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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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James Matthews, David Good, Harry Lewis and Fergal O’Hanlon of the host club were the overall winners by three points of the O'Leary Life Irish South Coast Dragon Championships sailed at Kinsale Yacht Club from 26th – 28th May.

A fleet of thirteen boats took part, including visitors from the Royal St.George YC, Glandore Harbour YC and Royal Irish YC.

The prevailing high-pressure system resulted in great racing with easterly winds for the three days under the direction of PRO, John Stallard.

Going into the final race, only one point separated Phantom (Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring & David Williams) from TBD (James Matthews, David Good, Harry Lewis and Fergal O’Hanlon).

TBD (James Matthews, David Good, Harry Lewis and Fergal O’Hanlon) were the overall winners of the Dragon South Coasts at Kinsale Photo: David CullinaneTBD (James Matthews, David Good, Harry Lewis and Fergal O’Hanlon) were the overall winners of the Dragon South Coasts at Kinsale Photo: David Cullinane

Following the start of the final race, Phantom remained on a starboard tack and head inshore, whereas TBD tacked early onto port and headed further out to sea.

The port tack proved to be the winning tack for TBD as the was ahead of Phantom at the weather mark and held her lead for the rest of the race. The final results were TBD in first place (11 points),Phantom in second place (12 points) and Little Fella in third place with 15 points.

Overall results are below

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Kinsale Yacht Club will host the “O’Leary Life South Coast Dragon Championships” from the 26th – 28th of May. The event, which is the first regional event on the Irish Dragon class calendar, will mark the start of an exciting 16 months for Kinsale Yacht Club, which host the Nationals in August this year and then the Gold Cup in September 2024.

Commodore Matthias Hellstern, who is sailing with long-time Dragon sailor, Anthony O’Neill for the South Coasts, commented, “Firstly, thank you to Brian Goggin and all at O’Leary Life for sponsoring the event; we simply can’t run the event without sponsors. Kinsale Yacht Club has such a fantastic history with this wonderful class, and we are really looking forward to showcasing to all Dragon sailors what Kinsale has to offer over the months ahead”

Brian Goggin of O’Leary Life commented, “This month, O’Leary Life celebrates being 50 years in business. As part of our 50th-year celebrations, for the next 12 months, we will support various community organisations and give back to those who have supported us throughout the years. For the month of May, we are thrilled to sponsor Kinsale Yacht Club for the South Coast Dragon Championships”

Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Matthias Hellstern (left) with Brian Goggin of O’Leary Life at the South Coast Dragon Championships for the West Cork port later this monthKinsale Yacht Club Commodore Matthias Hellstern (left) with Brian Goggin of O’Leary Life at the South Coast Dragon Championships for the West Cork port later this month

Although the sponsor may be celebrating 50 years in business, they are still some years behind the Dragon Design, who will turn 94 this year, having been conceived in 1929!

The class continues to reinvent itself, with Glandore now home to the largest fleet in Ireland, with many of their youth sailors looking like future dragon champions. Of course, the legendary dragon sailor Don Street has been one of the major backers of youth dragon sailing in Glandore, sharing his knowledge for decades in the West Cork harbour

The event will be an early season indicator of who has “wintered” the best, with stalwarts like Peter Bowring and his team on Phantom and Cameron Good with Little Fella among the early entries. James Matthews, fresh from winning the recent Keelboat regatta in Kinsale, are the early favourites but other local boats such as Whisper and Ghost will also be battling at the sharp end in what is shaping up to be a seriously competitive fleet.

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Dublin Bay sailor Jonathan 'Jay' Bourke sailing with crew Conn Harte Bourke and Sam Gillivan, were the first Corinthians - the first crew without any professionals - at last week's HM King Juan Carlos Trophy in Cascais, Portugal.

After three days and a full programme, with seven sailed races, the Australian Yeahnah team took the Trophy with 11 points.

The championship was contested in Clube Naval de Cascais by eight teams, from five different nationalities, which had excellent conditions throughout the championship - there were three days of clear skies and shining sun, and while the first two days had the famous champagne sailing conditions, Sunday there was room for light wind.

Yeahnah, Pete Cooke's team, with Torvar Mirsky and the Portuguese Olympic sailor Frederico Melo in the crew, went on to win the championship, with 2 points of advantage over the Portuguese team Easy, of Michael Zankel with Diogo Pereira and João Matos Rosa, who ended up taking second place, with 13 points.

