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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

Kinsale Yacht Club is gearing up to host the Irish National Dragon Championships next weekend, which is set to attract boats from the UK, Dublin Bay and Glandore, who will join the strong local Kinsale fleet.

The event, sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald, promises to be a thrilling competition with last year's champions, "Little Fella" helmed by Cameron Good, looking to defend their crown on home waters. However, they won't have it their own way with "TBD" showing early form and winning the South Coasts in Kinsale earlier this season. Other competitors to look out for include Royal St. George's "Phantom" (Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring & David Williams), International Dragon Sailor Martin Byrne, and the Jaguar sailing team, who are rushing back from the Edinburgh Cup to make the start line on time. 

Regatta Director Maeve Cotter is keeping a close eye on the activities as Kinsale Yacht Club will also host the prestigious Gold Cup in September 2024. "We are treating the Nationals this year as a warmup for the Gold Cup next September and are delighted to have principal race officer Con Murphy oversee proceedings," she commented. The racing will take place on the Gold Cup course, well outside the harbor, giving competitors a taste of what they can expect next year. 

"Daniel Murphy and Cantor Fitzgerald are instrumental sponsors of the event, with Kinsale Yacht Club hugely indebted to their significant sponsorship," Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Matthias Hellstern told Afloat.

Daniel, a well-known Dragon sailor, will sail on "Whisper" together with his brother Sean and Brian Goggin. The event is set to kick off next Thursday (August 24th), and the organisers are optimistic that it will be a successful and entertaining competition for all involved.

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There were big gains and big losses across the fleet as teams battled variable shifting breezes and strong tides on the penultimate day of the 75th Edinburgh Cup and UK Dragon Grand Prix in Cowes.

Two bullets have given Peter Gilmour a six-point overall lead. The early leader Lawrie Smith drops down into second, with Grant Gordon holding third.

Peter Cunningham jumps up from tenth to fourth overall, while a favourite Andy Beadsworth is Black Flagged in race four.

Ireland's Martin Byrne is lying second in the Corinthian division.

Winning the Dragon Edinburgh Cup has always been regarded as one of the great challenges in one design keelboat sailing, and this 75th edition is proving as challenging as any of its predecessors. Having spent a windless second day ashore, the 41-strong fleet was back out in the Central Solent today for races three and four of the eight-race series, and what cracking races they were. The wind was in the southeast quadrant, shifty and ranging from 10 to 15 knots with occasional short bursts up to 18. With the exception of the first race, a building ebb tide made left the obvious way to go upwind, but how far left was the big question.

Peter Gilmour’s was the team of the day, claiming two impressive wins and jumping from fourth to first overall. For others though, it was a day of mixed fortunes, with some leaping up the scoreboard and others tumbling down.

Talking through their day back ashore, Peter Gilmour said, “We obviously had a pretty good day. We started well in both races. Sam did a really nice job of setting a current strategy. It’s always tricky out there and we followed it to the T and it really seemed to work well for us. In the first race we got out to the right in the flood tide and got pushed up to the top mark, and we led around there and won that race. And then in the next race we got over to the left and the relief from the ebb and it made a big difference. In the first race we started at the committee boat and in the second at the pin end, and that very much reflected on where we wanted to go. I think if you can start well and keep your nose ahead and not have a boat underneath you pinching, it gives you a great opportunity to sneak out and just get that first cross which is what we got in the first race.”

Overnight leader Lawrie Smith didn’t fare so well in race three, finishing twelfth, but came back in race two with a second to put him six points behind Gilmour in second. Grant Gordon went into the day in third and came out in third thanks to a ninth and fourth, and now sits three points behind Smith.

Peter Cunningham was the big mover of the day as he and his team found their rhythm in the boat and got to grips with those ever-tricky Solent tides. Race three saw them take second place behind Gilmour and they followed it up with a third in race four, shooting up the overall standings from tenth to fourth.

