans are finally coming to fruition. Torbay offers outstanding racing, our race committee is well-practised, and we are looking forward to working with Race Officer Stuart Childerley, who knows our waters well. Our hospitality, bar and restaurant teams are also at the ready to ensure the event is one that everyone will remember both afloat and ashore.”

With a host of top names participating competition will be fierce. Fresh from victory at the recent 75th Dragon Edinburgh Cup comes British Olympian and America’s Cup veteran Lawrie Smith, sailing Alfie for Glandore Yacht Club. Smith will be joined by his fellow Edinburgh Cup podium finishers, four-time World Match Racing Champion and New Zealand sailing legend Peter Gilmour of the Yanmar Racing Team, and Grant Gordon’s Louise Racing Team sailing for the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Reigning World and European Champion Wolf Waschkuhn will be hoping to achieve the elusive treble of holding the World, European and the Gold Cup trophies simultaneously. Other big names to watch out for include three-time Dragon World Champion Andy Beadsworth, sailing the Turkish Provezza Dragon, who took the silver medal at last year’s Gold Cup; 2019 Gold Cup winner Pedro Andrade from Portugal; and 2017 champion Stephan Link from Germany.

Registration and launching for the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2023 will take place from Thursday, 7 September to Saturday, 9 September, with a practice race scheduled for Saturday. Gold Cup championship racing will run from Sunday, 10 to Friday, 15 September, with a total of six races scheduled.

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Cameron Good, Simon Furney and Henry Kingston sailing ‘Little Fella’ maintained their lead to defend their Irish National Dragon Championship in Kinsale on Sunday (27 August).

The host club leaders finished with a four-point margin after a total of seven races sailed Dublin Bay’s Phantom, sailed by Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring and David Williams of the Royal St George YC.

Third in the 17-boat fleet were Kinsale Yacht Club’s Tenacious, sailed by Anthony O’Neill, Arthur Mehigan and Eoghan O'Neill, who pipped the day one leaders Whisper, sailed by Brian Goggin, Daniel Murphy and Sean Murphy, thanks to their single bullet and two third-place results.

This year's national championship gave a taster to all competitors to what racing will be like for the much anticipated Dragon Gold Cup to be held in Kinsale next year.

The crew of Little Fella (Cameron Good, Simon Furney and Henry Kingston) and KYC Dragon class captains Brian Goggin and Daniel Murphy of Cantor Fitzgerald. Little Fella won the Dragon National Championship for the second year in a row Photo: Dave CullinaneThe crew of Little Fella (Cameron Good, Simon Furney and Henry Kingston) and KYC Dragon class captains Brian Goggin and Daniel Murphy of Cantor Fitzgerald. Little Fella won the Dragon National Championship for the second year in a row Photo: Dave Cullinane

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Defending Champions Cameron Good, Simon Furney and Henry Kingston sailing 'Little Fella' have moved into the lead at the Irish National Dragon Championships in Kinsale on Friday (25 August).

The host club leaders have a five-point margin after five races sailed over Dublin Bay's Phantom sailed by Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring and David Williams of the Royal St George YC.

Third in the 17-boat fleet are the day one leaders Whisper, sailed by Brian Goggin, Daniel Murphy and Sean Murphy.

Racing continues on Saturday.

Second overall - Dublin Bay's Phantom sailed by Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring and David Williams of the Royal St George YCSecond overall - Dublin Bay's Phantom sailed by Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring and David Williams of the Royal St George YC Photo: Bob Bateman

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Whisper — sailed by Daniel Murphy, his brother Sean and Brian Goggin — tops the fleet after the first day of racing in the Irish National Dragon Championships in Kinsale on Thursday (24 August).

The home team scored a bullet in the first race with a fourth-place finish in the second, enough to put them ahead of the Royal St George’s Phantom (Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring & David Williams) who placed second and third respectively. Both are on five nett points.

Little Fella, another Kinsale YC home entry and last year’s championship winner, is in third after a stronger performance in the second race, second over their previous fifth.

The highly touted Jaguar Sailing Team from the Royal St George is much further down the table in eighth place after a disastrous second race which saw them trailing most of the fleet in 15th.

Racing continues on Friday (25 August).

Dragon National Championships 2023 Photo Gallery Day One at Kinsale Yacht Club By Bob Bateman

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Lawrie Smith’s Alfie from Glandore Harbour Yacht Club, crewed by Richard Parslow, Goncalo Ribeiro and Ruairidh Scott, is 75th Edinburgh Cup and UK Dragon Grand Prix 2023 Champion.