With 15 points and closing the podium, finished the also Portuguese team of Pedro Mendes Leal, Tanit Cabau, Pedro Rebelo de Andrade and Natali Alexandrova, won the last race of the day, thus winning the Stavros trophy.

This was the 28th edition of the championship, that was established in 1995 when His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain donated a trophy to Clube Naval de Cascais to honour the place and the club where he learned to sail and compete.

Results are here

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The Royal St. George Yacht Club Dragon Jaguar Sailing Team took third overall at the  Commodore's Cup in Cannes, France on Sunday. 

The keelboat trio of Martin Byrne, Adam Winkelmann and John Simms, who finished on 15 points, were competing in the final weekend event of the winter season.

The team were the First Corinthian crew in the fleet and third overall to the World Champion and European Champion.

Klaus Diederichs, Diego Negri and Jamie Lea took the overall win with ten points, and Grant Gordon, Luke Patience, James Williamson, and Mark Less were second with 14.

A second Irish crew, Denis Bergin, Declan Gordon and Joseph Bergin of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, finished second Corinthian crew in the 23-boat fleet.

There was one race on the last day in which the Jaguar crew were fourth.

The Royal St. George sailors broke the main halyard on the way to the race course in 30+ knots on Saturday.

"It's difficult to repair on the Dragon so we dropped mast overnight and set up a jury main halyard in order to race today", Winkelmann told Afloat.  The 4th place score enabled them to drop an 18th, and we moved from 11th to third overall. 

Results are below

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It's been a successful winter series for the Royal St. George Yacht Club Dragon Jaguar Sailing Team in France and Italy.

The keelboat trio of Martin Byrne, Adam Winkelmann and John Simms compete in the final weekend of the winter at the Commodore's Cup in Cannes, France.

After six events, they managed three podium results against world-class competition, but they are still a Corinthian Team competing amongst a powerful professional fleet.

Nevertheless, their progress this winter lists this Irish Dragon team as the top Corinthian team competing on the European circuit in very close competition with Swedish, Dutch and Danish teams.

Irish Dragon interests are honing their skills this season in anticipation of the class's Gold Cup being staged in Ireland in Kinsale in 2024. 

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Torquay’s association with the International Dragon Class is long and illustrious, with the venue hosting the 1948 Olympic Games, at which the Dragon featured, and many national and international events since. The Dragon fleet will return once again to this popular venue in 2023 for the Dragon Gold Cup, which takes place from 7 to 16 September and will attract a strong fleet from around the globe.

In 2024, the Dragon Gold Cup is coming to Ireland and will be staged at Kinsale in County Cork.

Located on the English Riviera, Torquay enjoys a wonderful climate, while Tor Bay provides an open sea race area just a short sail from the club, with the spectacular Devon hills as a backdrop. Hosting the event in association with the International and British Dragon Association will be the Royal Torbay Yacht Club, which was founded in 1863 and has huge experience in organising international championships. The boats will be launched and berthed in the harbour just below the club’s elegant clubhouse, which features stunning views across the bay, an excellent restaurant and bar and an English-terraced garden with perfect sunset views.

The Dragon fleet will return once again to Torbay in 2023 for the Dragon Gold CupThe Dragon fleet will return once again to Torbay in 2023 for the Dragon Gold Cup

Registration and measurement will take place on 7 and 8 September, there will be a practice race and Opening Ceremony on 9 September, Championship races are scheduled from 10 to 15 September, with the Prize Giving Ceremony on 15 September and crane out on 16 September. There will also be daily après sailing social events at the clubhouse.

“The Royal Torbay Yacht Club has long been a popular host of Dragon championships, so we’re excited to return there for the Gold Cup, our premier Europe-based event of 2023. With the UK also hosting the Edinburgh Cup, incorporating the British Dragon Grand Prix, from 15 to 18 August in Cowes, a large Dragon fleet is expected for Cowes Week from 29 July to 4 August and the opportunity to nip over to Kinsale to take part in the Irish Open Championship from 24 to 27 August, there’s plenty to make the trip across the English Channel worthwhile for European visitors,” commented IDA Chairman Gerard Blanc.

On behalf of the Royal Torbay YC, Commodore Phil Rumbelow said, “All at the club are delighted to welcome the Dragon Class back to the bay. Our band of experienced event helpers led by our Principal Race Officer, Stuart Childerly, are looking forward to giving the class an excellent championship on the water and our bar and catering teams will ensure they are well fed and watered on their return to shore.”