Also having a good day was Jan Secher whose seventh and fifth put him onto equal points with Cunningham and fifth overall on countback. “We had two good solid races so we’re super happy with that as it’s a really good fleet. Long races though so we’re pretty tired after two races of five legs. But a good day” – Jan Secher

Inevitably when one boat gains another loses, and it was defending Edinburgh Cup Champion Andy Beadsworth who lost out most today. He went into the day in second and tied on points with Grant Gordon. A third in race three put him jointly at the top of the leader board with Gilmour. Sadly, though he fell foul of the black flag in race four and was disqualified, tumbling him down into twelfth overall. No doubt he will be keen to see the single discard introduced after the fifth race.

Likewise falling down the rankings, although not quite so dramatically, was Gavia Wilkinson-Cox. She took a fourth in race three and approached the first weather mark of race four in fifth place, but with a strong foul tide running another boat misjudged its approach, ending up in irons and forcing Wilkinson-Cox to bail out losing her at least ten places. Despite her best efforts she could only finish seventeenth so drops from fifth to sixth in the standings.

In the Corinthian Division overnight leaders Chris Grosscurth and Martin Byrne had solid days and remain in first and second respectively, but Simon Barter has leapfrogged over Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen to move into third. Hong Kong-based William Swigart and his crew had never sailed Dragons before this event and chartered a boat specially to compete. They’d also never sailed in the Solent before. After a quick crash course in both Dragon sailing and complex tidal currents, nothing was going to hold them back, and they finished sixth in race four to round out the Corinthian top five going into the final day.

Will Swigart is based in Hong Kong but hails from California and is a Star sailor of long-standing. He and fellow Star sailors David Ceasar of Canada and Arthur Anosov from the Ukraine decided that the opportunity to sail in the 75th Edinburgh Cup was too good to miss. David Ceasar explains, “We saw this was the 75th Anniversary and thought it was going to be a great event in a great venue, so we decided this was the perfect time to strike, charter a boat and see what Dragon sailing is all about. They are wonderful boats, they set up really nicely, and they love the breeze which we like. We ended up sixth in the second race today.”

With two-mile legs the races are long and test the competitors’ physical and mental endurance. 

Up to four races remain to be sailed on the final day and once five races have been completed the single-race discard will come into play. This is likely to bring significant place changes as all but three of the top competitors are carrying double-figure results.

The forecast for the final day is wet and windy, with nineteen to thirty knots from the east in the morning. By lunchtime, the wind should start to abate, clocking to east-south-east, and the rain will ease, so the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Race Committee is hopefully that whilst completing the full eight-race programme is not realistic, they should nonetheless achieve two more races to decide the winners. A single-scoring discard will be introduced once five races have been completed.

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While the sun shone and temperatures hit the mid-20s, sadly, the wind gods did not smile on day two of the 75th Edinburgh Cup and UK Dragon Grand Prix 2023 in Cowes.

Rob Brown and his Royal Yacht Squadron Race Committee initially announced a two-hour postponement to see if a sea breeze would develop and then extended it to three hours when signs of cumulus clouds began to develop over the mainland shore. But sadly, it was not to be, and at 12.30, the decision was made to abandon racing for the day and allow everyone to enjoy a good lunch instead.

Whilst sailing might not have been possible, the sailors nonetheless enjoyed a wonderful day. Football fans were able to watch England’s Lionesses beat Australian Matilda’s in the Women's World Cup, refreshing swims were enjoyed from the beach, boats were tweaked, and tours of some of the Island’s attractions were organised.

And at 3pm everyone reconvened on the Royal Yacht Squadron lawn to enjoy “Not” Après Sailing drinks. Having been postponed the previous evening, the Day One Prize giving was also held with overall race one winner Lawrie Smith and Corinthian race winners Dun Laoghaire's Martin Byrne and Jono Brown amongst those receiving engraved glassware and bottles of Hendricks Neptunia Gin.

