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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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Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team dropped to tenth overall after the final day of Dragon class racing at the Régates Royales, in Cannes on Friday.

Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team from the Royal St. George, Dun Laoghaire and Daniel Murphy’s Fortitude from Kinsale were fighting it out at the front of the fleet for most of the week, with Byrne crewed by Adam Winkelmann and John Simms as high as fourth overall before the penultimate day.

Murphy finished 13th overall from 32-starters.

 

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Two of the leading British Dragons teams moved up the at Régates Royales rankings today in declining breezes in Cannes. Chris Brittain on GBR 818 scored a 2nd and 7th to move up to 4th overall, while Gavia Wilkinson Cox on GBR 716 had a 4th and 5th as she moves up to sixth overall.

It was a frustrating day for Royal St. George's Jaguar Team skippered by Martin Byrne’s as they had a 10th and 17th (discarded) and dropped dramatically down the ranking to 9th overall.

Daniel Murphy's Fortitude had a better day with Irish National Champion Cameron Good helming, who scored their best results of the week with a 6th and 11th as they move up to 12th overall.

There was also a shake-up at the top as Swiss, Portuguese and French teams changed positions on the podium.

Two final races are scheduled for Friday, but very light winds are forecast, and racing might even be doubtful.

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An early morning start on Wednesday was delayed for the Dragon fleet at Régates Royales, in Cannes as the anticipated Mistral gale took its time to materialise.

Eventually, the fleet got away in a stiff 25-knot breeze that took its toll as many boats retired on the first leg with gear failure. Two of the casualties were Irish Dragons, Tarasque and Sir Ossis.

But Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team from the Royal St. George, Dun Laoghaire and Daniel Murphy’s Fortitude from Kinsale were fighting it out at the front of the fleet, eventually finishing fifth and 11th, respectively. The fleet was sent ashore after just one race.

Jaguar Sailing Team moved up to fourth overall and first Corinthian. Fortitude are now 13th overall.

Byrne told Afloat that he was disappointed with the decision not to hold the planned second race - “this was an important day for us as we anticipated a strong performance in the heavier breezes. We were hoping for two low-scoring results that might bring us into the top three overall. Our speed and boat handling were good, but we got caught out twice on the downwind legs where covering competitors cost us places”.

Racing continues on Thursday and Friday when more moderate breezes are expected to return.

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Three of the Irish Dragon keelboat teams had top ten results today in Cannes on day two of Régates Royales.

In race three, Cameron Good and Daniel Murphy on Fortitude finish seventh and move to 12th overall, while Mark & Selina Dicker on Tarasque started their regatta a day late due to a technical problem with an 8th.

In race four, Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team were seventh. This result, combined with a 13th in this morning's race, keeps them in the top five overall and within 2 points of the podium. They have moved to second in the Corinthian division as England’s Chris Brittain on GBR818 overtakes Byrne with a first & 16th today.

Points are very tight at the top, where French national champion Jean Breger moved into the lead overall.

Conditions were very light today, but up to 20-knot breezes are expected tomorrow, and the race committee have moved the scheduled start to an hour earlier at 10 am in an attempt to complete two more races.

Racing continues to Friday.

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Dragon racing commenced on the Bay of Cannes on Monday at the Régates Royales in a very shifty 10/12 knot easterly breeze with glorious sunshine all day.

The 10-country international fleet of 33 Dragons were grateful for some efficient race management aided by the use of GPS-controlled marks.

Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team were in front of the fleet all day but were disappointed by the 10th place in race 1. But they made up for that with a convincing win in race 2, where they went from 6th to 1st on the first downwind leg and lead the fleet to the finish.

The Royal St George crew lie 4th overall with points at the top very close.

The two top French teams of Gerry Trentesaux, 3rd at the recent Gold Cup, and current French National Champion Jean Breger are 1st and 2nd overall after today's racing.

Switzerland’s Dirk Oldenburg is 3rd overall. Byrne leads the Corinthian, non-professional, Division.

Daniel Murphy’s Fortitude with new Irish Dragon Champion, Cameron Good helming, is 12th overall with an 11th and 10th scored.

Joey Bergin’s Sir Ossis with Declan Gordon helming are 23rd overall with a 27th & 20th today.

Racing continues until Friday with light winds expected, which might shake things up.

