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Martin Byrne retained his title as National Dragon Champion in Kinsale last weekend, adding to his Edinburgh Cup victory last month in Abersoch writes Tim Pearson.

Byrne, with crew Adam Winkelmann and Pedro Andrades, was pushed hard by Jay Bourke and Cameron Good throughout the four day event which saw a variety of testing conditions in a predominantly moderate to fresh southwesterly airflow.

On the Friday racing was conducted in a sea mist which reduced visibility at times to 200 metres and required the competitors to bring their navigational skills into play.

However, Race Officer Alan Crosbie, using the event as a dry run for the Gold Cup in September 2012, when around 80 Dragons are expected to compete in the waters off the Old Head, was master of the conditions and got the 7 race series off on time.

2012 will be a special year for Dragons in Ireland, and there is already much international interest in  a veritable grand prix circuit which will start with the Edinburgh Cup In early July, move to Dublin for the Nationals and culminate in Kinsale with the Gold Cup.

Martin_Byrne_Adam_Winkelmann__Pedro_Andrade-1

Irish Champions Martin Byrne, Adam Winklemann and Pedro Andrades

2011 Dragon Irish National Championships:

1. Martin Byrne
2. Jay Bourke
3. Cameron Good

Published in Dragon
Martin Byrne of Dun Laoghaire is the Irish Independent/Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month after his superb final race to clinch the Edinburgh Cup, one of the most significant events in the International Dragon Class' annual programme in Europe.

In a fleet of 44, including many of the world's top boats, he had already put together a solid series as the final day arrived in the excellent sailing waters off Abersoch in North Wales.

But whether or not he and his crew of Adam Winkelmann and Pedro Andrade came home with bronze, silver or gold, hinged entirely on that last race.

Sailing the immaculate Jaguar, he logged the kind of race that, for most skippers, is the stuff of dreams.

Jaguar emerged clear from the starting melee to such good effect that by mid-race she had a clear lead of 200 metres, a comfortable gap that enabled Byrne to keep effective cover on any challengers, such that the real race was for second place as Jaguar powered on to finish an extraordinary three minutes ahead.

It was textbook stuff. In his winner's speech, Martin Byrne said the secret of it all was the shoreside commander, his wife Triona, who looked after logistics and paperwork, and ensured everything ran smoothly all week.

Irish sailing needs more Trionas.

The Byrne win gives a boost towards 2012, which in Ireland will be the Year of the Dragon. The Edinburgh Cup will be on Belfast Lough from July 4-8, while the historic Gold Cup is in Kinsale from September 8-14.

Ireland has won a dozen Edinburgh Cups, the most prolific victor being Tony O'Gorman who won six times between 1975 and 1984.

But only once has the Gold Cup been brought home, in 1947, when it was won by Eric Strain of Belfast Lough. Robin Hennessy was in the frame in 1971 but didn't quite clinch it, so an Irish win is overdue.

And, with the Gold Cup scheduled for Ostende in September, maybe we won't have to wait until next year.

Royal St. George Commodore Martin Byrne lifted the Dragon Edinburgh Cup in Abersoch, North Wales tonight after a three way last battle for victory went the Dun Laoghaire crew's way in emphatic style.

The current Irish champions won the pivotal final race by over three minutes in breezes touching 25-knots to become the latest holder of the Edinburgh Cup; the British National Championship.

Dragonjaguar

Martin Byrne steers to victory with crew Adam Winkelmann on spinnaker and Pedro Andrade. Photo: Fiona Brown

Celebrations will continue back in Dun Laoghaire tomorrow as the Dragon helmsman and his crew Adam Winkelmann and Portuguese sailmaker Pedro Andrade mark the significant victory that is a major shot in the arm for Irish Dragon sailing.

The 62-year old trophy is one of the most prestigious in the class along with the Gold Cup of this former Olympic keelboat. The 2012 Gold Cup is slated for Kinsale Yacht Club next year so the weekend win is a another fillip for the class here.