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Lawrie Smith, sailing Alfie for the Glandore Harbour Yacht Club in West Cork, gave a sailing masterclass in perfect Solent conditions to claim twin victories on the opening day of the 75th Edinburgh Cup and UK Dragon Grand Prix in Cowes. Andy Beadsworth’s Provezza Dragon from Turkey claimed a fourth and a second, while Grant Gordon’s Louise Racing took a pair of thirds, leaving the two boats tied on six points, with Beadsworth standing second overall and Gordon third on countback.

Chris Grosscurth leads the Corinthian (all amateur) fleet from Royal St. George's Martin Byrne of Dublin Bay and Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen.

For the 42-strong fleet, conditions really could not have been better, with hot sun and a lovely sea breeze that built from around 10-12 knots at the start of racing to the mid-teens by the end, gently clocking from south-west to west as the day wore on. The Royal Yacht Squadron’s Race Committee, led by Race Officer Rob Brown, used their well-rehearsed course “walking” technique, which involves moving the marks for each leg to counteract the tide's influence, on an approximately two-mile course over the Bramble Bank.

After racing Nigel Young, tactician aboard Ron James’ Fei-Lin’s Flirtation, summed up the day perfectly saying, “Today the conditions were a typical sea breeze enhanced wind and the sun was shining. A regatta that’s run by the Royal Yacht Squadron is always really sweetly run, and the Race Committee were fantastic today. And the socials organised by Gavia are always going to be good, so it’s hard not to enjoy yourself!”

In both races the fleet was initially over eager, and the general recall flag got a workout, but they got away cleanly on the second attempt each time. The fleet was well spread along the line, although the pin was clearly favoured. Smith did a great job of both starts and led from the outset, seeing off the only real challenges to his supremacy before the first marks. Having established dominance in the early stages of each race he went on to extend and take both by an impressive margin.

Whilst Smith may have been off and away, there was no lack of action in the chasing pack, with both races seeing constant place changes. Ireland’s Martin Byrne followed Smith around the first mark of race one, closely followed by Switzerland’s Dirk Oldenburgh, Peter Gilmour and his Japanese YRED Yanmar Racing team and Cowes-based Gavia Wilkinson-Cox in Jerboa. By the first leeward mark, Gilmour had made his way up into second and there he stayed, but the fight for third was still on. Gordon had rounded the first mark in eighth then worked his way up into third, but it was Andy Beadsworth, helming the Turkish Provezza Dragon, who surprised everyone with a spectacular recovery from a decidedly mediocre start, dragging himself from well buried in the pack up into fourth with Sweden’s Jan Secher in Miss Behaviour fifth, Wilkinson-Cox sixth and Byrne seventh.

The Race Committee did an excellent job of turning the races around quickly, and once again Smith dominated from the outset, winning by an even bigger margin than race one. Whilst neither particularly shone on the first beat, by the end of the first run Beadsworth was up into second place with Grant hard on his heels. On the second beat Gordon had got through into second, but Beadsworth kept pressing and overtook him again on the final beat. Following Gordon home for fourth place was Germany’s Hannes Hollaender in Grace, with Martin “Stavros” Payne sailing True Story fifth and Gilmour sixth.

In the overall standings Lawrie Smith counts two points and has a four-point lead over Andy Beadsworth and Grant Gordon, who both have six points. In fourth place overall on eight points is Peter Gilmour with Gavia Wilkinson-Cox rounding out the top five.

Speaking after racing Andy Beadsworth commented, “Obviously Lawrie did very well today with two bullets, we had a fourth and a second and Grant had two thirds so it’s pretty tight at the front, but it’s still wide open I think. It’s the first day of the regatta, you can’t win it but you could lose it and we’re in the hunt so we’re pretty happy.”

In the Corinthian Fleet for all amateur crews, Chris Grosscurth’s Fit Chick from the Medway put in an excellent showing taking two ninth places overall and a second and first in the Corinthians. Second Corinthian overall and Corinthian race one winner is Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team, with Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen third overall, Simon Barter’s Bertie fourth and William Swigart’s Full Speed from the Royal Hong Kong YC fifth.