Peter Gilmour’s YRED of the Japanese Yanmar Sailing Team takes second place overall and wins the new Britannia Trophy for the yacht with the best score without discard.

Defending champion Andy Beadsworth sailing Provezza Dragon completes the overall podium in third place.

Chris Grosscurth’s Fit Chick from the Medway, crewed by Jono Brown and Emma York, wins the Corinthian all amateur Edinburgh Cup Trophy.

The fifth and final race of the 75th Edinburgh Cup and UK Dragon Grand Prix was reminiscent of the great 12 Metre battles of the America’s Cup, as two of the World’s most talented sailors went head-to-head. Going into the race four-time World Match Racing Champion and America’s Cup helm Peter Gilmour and Britain’s Olympic Bronze Medallist, America’s Cup helm and Whitbread Race veteran Lawrie Smith knew that, allowing for discard, they were on equal points, each counting two firsts and a second.

After a three-hour delay to allow strong winds and big seas to abate and with a south easterly of 15 to 22 knots blowing down a two-mile beat, war was declared. Pre-start they were clearly sizing each other up, both started at the pin end with Smith slightly ahead and to weather. At the first mark Smith led the race with Gilmour right on his tail. Passing opportunities were few and far between due to a heavily left biased beat, and although Gilmour kept pressing, when Smith still held the lead as the boats turned onto the final run you might have been forgiven for thinking it was all over.

Gilmour was like a dog with a bone though, forcing Smith to pull out his best defensive moves as they constantly traded gybes. Nearing the final leeward mark on starboard Gilmour spotted his moment and took advantage of a timely wave and gust to surge level to leeward. In classic match racing style voices were raised and kites flapped as Gilmour and his team worked to press home their hard-fought gain.

But Smith is not an easy man to suppress and at the leeward gate, although Gilmour rounded first by mere seconds, Smith was able to claim the favoured left hand mark forcing Gilmour into the stronger tide for longer and requiring him to make one more tack on the beat. As they came to the line Smith had regained the upper hand crossing just seconds ahead of Gilmour to claim his second Edinburgh Cup win. Crossing the line behind the leading pair came Andy Beadsworth’s Turkish Provezza Dragon, securing him the final step on the podium.

After racing Alfie’s Ruairidh Scott commented, “We just had one race today. There were very strong winds this morning and east going tide made it pretty un-sailable first thing, but when the tide switched the seas moderated and the wind calmed down a bit. So we got one race in this afternoon which was a nice race. The situation meant that the title was between ourselves and Peter Gilmour, so unsurprisingly we started close to each other but we managed to get the better of the start. But Gilly and his team on YRED came into us on both runs and in the end, I think there was maybe only two to three boat lengths in it after a two hour race.”

L-R - RYS Rear Commodore Yachting Bruce Huber presents Emma York, Jono Brown and Chris Grosscurth with the Corinthian Edinburgh Cup Trophy and IDA Championship Coordinator Martin Payne presents them with the UK Dragon Grand Prix prizeL-R - RYS Rear Commodore Yachting Bruce Huber presents Emma York, Jono Brown and Chris Grosscurth with the Corinthian Edinburgh Cup Trophy and IDA Championship Coordinator Martin Payne presents them with the UK Dragon Grand Prix prize

In the Corinthian Division Chris Grosscurth’s Fit Chick team won by a single point from Ireland’s Martin Byrne. Simon Barter’s Bertie, of the local Solent fleet, took third place on countback alone from Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen.

The regatta concluded with a spectacular 75th Edinburgh Cup Gala Dinner sponsored by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust. The competitors and their guests assembled on the Squadron Platform for predinner Hendrick Gin Neptunia Fizz cocktails, before moving to the Pavilion for dinner and the prize presentations.

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For all you need on the Marine Environment - covering the latest news and updates on marine science and wildlife, weather and climate, power from the sea and Ireland's coastal regions and communities - the place to be is Afloat.ie.

Coastal Notes

The Coastal Notes category covers a broad range of stories, events and developments that have an impact on Ireland's coastal regions and communities, whose lives and livelihoods are directly linked with the sea and Ireland's coastal waters.

Topics covered in Coastal Notes can be as varied as the rare finding of sea-life creatures, an historic shipwreck with secrets to tell, or even a trawler's net caught hauling much more than just fish.

Other angles focusing the attention of Coastal Notes are Ireland's maritime museums, which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of our nautical heritage, and those who harvest the sea using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety pose an issue, plying their trade along the rugged wild western seaboard.

Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied as the environment they come from, and which shape people's interaction with the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

Marine Wildlife

One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with Marine Wildlife. It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. And as boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify, even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat. Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse, it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to our location in the North Atlantic, there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe. From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals, the Marine Wildlife category documents the most interesting accounts around our shores. And we're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and video clips, too!

Also valuable is the unique perspective of all those who go afloat, from coastal sailing to sea angling to inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing, as what they encounter can be of great importance to organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Thanks to their work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. But as impressive as the list is, the experts believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves, keep a sharp look out!

Weather

As an island in the North Atlantic, Ireland's fate is decided by Weather more so than many other European countries. When storm-force winds race across the Irish Sea, ferry and shipping services are cut off, disrupting our economy. When swollen waves crash on our shores, communities are flooded and fishermen brace for impact - both to their vessels and to their livelihoods.

Keeping abreast of the weather, therefore, is as important to leisure cruisers and fishing crews alike - for whom a small craft warning can mean the difference between life and death - as it is to the communities lining the coast, where timely weather alerts can help protect homes and lives.

Weather affects us all, and Afloat.ie will keep you informed on the hows and the whys.

Marine Science

Perhaps it's the work of the Irish research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of Marine Science for the future growth of Ireland's emerging 'blue economy'.

From marine research to development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. Whether it's Wavebob ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration, the Marine Science category documents the work of Irish marine scientists and researchers and how they have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

Power From The Sea

The message from the experts is clear: offshore wind and wave energy is the future. And as Ireland looks towards the potential of the renewable energy sector, generating Power From The Sea will become a greater priority in the State's 'blue growth' strategy.

Developments and activities in existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector, and those of the energy exploration industry, point to the future of energy requirements for the whole world, not just in Ireland. And that's not to mention the supplementary industries that sea power projects can support in coastal communities.

Irish ports are already in a good position to capitalise on investments in offshore renewable energy services. And Power From The Sea can even be good for marine wildlife if done properly.

Aside from the green sector, our coastal waters also hold a wealth of oil and gas resources that numerous prospectors are hoping to exploit, even if people in coastal and island areas are as yet unsure of the potential benefits or pitfalls for their communities.

Changing Ocean Climate

Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked - the ocean plays a crucial role in the global climate system in a number of ways. These include absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere and absorbing 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity. But our marine ecosystems are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change.

The Marine Institute, with its national and international partners, works to observe and understand how our ocean is changing and analyses, models and projects the impacts of our changing oceans. Advice and forecasting projections of our changing oceans and climate are essential to create effective policies and management decisions to safeguard our ocean.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is fundamental to life on earth and affects so many facets of our everyday activities. One of the greatest challenges we face as a society is that of our changing climate. The strong international collaborations that the Marine Institute has built up over decades facilitates a shared focusing on our changing ocean climate and developing new and enhanced ways of monitoring it and tracking changes over time.

“Our knowledge and services help us to observe these patterns of change and identify the steps to safeguard our marine ecosystems for future generations.”

The Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate research survey, which has been running since 2004, facilitates long term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland. This repeat survey, which takes place on board RV Celtic Explorer, enables scientists to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark for future changes.

Scientists collect data on temperature, salinity, water currents, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean. This high quality oceanographic data contributes to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. Physical oceanographic data from the survey is submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and, in addition, the survey contributes to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the ‘Clean Atlantic’ project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

Dr Caroline Cusack, who co-ordinates scientific activities on board the RV Celtic Explorer for the annual survey, said, “The generation of long-term series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources.”

Other activities during the survey in 2019 included the deployment of oceanographic gliders, two Argo floats (Ireland’s contribution to EuroArgo) and four surface drifters (Interreg Atlantic Area Clean Atlantic project). The new Argo floats have the capacity to measure dissolved ocean and biogeochemical parameters from the ocean surface down to a depth of 2,000 metres continuously for up to four years, providing important information as to the health of our oceans.

During the 2019 survey, the RV Celtic Explorer retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station and deployed a replacement M6 weather buoy, as part of the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network (IMDBON).

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IMDBON is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann and is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The data buoys have instruments which collect weather and ocean data including wind speed and direction, pressure, air and sea surface temperature and wave statistics. This data provides vital information for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.

“It is only in the last 20 years, meteorologists and climatologists have really began to understood the pivotal role the ocean plays in determining our climate and weather,” said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann. “The real-time information provided by the Irish data buoy network is particularly important for our mariners and rescue services. The M6 data buoy in the Atlantic provides vital information on swell waves generated by Atlantic storms. Even though the weather and winds may be calm around our shores, there could be some very high swells coming in from Atlantic storms.”