It all went down to the wire for the 43-strong fleet from Japan, Australia, Russia, Ireland and the UK on the final day of the 2011 Dragon Edinburgh Cup, supported by Aberdeen Asset Management, at the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club in Abersoch. Going into the day Mikhail Muratov and Klaus Diederichs sailing with Irish Star keelboat pair Peter O'Leary and David Burrows were tied for the lead on 16 points, Martin Byrne was on 17 points, Julia Bailey counted 23 and Olga White 28. In the Corinthian fleet Richard Goodbody led Simon Brien by a single point with Patrick Gifford and Nigel Biggs both five points behind them.

There were four attempts at getting the final race, the sixth in the series, started including three under black flag. A total of six teams were disqualified including Olga White, whose hopes of making the podium were immediately dashed. Eventually at the fourth time of asking the fleet got away cleanly for what proved to be the best race of the series with the wind up at around 20 knots from the southwest and some nice big waves which made the runs pretty exciting.

Off the line Byrne got the best start at the committee boat end and was the first to tack off to the right with Diederichs and Muratov following. By the mid point Byrne had already established a lead with Diederichs and Muratov jostling for position on the front edge of the pack. Muratov went further right than Diederichs gaining a significant advantage at the top end of the course and as they rounded the first mark Byrne led with Muratov in fourth and Diederichs seventh.

As Diederichs and Muratove fought their way out of the pack, Byrne established control of the race and clearly had no intention of relinquishing it, gradually stretching away from the fleet. Behind him at the leeward mark Muratov rounded third with Diederichs on his tail in fourth.

On the second beat Byrne extended his lead to some 200 yards, Muratov moved into second and Diederichs third. They held their positions on the second run and up the final beat Byrne was able to maintain a loose cover on the fleet and cruise to a very well deserved victory. As Byrne was enjoying himself out front Muratov and Diederichs were still fighting it out. Meanwhile Simon Brien had been showing bursts of incredible speed to pull up through the fleet and as the fleet came on to the final beat he was challenging Muratov and Diederichs. Brien chose to work the middle whilst the other two went hard right and his move paid off. On the line Byrne and his team looked back to see Muratov finish second, Brien third and Diederichs fourth. Brien's nearest Corinthian challengers Nigel Biggs and Patrick Gifford crossed the line in fifth and thirteenth places.

Published in Dragon

After today's fifth race Mikhail Muratov and Klaus Diederichs (with Peter O'Leary and David Burrows crewing) are tied on 16 points for the lead at the 2011 Edinburgh Cup supported by Aberdeen Asset Management. Dun Laoghaire Combination of Martin Byrne and Adam Winkelmann had another good day with a third place moving up into third overall and one point behind the leaders. 

Overnight second placed Julia Bailey had a disastrous start and first beat rounding the first mark in around 30th place. She managed to pull back up into 17th by the end of the race by drops down into fourth overall. Olga White, who had been lying just behind Bailey in third also had a difficult race and had to recover from a mid 20s rounding at the first mark, eventually climbing back up to 16th by the end of the race. As a result she is now lying in fifth place.

A single race tomorrow will be the decider in the 2011 Edinburgh Cup

Published in Dragon

Royal St. George Commodore Martin Byrne's day got off to a tricky start on the second day of the 2011 Dragon Edinburgh Cup yesterday when he and his crew Pedro Andrade and Adam Winkelmann found themselves close to colliding with the committee boat having been hit by another Dragon in the final moments before the start gun. Fortunately they missed the committee boat, but by the time they had extracted themselves from the situation they had been forced left and lost a lot of ground so finished the race in eighteenth place. They recovered somewhat in the final race with a seventh but go from second to fourth in the overall rankings.

After a day of mixed fortunes with a convincing win in race three followed by a 29th in race four Klaus Diederich's sailing Fever with Peter O'Leary and David Burrows has dropped down from third into fifth but remains in the running for the Edinburgh Cup.

The day's two top performing teams were led by Cowes based Julia Bailey, sailing Aimee with Graham Bailey and David Heritage, and Russia's Olga White, sailing Murka 7 with Martin Leifelt and Vadim Statsenko. Bailey took a third in race three and then went on to win race four in impressive style, taking her from fourth to second overall. White scored a ninth followed by a third and moves into third place, four points behind Bailey.

