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#dragon –Belfast hosts were the top performing boat of the day as Simon Brien's IRL214 KIN, crewed by Mark Brien and David Gomes took third in race three before going on to win race four in style by leading the fleet the entire length of the course. As a result Brien leaps up the scoreboard from 13th to second place overall counting 34 points.

Defending champion Martin Byrne won race three but slipped in race four to count a 39th and be ninth overall after four races.

Day two of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup sponsored by Belfast Harbour brought just about every possible weather condition bar snow. The day started and ended with rain, there was thick fog for several hours followed by a spell of lovely hot sun and the wind came from almost every direction possible at some point in the day. Despite the delays for fog and the very shifty and mainly light conditions the race committee was able to run two further races, races three and four of the six race series. For the competitors it was an extremely challenging day's racing with a number of boats having decidedly mixed results on only three boats managing an all top ten score.

Also very consistent was Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, sailing GBR716 Jerboa with Martin Payne and Rui Boia, who placed ninth then fourth to move up from ninth to third overall, four points behind Brien.

Julia Bailey, Graham Bailey, Dylan Potter and Will Heritage sailing GBR720 Aimee retain their overall lead of the regatta despite a wobble in race three which saw them finish twentieth. Fortunately they came back hard in race four fighting their way out of the pack to finish second and secure a ten point overall lead.

Owen Pay, sailing IRL204 Seabird with Jon Mortimer and Steve Richardson proved that consistency pays with a tenth and 15th to move up a place in the ranking from fifth to fourth, just one point behind Wilkinson-Cox.  Ron James, Julia Walsh and Nigel Young sailing GBR633 Fei-Lin's Flirtation have moved up from 11th to fifth and also provided the closest finish of the day when they crossed the line in race for absolutely neck and neck with Mick Cotter's IRL213 Whisper crewed by John Driscoll and Kenny McCullough.  Lawrie Smith, crewed by Tim Tavinor and Ossie Stewart in GBR763 Alfie took a fifth in race three but then a 26th in the day's second race moved him down the leader board from fourth to sixth.

Another boat that reveled in the conditions today was Andrew Craig's Chimera, crewed by Brian Matthews and Mark Pettitt, who were the only other team to finish in the top ten in both races with a second in race three and a sixth in race four. Sadly for them they are still carrying a Black Flag disqualification from yesterday's race two so they currently lie in 16th place overall and will be very happy to see the discard come into play after the fifth race.

Whilst some made the most of the conditions others struggled including Jens Rathsack, sailing MON2 with Stefan Waak and Mario Wagner. Having gone into the day second overall they were over eager on the start line in race three but failed to return when the individual recall flag was hoisted. Things improved for them in race four where they finished ninth, but they now lie 12th overall and will also be very glad to see the discard kick in.

Martin Byrne and his crew Pedro Andrade and Adam Winkleman aboard IRL201 got their day of to a fantastic start by winning race three. Sadly they could not get the measure of race four and were bitterly disappointed to finish 39th, ruining a previously all top ten score card and moving them down the overall rankings from second to ninth.

In the Corinthian Division for the all amateur crews Julia Bailey again continues to lead the fleet, Simon Brien has moved up into second place and Owen Pay has dropped down into third.

At the post racing prize giving at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Brewin Dolphin's Executive Chairman Jamie Matheson presented the daily awards and also presented a truly unique prize to the overall leader Julia Bailey and her Aimee team of beautifully engraved sterling silver cufflinks.  Today's special Sebago prize of footwear for the entire crew went to Mark and Mandy Wade and Simon Cash of GBR722 Avalanche.

This evening the crews are getting all dressed up in best bib and tucker for the Edinburgh Cup Gala Dinner, hosted by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners at the historic Harbour Office and sponsored by Brewin Dolphin. For more than 150 years the Harbour Office has been the headquarters of the Belfast Harbour Commission and its elegant public rooms house many fascinating and unusual works of art and artifacts connected with Belfast's maritime history.

The Edinburgh Cup sponsored by Belfast Harbour continues until Saturday 7 July with two further races still to be completed. The single discard will come inot play once race five has been raced. One championship race is scheduled for tomorrow and in addition the traditional and highly competitive Crews Race will also be run tomorrow with contenders for this prestigious title including 11 year old Will Heritage from Aimee and teenager Harry Strauss who is crewing for his parents Quentin and Nikki aboard GBR708 Rumours.