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The Irish Jaguar Dragon team from the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour took third overall at last weekend's Coupe de l'Amitié in France. 

The keelboat trio of Martin Byrne, John Simms and Adam Winkelmann were in the hunt for an overall win at the Yacht Club de Cannes, but a difficult last day with some shifty and variable wind conditions saw them drop to third in the 19-boat fleet.

Nevertheless, it's still an impressive scoresheet (including an opening race win), given the pro teams from Sweden, Finland and Denmark competing.

Overall winners of the four-race regatta were Sweden's Jesper Stalheim, Leif and Jens Moller. 

As well as Jaguar, two other Irish boats competed as the build-up to the Dragon Gold Cup hosted by Kinsale Yacht Club in 2024 begins in earnest.

Results below

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Maeve Cotter will act as the regatta director for Kinsale's staging of the Dragon Gold Cup in 2024.

Cotter is a former Commodore of Glandore Harbour Yacht Club and the current Rear Commodore of Kinsale YC. She takes up the role with an experienced committee acting alongside her.

The event will run from 6th to 13th of September 2024.

Matthias Hellstern, Commodore of Kinsale Yacht Club, welcomed Maeve commenting, “I have worked with Maeve on a Management Committee level for over 4 years, and I have seen first-hand her ability and dedication that I have no doubt she will apply to this role. As an experienced Dragon sailor, Maeve also understands the class and what is required to make this an exceptional event.”

Kinsale Yacht Club is a long way into its planning of the 2024 event with Astra Construction already on board as the headline sponsor. The Gold Cup is the pinnacle event of the dragon season, and excitement is already mounting in Kinsale following the disappointment of having to the cancel the event in 2020 due to covid.

Dragon racing at Kinsale Yacht Club Photo: Bob BatemanDragon racing at Kinsale Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Asked for her thoughts on the role and regatta, Maeve added “I have sailed Dragons since I was a teenager and love the boat and class. My brother Michael campaigned Dragons for many years and my two sons, Daniel and Sean will be racing in the event on our boat “Whisper” so no doubt I will have plenty of suggestions and feedback! We are lucky that Kinsale is such a destination town, with the yacht club located in the heart of it, coupled with the phenomenal race area at the beginning of the wild Atlantic way. It’s really exciting for the Irish class to have such a big event to look forward to ”.

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Glandore in West Cork is a picturesque international melting pot of folk of all types from many backgrounds, and like all melting pots, it can occasionally boil ever, particularly if you have someone like Don Street stirring the heated mix. American-born Don spent much of his 92 years becoming the acknowledged expert on cruising the Caribbean and the practice of traditional self-reliant seamanship, but having had a base in Glandore for decades, even he admits to the slowing effects of advancing age.

So for some time now, his attention has become largely local, and the Glandore axe he has been grinding is the beating of the drum (now there’s a mix of metaphors for your delectation) to celebrate the versatility of the International Dragon (whether plastic fantastic or classic wooden) for club racing and junior training, in addition to contesting hugely challenging international events.

The summertime demographic of Glandore is such that they have sailors of all ages in abundance, and Don reckons the Dragons can readily accommodate them all provided that Glandore Harbour Yacht Club can become a bit more relaxed about the trend towards Committee Boat starts, and rely instead on the convenient starting platform just below the village’s “veranda square”, where all-seeing but thirsty race officers can be sure of a handy pint from one of the excellent pubs.

Platinum oldies – Don Street at Dragon racing in Glandore. Photo courtesy GHYCPlatinum oldies – Don Street at Dragon racing in Glandore. Photo courtesy GHYC

Don and his mates want races to be easily available at all times and for all ages, and to do that you need to have the starting line which can be put in place with minimum fuss, which is something conspicuously absent when you need to get a fully-crewed safety-compliant committee boat into action

Being firmly of the opinion that there really is nothing more user-friendly than a shore-based starting line with very clearly marked transits, I readily go along with that - as indeed do thousands of people who race at Cowes every year. But whatever your view, there’s no denying that the Dragon class at Glandore is an impressively successful mix of boats and people of all ages, with Don setting the standard, as his youthfully-crewed boat Gypsy is at least 89 years old, which must make him the only owner of an 89-year-old boat who happens to be even older himself………

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