The Dragon fleet is famed as much for its fun and camaraderie as for its world-class sailing, so after racing, the crews repaired to the Royal Yacht Squadron for Après Sailing Drinks. After that, it was on to the Island Sailing Club for a Celebration Cocktail Party.

The forecast for the second day of racing is for more beautiful sunshine, but much lighter wind, particularly in the morning. By early afternoon there is the possibility of 7-11 knots from the eastern quadrant and so the race committee remains hopeful of achieving racing, although an initial postponement is quite likely. Two of the eight scheduled races have now been completed and the regatta continues until Friday 18 August. A single scoring discard will be introduced once five races have been completed.

Provisional Top Ten After Two Races

  • 1 - Lawrie Smith - GBR815 Alfie - 1, 1 = 2
  • 2 - Andy Beadsworth - TUR12 Provezza Dragon - 4, 2 = 6
  • 3 - Grant Gordon - GBR820 Louise Racing - 3, 3 = 6
  • 4 - Peter Gilmour - JPN56 YRED - 2, 6 = 8
  • 5 - Gavia Wilkinson-Cox - GBR831 Jerboa - 6, 7 = 13
  • 6 - Hannes Holleander - GER1075 Grace - 11, 4 = 15
  • 7 - Jan Secher - SWE800 Miss Behaviour - 5, 11 = 16
  • 8 - Chris Grosscurth - GBR753 Fit Chick - 9, 9 = 18 (1st Corinthian)
  • 9 - Torvar Mirsky - AUS551 Yeahnah - 8, 12 = 20
  • 10 - Martin Payne - GBR818 True Story - 18, 5 = 23
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Ireland's Tony O’Gorman, winner of four Edinburgh Cups between 1978 and 1984, was a special guest at the Opening Ceremony and Cocktail Party at the Royal Yacht Squadron to mark the official start of the 75th Edinburgh Cup and UK Dragon Grand Prix. 

The sailors and their guests enjoyed champagne and canapes as Regatta Chair Gavia Wilkinson-Cox welcomed the competitors and thanked everyone involved in making the regatta possible and the many sponsors for their generous support.

Defending 2022 Edinburgh Cup Champion Andy Beadsworth, who was racing earlier this summer in Dun Laoghaire, will be racing with his Turkish Provezza Dragon team of Simon Fry and Enes Çaylak.

 L-R - 75th Edinburgh Cup Regatta Chair Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, 1963 Edinburgh Cup winner Martin Parry and reigning Edinburgh Cup Champion Andy Beadsworth. All images (c) Rick and James Tomlinson L-R - 75th Edinburgh Cup Regatta Chair Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, 1963 Edinburgh Cup winner Martin Parry and reigning Edinburgh Cup Champion Andy Beadsworth. Photo: James Tomlinson

41 teams from 12 nations and 4 continents will race for the honour of having their name engraved on the historic Edinburgh Cup, which has been awarded to the winner of the Dragon Open British Championship since it was presented by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1949. With the event also incorporating the UK Dragon Grand Prix, one of just four European Grand Prix Circuit events in 2023, it has attracted an exceptionally high calibre entry.

Ireland’s Martin Byrne, owner/helm of Jaguar Sailing Team and winner of the 2011 Edinburgh Cup is looking forward to the competition. "It’s the 75th Anniversary this year but the Edinburgh Cup is an event we would not want to miss at any time. Clearly, the competition is at its highest in this Anniversary year and that will be our biggest challenge. We enjoy the welcome we receive each year when we travel over from Ireland to compete. The Edinburgh Cup has always been a must-do event for us, but Irish Dragons have a long and successful history in this competition, and we are proud and privileged to continue this tradition."