Top Five After Four Races

1.  GBR720 - Aimee - Julia Bailey -  1, 1, 20, 2 = 24

2.  IRL214 - KIN - Simon Brien - 4, 26, 3, 1 = 34

3.  GBR716 - Jerboa - Gavia Wilkinson-Cox - 12, 13, 9, 4 = 38

4.  IRL204 - Seabird - Own Pay - 10, 4. 10, 15 = 39

5.  GBR633 - Fei-Lin's Flirtation - 16, 10, 7, 10.5 RDG = 43.5

Published in Dragon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race by Race

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

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

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

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

Top Five After Two Races

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Dragon
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#dragon – After seven incredibly tough races over three days it all went down to a tie-breaker to decide the winner of the 2012 Dragon Northern Area Championship. Sponsored by Belfast Harbour and hosted by the Royal North Of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough from 30 June to 3 July, the event had attracted 32 competitors - the best entry in many years - including teams from Monaco and Australia as well as from across the UK and Ireland.

The quality of competition at the regatta was incredibly high with every mark rounding action packed and the difference between a podium place and mid fleet being just a matter of seconds in almost every race. The Race Committee was at the top of its game as they brought seven great races to the fleet despite some very shifty and variable conditions. Those seven races featured six different race winners and going into the final day the top four boats were separated by only five points.

As they went into the final race it was still anyone's regatta with Julia Bailey, crewed in Aimee by husband Graham, Dylan Potter and eleven year old Will Heritage holding a narrow lead on 19 points. A single point behind in second was Klaus Diederichs, sailing Fever with Andy Beadsworth and Jamie Lee. In third was Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, sailing Jerboa with Martin Payne and Rui Boia counting 23 points and in fourth was Chris Hunt, sailing Dark and Stormy with Mark Hart and Mark Daly, on 25 points. The overall points however were not fully known to the competitors as the class has a no VHF communication rule at its major championships and therefore did not know the identity of a single boat called over the start line (OCS) in the penultimate race. All four knew they had been close to the line and that no boat had returned across the line so almost any of them could be the disqualified boat.

With the wind constantly varying in both velocity and direction as rain showers rolled down across the hills from the south it was to be the toughest race of the series. For Diederichs and Bailey tricky starts were compounded by missed shifts and both boats scored their worst results of the regatta to put them out of the overall running. So it was down to Wilkinson-Cox and Hunt to fight it out for the laurels and what a fight it was with the two boats within yards of each other throughout the race. On the line Hunt just got the better of the situation finishing the race in second place with Wilkinson-Cox in fourth. Looking back down the fleet Wilkinson-Cox knew the points were tight but feared that her fourth place hadn't been sufficient and in fact was worried about whether she'd made the podium at all. It wasn't until she arrived back at the club house sometime later that she discovered that the OCS boat had been Simon Brien and that she had just snatched the 2012 Dragon Northern Area Championship on count-back from Hunt with Diederichs third and Bailey fourth.

At the prize giving dinner Gavia Wilkinson-Cox paid tribute to the regatta organisers led by Simon Brien, to her crew and to the quality of the competition saying. "Simon has already very eloquently thanked all those involved with running this event, but on behalf of everybody here I want to say the hugest thank to Simon. Nobody could have done more than he has to get everybody here. The other thank you of course goes to my crew Stavros and Rui - two fantastic sailors. And finally thank you all for being fantastic competitors and for the tough racing."

The Corinthian Trophy, for the first all amateur crew, went to Julia Bailey in Aimee, while Mark and Mandy Wade, sailing Avalanche with Simon Cash were Corinthian runners up and fifth overall. The Old Boat Trophy, for the top performance by one of the classic boats in the fleet, went to Sou'wester which was recently brought back to life after 16 years in storage by her crew of owner John Simms, John Gunning and Alan Morrison, who proved that there's plenty of life in the old girl yet by finishing 13th overall.  Special mention must also go to Monaco's Jens Rathsack sailing Jeanie with Stefan Waak and Mario Wagner for being the only team to win two races in the regatta and who finished sixth overall.