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Martin Byrne’s well travelled Dragon - Jaguar Sailing Team from the Royal St. George Yacht Club will be joined by another three IRL registered teams at this year’s Régates Royales in Cannes where racing commences on Monday next.

Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team which includes Adam Winkelmann and John Simms, have been the only representatives of the Irish Dragon Fleet in recent years on the International circuit of events.

But the recent, post-Covid, resurgence in the Dragon fleet at home where numbers are on the increase in Kinsale, Glandore and Dun Laoghaire sees other new teams travelling abroad for the first time in nearly four years.

Régates Royales is an iconic end-of-season event that is mostly dominated by the Classic Boats. But Dragons have always attended in big numbers there with fleets of over 100 in the past.

This year an international fleet of 35 Dragons from nine countries are joined by four boats registered in Ireland.

Byrne’s Jaguar Team are joined by Daniel Murphy from Kinsale in Fortitude together with Denis and Joey Bergin with Sir Ossis from Dún Laoghaire, and finally, Tarasque from Dún Laoghaire is entered with Mark and Selina Dicker.

Ten races are scheduled from Monday to Friday next on the Bay of Cannes in company with the Classic Fleet, which makes this such a unique and spectacular event.

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Leading the championships from start to finish, Kinsale Yacht Club crew Cameron Good, Henry Kingston and Matthias Hellstern, sailing Little Fella claimed the Irish Dragon National Championships at the Royal St. George YC on Sunday.

Royal St. George's Alistair Kissane, Ronan Murphy and Cian Hughes in Dragon number 180 SerafinaRoyal St. George's Alistair Kissane, Ronan Murphy and Cian Hughes in Dragon number 180 Serafina Photo: Afloat

Despite a strong challenge from the host club's Jaguar Sailing Team of Martin Byrne, Adam Winkelmann and John Simms and also Kinsale clubmates Colm Dunne, Colm Daly and Daniel McCloskey in Ghost, the Good crew prevailed on Sunday afternoon taking the title by a six-point margin with a final race win. 

The host club's Jaguar Sailing Team of Martin Byrne, Adam Winkelmann and John Simms finished third overallThe host club's Jaguar Sailing Team of Martin Byrne, Adam Winkelmann and John Simms finished third overall and top Dublin boat

In an exciting climax to the competition, second and third places overall were decided on the tie-break rule in Ghost's favour on 24 points, a score shared with the Jaguar Sailing Team in third.

Supremacy (Lee Miles) looks for a lane to the weather mark during race six of the Irish Dragon National Championships Photo: AfloatSupremacy number 122 (Lee Miles) looks for a lane to the weather mark during race six of the Irish Dragon National Championships Photo: Afloat

 Race Officer Con Murphy staged seven races for the Irish Dragon Nationals in conditions from light, medium to heavy weather on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatRace Officer Con Murphy staged seven races for the Irish Dragon Nationals in conditions from light, medium to heavy weather on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

 The final two races for the 17-boat fleet were sailed in a 20 knot south easterly on Dublin Bay.

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How to sail, sailing clubs and sailing boats plus news on the wide range of sailing events on Irish waters forms the backbone of Afloat's sailing coverage.

We aim to encompass the widest range of activities undertaken on Irish lakes, rivers and coastal waters. This page describes those sailing activites in more detail and provides links and breakdowns of what you can expect from our sailing pages. We aim to bring jargon free reports separated in to popular categories to promote the sport of sailing in Ireland.

The packed 2013 sailing season sees the usual regular summer leagues and there are regular weekly race reports from Dublin Bay Sailing Club, Howth and Cork Harbour on Afloat.ie. This season and last also featured an array of top class events coming to these shores. Each year there is ICRA's Cruiser Nationals starts and every other year the Round Ireland Yacht Race starts and ends in Wicklow and all this action before July. Crosshaven's Cork Week kicks off on in early July every other year. in 2012 Ireland hosted some big international events too,  the ISAF Youth Worlds in Dun Laoghaire and in August the Tall Ships Race sailed into Dublin on its final leg. In that year the Dragon Gold Cup set sail in Kinsale in too.

2013 is also packed with Kinsale hosting the IFDS diabled world sailing championships in Kinsale and the same port is also hosting the Sovereign's Cup. The action moves to the east coast in July with the staging of the country's biggest regatta, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta from July 11.