Fresh from victory in the Dragon Class at Cowes Week 2023 comes 1999 Edinburgh Cup winner Martin Payne who has been impressed with the organisation so far. “We have all the ingredients for a fantastic event. Huge thanks to Gavia Wilkinson-Cox for the exceptional organisation, to the measurement team led by our IDA measurer Bence Toronyi, and to all the Cowes Yacht Haven Staff for helping launch the boats. The registration at the RYS has been a delight and we all look forward to a great 75th Edinburgh Cup.”

Racing in his first Edinburgh Cup will be Australia’s match racing legend Peter Gilmour, at the helm of the Yanmar Racing Team’s Y-RED with crew Jasuhiro Yaji and Sam Gilmour. “The 75th Edinburgh Cup is going to be a tremendous event. It’s exciting for the Yanmar Racing team to be a part of it and for the Yanmar Group to be a supporting sponsor. The amazing prestige and heritage of the Edinburgh Cup goes hand in hand with Yanmar’s long history. There is a tremendous field of sailors, and it will be interesting once again to take on the tricky and challenging conditions of the Solent. A big thanks from Yaji san, Sam and myself for letting us be a part of it.”

Very much looking forward to the competition is Graham Bailey, current Turkish Open Dragon Champion, Bronze Medallist at the 2023 Dragon Worlds and three-time Edinburgh Cup winning helm, who will race the 75-year young Bluebottle with Julia Bailey, Will Heritage and Mark Lees. “It’s wonderful to be here for the double celebration of Bluebottle and the Edinburgh Cup’s 75th birthdays. There are some strong teams entered and we’ll put our best foot forward, but one thing we are certain of is that we are going to have fun!”

Also racing will be British Olympic Bronze Medallist Lawrie Smith, top French sailor Gery Trentesaux, Danish double Olympic Gold Medallist and five-time Edinburgh Cup Champion Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, Australian World Match Racing Champion Torvar Mirsky, TP52 and MOD70 veteran Peter Cunningham from the Caymen Islands, top Hong Kong Dragon sailor Marc Castagnet, and a host of other top names from across the UK and Europe.

Racing will take place from Tuesday 15 to Friday 19 August with up to eight races scheduled over the four days with a first warning signal at 10:55 daily. Racing will take place on windward-leeward courses in the central Solent under the supervision of the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Race Officer Rob Brown, himself a past Edinburgh Cup winner.

The forecast for the opening day is promising plenty of sunshine with a light 3 to 8-knot westerly breeze in the morning, which is expected to back to south-westerly and build to 10 to 15 knots with gusts into the low twenties during the afternoon. With Wednesday's forecast threatening very light winds, the Race Committee has announced that it intends to run three races on the opening day.

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Ireland will be represented at The Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes this month when the club hosts the 75th Edinburgh Cup and International Dragon UK Grand Prix starting this Sunday, August 13th.

Royal St. George's Martin Byrne of the Jaguar Sailing Team in Dun Laoghaire, who is a past winner of the event, will be Ireland's sole representative at what promises to be the biggest in over a decade, with participants from 12 different countries, including Scandinavia, Turkey, Australia, Japan, and the Cayman Islands. See entries here.

Championship racing will take place from Tuesday, August 15th to Friday, August 18th, with a social program that includes an Opening Ceremony sponsored by Yanmar and a Gala Prizegiving Dinner sponsored by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust. This year, the trust is presenting a new perpetual trophy for the Edinburgh Cup, which is a maquette of a Royal Yachtsman's statue commissioned in 2011 in memory of all who served aboard BRITANNIA. The trophy will be awarded to the top-scoring Dragon, counting all race results.

Bluebottle, the legendary Dragon built by Camper & Nicholson and presented to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip at their wedding in 1947, will be present at the event. The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust rescued Bluebottle after it fell into disrepair and she will be raced by past Edinburgh Cup winners Graham and Julia Bailey. The duo recently won the Turkish National Championship and claimed third place at the 2023 Dragon World Championship in Bodrum, making them a team to watch during the Edinburgh Cup.