For overnight leader Mikhail Muratov, sailing Murka 8 with Valentin Uvarkin and Vladimir Krutskikh, it was a day of consolidation and a fifth followed by a ninth allowed him to retain his lead by a seven point margin.

Other top performers today were Olaf Sorenson from Kinsale racing Christianna with Shawn Kingston and Mark Pettitt, and Tim Tavinor from
Burnham racing Tigger with Thomas Wilton and Ollie Moser. Sorenson sailed an impressive third race, pushing race winner Klaus Diederichs
all the way down the final run to finish a close second, while 2011 Dragon World Champion crew Tim Tavinor finally found his form again
coming second to Julia Bailey in race four.

"About as difficult as it gets. I'm not sure when I've seen a trickier race course than that and the last race was particularly difficult." was how Graham Bailey described the second day of racing at the 2011 Dragon Edinburgh Cup supported by Aberdeen Asset Management in Abersoch. Despite the exceptionally difficult conditions the race committee was able to run two further races today bringing the total races sailed to four out of a possible six.

The day's two top performing teams were led by Cowes based Julia Bailey, sailing Aimee with Graham Bailey and David Heritage, and Russia's Olga White, sailing Murka 7 with Martin Leifelt and Vadim Statsenko. Bailey took a third in race three and then went on to win race four in impressive style, taking her from fourth to second overall. White scored a ninth followed by a third and moves into third place, four points behind Bailey.

For overnight leader Mikhail Muratov, sailing Murka 8 with Valentin Uvarkin and Vladimir Krutskikh, it was a day of consolidation and a fifth followed by a ninth allowed him to retain his lead by a seven point margin. Martin Byrne's day got off to a tricky start when he and his crew of Pedro Andrade and Adam Winklemann found themselves close to colliding with the committee boat having been hit by another Dragon in the final moments before the start gun. Fortunately they missed the committee boat, but by the time they had extracted themselves from the situation they had been forced left and lost a lot of ground so finished the race in eighteenth place. They recovered somewhat in the final race with a seventh but go from second to fourth in the overall ranking. After a day of mixed fortunes with a convincing win in race three followed by a 29th in race four Klaus Diederich's sailing Fever with Peter O'Leary and David Burrows has dropped down from third into fifth but remains in the running for the Edinburgh Cup.

Other top performers today were Olaf Sorenson from Kinsale racing Christianna with Shawn Kingston and Mark Pettitt, and Tim Tavinor from Burnham racing Tigger with Thomas Wilton and Ollie Moser. Sorenson sailed an impressive third race, pushing race winner Klaus Diederichs all the way down the final run to finish a close second, while 2011 Dragon World Champion crew Tim Tavinor finally found his form again coming second to Julia Bailey in race four.

Published in Dragon
Page 2 of 2

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Information

The creation of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) began in a very low key way in the autumn of 2002 with an exploratory meeting between Denis Kiely, Jim Donegan and Fintan Cairns in the Granville Hotel in Waterford, and the first conference was held in February 2003 in Kilkenny.

While numbers of cruiser-racers were large, their specific locations were widespread, but there was simply no denying the numerical strength and majority power of the Cork-Dublin axis. To get what was then a very novel concept up and running, this strength of numbers had to be acknowledged, and the first National Championship in 2003 reflected this, as it was staged in Howth.

ICRA was run by a dedicated group of volunteers each of whom brought their special talents to the organisation. Jim Donegan, the elder statesman, was so much more interested in the wellbeing of the new organisation than in personal advancement that he insisted on Fintan Cairns being the first Commodore, while the distinguished Cork sailor was more than content to be Vice Commodore.

ICRA National Championships

Initially, the highlight of the ICRA season was the National Championship, which is essentially self-limiting, as it is restricted to boats which have or would be eligible for an IRC Rating. Boats not actually rated but eligible were catered for by ICRA’s ace number-cruncher Denis Kiely, who took Ireland’s long-established native rating system ECHO to new heights, thereby providing for extra entries which brought fleet numbers at most annual national championships to comfortably above the hundred mark, particularly at the height of the boom years. 

ICRA Boat of the Year (Winners 2004-2019)

 

ICRA Nationals 2021

The date for the 2021 edition of the ICRA National Championships is 3-5 September at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay.

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