Tomorrow the Edinburgh Cup - the Dragon British Open Championship - sponsored by Belfast Harbour gets underway and with the fleet growing to 46 teams with the addition of reigning World Champion and Olympic Bronze Medallist Lawrie Smith, reigning Edinburgh Cup Champion Martin Byrne, Double Olympic Gold Medallist and five time Edinburgh Cup Champion Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen and 2008 Edinburgh Cup Champion Don O'Donoghue, to name but a few, it will not only be the biggest Edinburgh Cup fleet in more than quarter of a century but also one of the toughest ever assembled.

The 2012 Edinburgh Cup sponsored by Belfast Harbour runs from Wednesday 4 to Saturday 7 July with up to six races scheduled. Racing will continue on Belfast Lough but the fleet will move seawards down the lough to allow for a much larger championship race course with beats of up to 2 miles.  Once five races have been completed a single discard will be allowed.

Published in Dragon
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#DRAGON – Dublin's Martin Byrne is taking on a double Olympic gold medal winner and former world champion to defend his Dragon Edinburgh Cup title in the first week of July. Byrne, the Commodore of the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, leads a strong international field of sailors travelling to Belfast to take part in what is set to be one of the largest Dragon Class yachting events of its kind. Sponsored by Belfast Harbour, Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club is hosting the 2012 Edinburgh Cup, the UK Dragon Championships, which will take place on Belfast Lough from 4th July-7th July.

Forty-six boats from 10 different countries, including Australia, Japan and Monaco, will compete in what is the largest field in 25 years as the international race returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 2000. The event will see Denmark's Poul Ricard Hoj Jensen, who struck sailing gold in the Soling class at the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, pit his wits against Byrne and a strong Irish fleet including current Miss Northern Ireland Tiffany Brien, an experienced sailor who was ranked number one in Ireland in the single handed Laser Radial Class last year. Tiffany is crewing for Julian Sowry, one of the top UK competitors.

A former Edinburgh Cup winner, in addition to his world and Olympic successes, Jensen is excited about returning to a race course he rates very highly, saying:

"I am very much looking forward to taking part in the Edinburgh Cup in Belfast, I have sailed there numerous times before and the sailing area and race course are outstanding – in fact, it would be difficult to find a better race track anywhere in the UK.

"I have not yet seen the new marina constructed by Belfast Harbour and look forward to seeing the facility. I am also very well acquainted with the hospitality of the Royal North of Ireland Yacht club and I am excited about meeting up with 'old friends' and enjoying the social activities during the event."

The Edinburgh Cup will be preceded by the British Northern Area Championships from 1st July-3rd July, also hosted by Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club. A parade of sail involving over 30 competing Dragon class yachts will take place from Belfast Harbour's new marina facility at Abercorn Basin to the finish line at Royal North on Saturday evening (6pm) to launch both sailing competitions.

Simon Brien, of Royal North of Ireland and father of Tiffany Brien, commented:

"The calibre of entries for the Edinburgh Cup is truly exceptional and, given that we will have up to 10 different nationalities represented, I don't think there has ever been a sailing event in Northern Ireland with such a high quality international fleet. Challenging Poul Ricard Hoj Jensen for the title is a real who's who from the international yachting elite, with current world champion, Lawrie Smith, and Edinburgh Cup holder, Martin Byrne, also coming to take part.

"It's a real coup for Royal North to have such a stellar line-up and we would like to thank principal sponsor Belfast Harbour, whose support has been invaluable in ensuring we are able to host an event befitting the high calibre of participants. As ever, there is a varied programme of entertaining social events to accompany the competitive action and I would encourage people to come along and watch some world-class international Dragon class yacht racing."

In 2010, Royal North hosted the Irish Dragon Championships, also sponsored by Belfast Harbour, which attracted boats from throughout the UK and Europe. Looking forward to the Edinburgh Cup and British Northern Area Championships, Roy Adair, CEO of Belfast Harbour, commented:

"Belfast Harbour has strong historical links with the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club and, following the great success of the Irish Dragon Boat Championships both on and off the water in 2010, we are delighted to once again form a partnership in hosting one of the most prestigious Dragon yacht racing events in the world.