The Edinburgh Cup's rules allow for a single race discard in the overall score for the regatta, but in the early years of the competition, all races counted towards the overall result. The new Britannia Trophy will be awarded to the top-scoring Dragon, counting all race results. With so many countries represented and top-performing teams vying for the coveted trophy, the 75th Edinburgh Cup and International Dragon UK Grand Prix is set to be an exciting and competitive event.

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Royal St. George Dragon ace Neil Hegarty sailing Phantom and crewed four-up, has moved straight into the lead of the 12-boat Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

The local crew of Hegarty with David, Hillary and Emma Williams scored 2,1,1 in the three races on the Salthill course to lead the national champions Cameron Good, Henry Kingston and Simon Furney sailing Little Fella from Kinsale overall by four points. 

Racing was in strong southerly breezes up to 20 knots that moderated slightly in the afternoon and went left to 160 degrees. 

Cameron Good, Henry Kingston, and Simon Furney sailing Little Fella from Kinsale lie second overall after three races sailed at the 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Bob BatemanCameron Good, Henry Kingston, and Simon Furney sailing Little Fella from Kinsale lie second overall after three races sailed in the Dragon class at the 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Bob Bateman

Lying third is Hegarty's clubmate Alistair Kissane in Serafina. 

The strong southerly winds are expected to continue for Saturday's races before moderating for Sunday's conclusion of the biennial event.

The Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, and Royal St. George Yacht Club are organising the ninth Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

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Glandore Harbour Yacht Club Commodore Tim Forde reports on success in a very sociable event by the thriving local International Dragons against a cross-channel challenge:

“The Celtic Challenge 2023 against Royal Anglesey Yacht Club from the Menai Straits opened with dinner for the teams at the GHYC Clubhouse on Friday, June 16th, courtesy of our sponsors and the dedication of Social Secretary Myriam O Connor, assisted by Sally Wyles and team.

“Racing started on Saturday 17th with a coastal course to Castletownshend. An excellent start and skilful sailing saw Moonshine helmed by Welsh sailor Alistair Dickson, former RYA Director of Sport Development, show a clean pair of heels to the fleet from the off, to lead all the way to the beacon at Castletownshend.

Close start with team covering as the sun starts to work its way through. Photo: Kathleen HayesClose start with team covering as the sun starts to work its way through. Photo: Kathleen Hayes

ALL CHANGE AT CASTLETOWNSHEND

“The notoriously fickle conditions on entering Castletownshend saw the run quickly transition to a beat. Shore hugging tactics and quick drills saw GHYC’s Aphrodite and Pongo break Welsh hearts by sneaking through inside in the final few hundred metres to steal 1st and 2nd place and Race 1 victory. Both teams adjourned to the familiar welcome at Mary Ann’s, where host Fergus presented with his customary cheer and generosity to the competitors.

BOAT-SWAP AFTER LUNCH

“Swapping boats after lunch, the crews set themselves homeward following the start by Race Officer Diarmuid O Sullivan. Alistair Dickson, now helming Zu, and determined to overturn the morning’s disappointment, tacked away early onto a long port tack in clear air to secure his exit from Castletownshend, hunted all the way by GHYC’s Ian Woolward on Supremacy. Dickson showed his class however, and crossed the line in Glandore with over two minutes lead on the fleet. Royal Anglesey’s 1,3,5 securing Race 2 victory and leaving the event tied after two races.

Great sport towards building up a healthy appetite for the next feast. Photo: Kathleen HayesGreat sport towards building up a healthy appetite for the next feast. Photo: Kathleen Hayes

“Day One of racing was concluded with a great dinner for both fleets at the Glandore Inn. With a win for each fleet on Day 1, Sunday’s in-harbour racing effectively meant a clean sheet start for each side. Four races windward/leeward using the permanent marks - were planned and achieved. Grim forecasts of torrential thunderstorms and similar did not dare materialise with the fleets carving their way into the freshening southerly breeze in a scene that looked more akin to the Greek Islands than West Cork as witnessed by the great racing images of Kathleen Hayes (aka Beken of Roury Glen) and the amazing drone footage of Heather Mahmood.