Our coverage though is not restricted to the Republic of Ireland but encompasses Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Irish Sea area too. In this section you'll find information on the Irish Sailing Association and Irish sailors. There's sailing reports on regattas, racing, training, cruising, dinghies and keelboat classes, windsurfers, disabled sailing, sailing cruisers, Olympic sailing and Tall Ships sections plus youth sailing, match racing and team racing coverage too.

Sailing Club News

There is a network of over 70 sailing clubs in Ireland and we invite all clubs to submit details of their activities for inclusion in our daily website updates. There are dedicated sections given over to the big Irish clubs such as  the waterfront clubs in Dun Laoghaire; Dublin Bay Sailing Club, the Royal Saint George Yacht Club,  the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club. In Munster we regularly feature the work of Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.  Abroad Irish sailors compete in Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) racing in the UK and this club is covered too. Click here for Afloat's full list of sailing club information. We are keen to increase our coverage on the network of clubs from around the coast so if you would like to send us news and views of a local interest please let us have it by sending an email to [email protected]

Sailing Boats and Classes

Over 20 active dinghy and one design classes race in Irish waters and fleet sizes range from just a dozen or so right up to over 100 boats in the case of some of the biggest classes such as the Laser or Optimist dinghies for national and regional championships. Afloat has dedicated pages for each class: Dragons, Etchells, Fireball, Flying Fifteen, GP14, J24's, J80's, Laser, Sigma 33, RS Sailing, Star, Squibs, TopperMirror, Mermaids, National 18, Optimist, Puppeteers, SB3's, and Wayfarers. For more resources on Irish classes go to our dedicated sailing classes page.

The big boat scene represents up to 60% of the sail boat racing in these waters and Afloat carries updates from the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA), the body responsible for administering cruiser racing in Ireland and the popular annual ICRA National Championships. In 2010 an Irish team won the RORC Commodore's Cup putting Irish cruiser racing at an all time high. Popular cruiser fleets in Ireland are raced right around the coast but naturally the biggest fleets are in the biggest sailing centres in Cork Harbour and Dublin Bay. Cruisers race from a modest 20 feet or so right up to 50'. Racing is typically divided in to Cruisers Zero, Cruisers One, Cruisers Two, Cruisers Three and Cruisers Four. A current trend over the past few seasons has been the introduction of a White Sail division that is attracting big fleets.

Traditionally sailing in northern Europe and Ireland used to occur only in some months but now thanks to the advent of a network of marinas around the coast (and some would say milder winters) there are a number of popular winter leagues running right over the Christmas and winter periods.

Sailing Events

Punching well above its weight Irish sailing has staged some of the world's top events including the Volvo Ocean Race Galway Stopover, Tall Ships visits as well as dozens of class world and European Championships including the Laser Worlds, the Fireball Worlds in both Dun Laoghaire and Sligo.

Some of these events are no longer pure sailing regattas and have become major public maritime festivals some are the biggest of all public staged events. In the past few seasons Ireland has hosted events such as La Solitaire du Figaro and the ISAF Dublin Bay 2012 Youth Worlds.

There is a lively domestic racing scene for both inshore and offshore sailing. A national sailing calendar of summer fixtures is published annually and it includes old favorites such as Sovereign's Cup, Calves Week, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle, All Ireland Sailing Championships as well as new events with international appeal such as the Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Clipper Round the World Race, both of which have visited Ireland.

The bulk of the work on running events though is carried out by the network of sailing clubs around the coast and this is mostly a voluntary effort by people committed to the sport of sailing. For example Wicklow Sailing Club's Round Ireland yacht race run in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club has been operating for over 30 years. Similarly the international Cork Week regatta has attracted over 500 boats in past editions and has also been running for over 30 years.  In recent years Dublin Bay has revived its own regatta called Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and can claim to be the country's biggest event with over 550 boats entered in 2009.

On the international stage Afloat carries news of Irish and UK interest on Olympics 2012, Sydney to Hobart, Volvo Ocean Race, Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race.

We're always aiming to build on our sailing content. We're keen to build on areas such as online guides on learning to sail in Irish sailing schools, navigation and sailing holidays. If you have ideas for our pages we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]