"Just last month over 60 yachts from across Ireland enjoyed the new marina facilities at Belfast Harbour during our Lough to Lagan Floatilla and we are looking forward to welcoming international competitors and their families to Belfast once again. Tourism has been a major driver of the Northern Ireland economy – sailing, and the Edinburgh Cup in particular, adds another layer to Northern Ireland's tourism offering."

Published in Dragon

#DRAGON – A London Olympic Games Race Officer, a weather forecast showing winds up to 20 knots and a pumped up Irish Dragon class all sounds like a recipe for a successful one design weekend which makes it all the more harder to fathom how the East Coast Cup failed to be presented at the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire yesterday afternoon.

After losing Friday's race entirely due to lack of wind the fleet were summoned to a four race day on Saturday, unheard of in dragon circles, to put the event back on schedule.

It was just as well OOD Jack Roy insisted on the early start because two races were all that the crack NYC race management team could get as Dublin bay's local flukey winds and choppy seas won out over what appeared a perfect forecast of 20 knots from the east.

Frustratingly the Dragon fleet had to look on becalmed in the bay as the ICRA fleet racing in Howth powered along five miles to the East and in plenty of breeze.

Worse followed, the fleet stayed ashore on Sunday before racing was scrubbed (local SB20 racing was also cancelled) at lunchtime reducing the six race affair to just two races, an insufficient number for the class title to be awarded.

Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Cameron Good and crew Henry Kingston and Simon Furney made the best of the situation tho recording a 1,2 to win overall in the 17-boat fleet from Dublin Bay's Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring and David Williams.

Third was Belfast lough visitor Simon Brien crewed by Kenny McCullough and Oliver Lougheed. It was Brien's second weekend on the bay he raced an RS Elite last weekend at the RAYC Baily Bowl.

Results are available to download below as a PDF.

There is little over a month now to the Edinburgh Cup in Cultra on Belfast lough, the first Irish Dragon Grand Slam event.

Published in Dragon

#KINSALEKinsale Yacht Club announced details of two major events for KYC this year at its clubhouse this week. The Davy Optimist National Championships (31st July – 4th August) and The Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup (8th-14th September) are due to attract huge number of sailors to Kinsale and, in turn, are expected to benefit the local economy.

Guests at the reception included Cllr Fred Treacy, Mayor of Kinsale, members of Kinsale Chamber of Tourism, the Kinsale Good Food Circle, local dignatories and members of Kinsale Yacht Club who will be involved in both events.

The Davy Optimist Nationals expect over 200 entries to Kinsale from all over Ireland. As participants are aged under 14, they will bring a family entourage and atmosphere to Kinsale as well as requiring accommodation and availing of all the amenities Kinsale has to offer as a premier tourist destination.

The Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup is considered the World Cup of Dragon Sailing and several world champions and ex-olympians have already entered from 15 countries as over 200 dragon sailors are expected to sail off Kinsale over six days in September. These include current world champion, Lawrie Smith, Marcus Wieser, Tommy Muller and Vincent Hoesch – all well known international sailors with many world-class titles between them.

"We are delighted to host these prestigious events at Kinsale Yacht Club this season and look forward to welcoming the best Optimist sailors in Ireland to Kinsale in July, as well as the International Dragon Fleet in September," said Cameron Good, Commodore, Kinsale Yacht Club. "We are grateful for the title sponsorship of Davy Stockborkers for the Optimist Nationals and that of private investment managers, Brewin Dolphin, official product partner Dubarry and the support of the Irish Sailing Association, Failte Ireland for the Dragon Gold Cup," he added.

A presentation was also made by Bobby Nash of Kinsale Yacht Club, outlining the benefit of Kinsale Marina to the local economy and how it may be developed in these challenging times.

Published in Kinsale
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#DRAGON – Irish sailors will be vying for the prestigious Dragon Gold Cup from 8th-15th September 2012 when it is contested on Irish waters by Kinsale Yacht Club.

Leading the Irish challenge will be Dun Laoghaire sailor Martin Byrne who won the Dragon Edinburgh Cup last July.