EARLY STRIKE FOR GLANDORE

“Round the cans maestro Diarmuid O Donovan on Pongo struck early for GHYC with Race 3 victory seconds ahead of second-placed Leah with RAYC Helm Martin Hartley. Isle of Wight G.P. and RAYC sailor Dr. Dominic Breen Turner had excellent race wins in races 4 & 5 helming both Magic and Aphrodite in sequence.

While substantial leads occasionally opened up, it was often neck-and-neck. Photo: Kathleen HayesWhile substantial leads occasionally opened up, it was often neck-and-neck. Photo: Kathleen Hayes

“These sequential wins gave competitors afloat a strong impression that the result would come down to the wire but ashore the numbers were resolving themselves conclusively into a solid GHYC victory which was sealed by Race 6 victory for Ian Woolward on Supremacy, two minutes ahead of the second-placed RAYC boat.

“The competitors retired immediately to a prize-giving graciously hosted by Patrick Casey and Family at Casey’s Bar. It was here that Sailing Secretary Hal Andrews revealed the full picture on the scoring, with GHYC securing The Challenge by a margin of 4.5 to RAYC’s 1.5 and RAYC Fleet Captain Alistair Dickson presented the Celtic Challenge Trophy to Dragon Class Captain John Wyles.

The perfect sailing day is enjoyed by the Dragons at Glandore Photo: Kathleen HayesThe perfect sailing day is enjoyed by the Dragons at Glandore Photo: Kathleen Hayes

CHALLENGE AT BEAUMARIS NEXT YEAR

“Both teams, friends and family reunited later for a beautiful meal on the terrace at Hayes Bar to close out an incredibly competitive and enjoyable weekend. The genuine friendship that has developed between the Clubs was much in evidence, with conversation frequently drifting to talk of Celtic Challenge 2024 and plans for the Glandore Dragons crossing the channel to the scenically magnificent Beaumaris next summer.

“Congratulations and well done to all the race management and safety personnel - without whom the event would not have been possible - and to the Dragon owners for turning over their prized possessions to their Welsh competitors. The boats used were Aphrodite, Leah, Magic, Moonshine, Pongo, Phyloong, Supremacy and Zu".

“The Boats of the Ever-Young”. The Dragon Class’s Great Great Grandfather, nonagenarian Don Street, continues to be active with the Glandore fleet. Photo: Kathleen Hayes“The Boats of the Ever-Young”. The Dragon Class’s Great Great Grandfather, nonagenarian Don Street, continues to be active with the Glandore fleet. Photo: Kathleen Hayes

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Dragons and Squibs raced the At Home Regatta of Glandore Harbour Sailing Club in West Cork, where the second of the two-day event decided the overall outcome.

Supremacy, helmed by former British Olympian Iain Woolward, with crew Kevin Hayes and Eolann Miles, won the Donie O Sullivan Memorial Cup just ahead of Jamie Frame’s Moonshine. “Iain has retired to Castletownshend and the club are delighted to see him on the water, passing his considerable skills to a new generation,” GHYC said.

Sailing Secretary Hal Andrews won all four races in a depleted Squibs fleet, with crew Margaret Potenz/Rory Doyle. Second was Barry Speight’s Nimble.

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In Bodrum, Turkey, two clear starts under a black flag saw 24 teams from ten nations racing in the most amazing conditions on the first day of the 2023 Dragon World Championships.  Blue sky, 12 knots of wind in crystal clear water.

Grant Gordon helming GBR 820 leads after recording a 2nd and 4th place. 

Close behind is Portugal's Michael Zankel, and in 3rd position is the late Queen of England's "Bluebottle" GBR 192, helmed by Graham Bailey.

There are no Irish boats competing. 

More here.

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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.”