Kinsale last held a major Dragon event in 2003 for the European Championships. Many of the famous sailors who attended that event will be expected to return for the Gold Cup in 2012, including current world champion Lawrie Smith, ex world champions Poul Ricard Hoj-Jensen and Tomas Muller and a number of former world champions and Olympians from other classes who now compete in the Dragon class internationally as well as the strong Irish Dragon fleet.

The Dragon Gold Cup was last held in Ireland in 1997 when the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire hosted the event.

The 2012 Cup will attract approximately 80 boats and participants will be coming from all over the world, including Australia, Scandinavia, Russia, Ukraine, Ireland, UK and other European Countries.

Kinsale Yacht Club is well positioned to host this major Dragon event as it is has a good reputation for great racing, top class facilities on and off the water as well as great accommodation and restaurants that bring sailors back to Kinsale.

The Dragon attracts competitors from all over Europe, along with Royal participation, ex Olympian Pol Ricard Hoj-Jensen, many current professionals, world champion, Lawrie Smith and very accomplished Corinthians. The Gold Cup is a very Special event as participants aren't required to qualify, unlike the Worlds and Europeans therefore it attracts a superb atmosphere with a mix of serious sailors and those interested in the sailing and social programme.

The notice of race has just been finalised and may be viewed on the event website.

The Dragon Nationals held in Kinsale in August 2011


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#VOLVO OCEAN RACE – Plans for the future of Ireland's Round the World racer Green Dragon are still up in the air since the €2million high tech sloop failed to sell after the last race two years ago.

Support is needed, say Galway organisers to put the 70-footer into a youth development role. Her real value is in doing this, says Galway's Enda O'Coineen and such use is of 'much greater than her market value'.

The boat, under British skipper Ian Walker, failed to meet expectations in the 2008-9 race when it was discovered that the boat's keel bulb was too light. It did however get a rapturous welcome into Galway for the port stopover in May 2009.

In the longer term Galway owners are still trying to figure out what to do with the vessel but some youth development role is touted as a favourable option.

Just how this might come about or how inexperienced hands could master such a high tech vessel has yet to be revealed, however.

The Chinese built boat came out of storage this summer and VOR organisers have been putting it to good promotional purposes on the Continent.

Green Dragon is now in Spain and will represent Galway in this month's VOR 'Legends Regatta' in Alicante. It is sailing with a young Irish crew.

The regatta is another marketing opportunity for the boat that might yet throw up a buyer.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

Ireland's Green Dragon and Telefónica Black, two Volvo Open 70s from the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race will join the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta fleet over 1-5 November, lining up with boats that took part in the first 10 round the world races.

Ireland's Volvo 70 will race its first race in almost two years after she had finished fifth out of seven entries in the 2009 Race.

Attempts to sell it for two million euros in 2009 did not materialise. Since then, the round the world yacht has been in dry dock in Galway, rendered obsolete because her hull was heavier and keel lighter than her rivals. She recently sailed to Rotterdam to be part of an exhibition.

The two state of the art racers will showcase 38 years of development in round the world racing since the first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74, when they take their place next to the Legends fleet which spans ten races.

Both boats will compete in the regatta run over two days, creating a challenge for race director Jack Lloyd and his race management team, who will be setting inshore courses that work for maxi ketches such as the race-winning Steinlager 2 and her opponent from 1989-90 Fisher & Paykel, as well as for yachts such as the Italian Tauranga which took part in 1973, and, more recently the Whitbread/Volvo Open 60 Assa Abloy/2001-02.

"The real challenge for us is to try to make all the yachts competitive with each other," Lloyd explains. "The step-up in design and technology since 1973 has been massive and we would like all the boats to be sailing together.

"We are looking at a 'pursuit ' style of racing where the boats start the race in a staggered fashion according to their size, which we feel has the best chance of creating a dramatic and competitive finish for the fleet on each of the two days of race," he adds.

Green Dragon has been entered in the Legends Regatta by Enda O'Coineen and John Killeen. O'Coineen has had a long association with the race, having been the driving force behind the NCB Ireland entry in 1989-90 and most recently Green Dragon in 2008-09, together with the very successful Galway stopover in the previous race.

The Green Dragon crew will include Killian Bushe who sailed on and built NCB Ireland and was builder of the winning entries in the last three races. The team plans to include a broad cross-section of Irish sailors who have participated in the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race and will also include Angela Farrell who sailed on Maiden and Deidre O'Callaghan on With Integrity during 1989-90.

Entering in the spirit of the regatta, the team will also travel with its own Irish band, the Green Dragon 'Upstarts'.

Both Green Dragon and Telefónica Black were constructed especially for the last Volvo Ocean Race. Green Dragon, from the board of Reichel Pugh, finished in fifth position, one place above the Spanish boat, from Farr Yacht Design, which was part of a two-boat campaign for Team Telefónica 2008-09. Sistership Telefónica Blue, with a new rig, a new paint job and a new name, Sanya, will race in this year's Volvo under the leadership of race-winning skipper Mike Sanderson.

Telefonica Black's best moment was when she won the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 from Stockholm to St Petersburg. Her navigator, Roger Nilson, was competing in his seventh Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race and will be reunited with the boat during the Legends regatta.

GREEN DRAGON 2008-09
Rig: sloop
Designer: Reichel Pugh
LOA 64' (19.5m)
Crew: 11
Finished: 5
Elapsed time: 135.05
Skipper: Ian Walker/GBR

TELEFONICA BLACK 2008-09
Rig: sloop
Designer: Farr Yacht Design
LOA 64' (19.5m)
Crew: 11
Finished: 6
Elapsed time: 87.1 (DNF leg 4, DNS leg 5)
Skipper: Fernando Echávarri/ESP

Entries in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion

- Tauranga (1973-74)
- Adventure (1973-74 1977-78)
- Great Britain II (first five races)
- King's Legend (1977-78)
- Berge Viking (1981-82
- Gauloises III (1981-82)
- L'Esprit d'Equipe (1985-86)
- Rothmans (1989-90)
- Charles Jourdan (1989-90)
- Steinlager 2 (1989-90)
- Fisher & Paykel (1989-90)
- Assa Abloy (2001-02)
- Telefónica Black (2008-09)
- Green Dragon (2008-09)

Regatta Ambassadors

- Lady Pippa Blake
- Tracy Edwards MBE
- Sir Chay Blyth CBE, BEM
- Magnus Olsson
- Skip Novak
- Pierre Fehlmann
- Alain Gabbay

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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The wind was not on the Dragon crews' side this Friday for the last and decisive rendez-vous. A light and flimsly air, not enough to have the boats moving, forced the Committee to calli it a day and send the 58 strong fleet back ashore. The final ranking has then been decided taking into consideration the six races sailed since Tuesday. Italian Giuseppe Duca on Cloud wins his first title at the Régates Royales leaving Dublin's Martin Byrne fourth overall.

Good breeze on the first two days, light air on the third and not enough wind on the fourth: the 58 Dragons participating to the Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai profited from excellent conditions for the event opening, and namely the Irish crew skippered Martin Byrne on Jaguar-Bear who scored two wins whils race favourite and 2010 champion Anatoly Loginov from Russia on Annapurna, did not show the same consistency and strength he's known for.

Still, it's on the second day that the ranking becomes more definite as the Danish class master Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen on Danish Blue bounced back as did Italian Giuseppe Duca on Cloud, despite a a black flag disqualification on race 3.  And, Thursday, when just one race could be sailed due to the extremely light wind, the skipper from Venice together with French sailors Jean-Sébastien Ponce and Guillaume Bérenger scored a win that proved to be crucial to obtain is first ever title at the Régates Royales. Danish Blue's skipper and multiple Olympic medallist Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen with Theis Palm and Mick Jensen  jumps on the second step of the podium, whilst Russians Anatoly Loginov, Andrey Kirilyuk and Alexander Shalagin on Annapurna are distanced by a single point and finish third.

Dubliner Martin Byrne, with Brian Mathews and Pedro Andrade on Jaguar-Bear who started the series brilliantly, had a bad second day and slipped back in fourth. Interestingly enough on a total of six races, victory went to five different crews:  Martin Byrne, British Ivan Bradbury on Blue Haze, French Joseph Varoqui on Rusalka, Danish Peter Warrer on Lil and Giuseppe Duca. And in the top ten spots of the overall ranking no less than eight countries are represented: Italy, the UK, Russia, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, France and Finland.

Published in Dragon
Page 15 of 19

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Featured Events 2021

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W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
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