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British Lead Dragon Gold Cup & Local Challenger Lies Seventh

9th September 2012
British Lead Dragon Gold Cup & Local Challenger Lies Seventh

Dragon Gold Cup - Race One. Two Irish Yacht Club Commodores lead the home challenge at the Dragon Gold Cup in Kinsale with race one completed in a windy 20 knot south westerly breeze today. Cameron Good, Commodore of Kinsale YC finished in seventh while Dubliner Martin Byrne, Commodore of Royal St George YC finished 11th in the 70 boat international fleet.

The race was won by current Dragon world champion Lawrie Smith followed by double Olympic gold medalist Poul Rickard Hoj-Jensen. Racing continues until Friday.

Over 250 competitors, supporters and guests attended the Opening Ceremony for the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup 2012 at a reception at Kinsale Yacht Club.

The Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup 2012 got underway in spectacular style as the 60 competitors from 16 nations and 4 continents completed their first race in strong winds and big seas off Kinsale.

The Dragon Gold Cup is legendary for being one of the toughest championships in keelboat racing as it is raced over huge 12+ mile windward leeward courses and there is no discard in the six race series. Today's rough seas and winds of up to 25 knots from the south certainly ensured it was also a test of stamina as well as skill and there were incidents aplenty with a number of spectacular broaches and some exciting mark roundings as the sailors contended with the confused seas and blustery conditions.

The fleet got away cleanly at the first time of asking by PRO Alan Crosbie, and the first beat saw the boats spread out very evenly across the course. At the first weather mark those who had opted to go right had the advantage and it was reigning Dragon World Champion Lawrie Smith, sailing GBR763 Alfie, who led the fleet from double Olympic Gold Medallist Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, sailing GBR775 Danish Blue; Dimitry Samokhin sailing RUS76 Strange Little Girl; 2010 Gold Cup winner Anatoly Loginov sailing RUS27 Annapurna; and Cameron Good, sailing IRL211 Little Fella.

Whilst Smith and Hoj-Jensen then held their positions around the course the battle behind them for third place was fierce. By the start of the final beat Tommy Mueller, sailing GER1123 Sinewave, had pulled up into third just ahead of Samokhin, Good was fifth and Loginov sixth with Lars Hendriksen, sailing UKR7 Bunker Boys, moving up into seventh.

Hoj-Jensen pushed Smith hard on the final beat but both boats also had to defend their positions on the chasing pack. At the line Smith won from Hoj-Jensen whilst Samokhin pulled back up into third with Mueller fourth. Hendriksen, who has claimed the Gold Cup on two previous occasions, sailed a wonderful final leg to cross the line in fifth. Joergen Schoenherr, sailing DEN406 African Queen, also showed blistering pace to go from 11th to sixth on the last beat, just pipping Good on the line.

Cameron Good, Commodore of the Kinsale Yacht Club, also claimed victory in the Corinthian Division, for the all-amateur crews. Dublin's Gary Treacy, sailing IRL198 Dublin Bay, took second place in the Corinthians with Reemt Reemtsma, sailing GBR1121 Caroroo, in third and IDA Chairman Richard Blickman, sailing NED393 Cobweb, fourth.

One of the most impressive stories of the day came from the Australian team aboard AUS222 Puff III. They were running very deep in sixth place on the second run when a rogue wave caught the transom and span them into a Chinese jybe. Helmsman Richard Lynn found himself being swept out of the boat as his crew, Ian Olson and Aussie sailing legend Roger Hickman, battled to get their spinnaker, which was now doing a very good job of trawling for supper, back under control. Fortunately Richard just managed to grab the spinnaker sheet on his way out of the boat and by the time the boys had the kite under control he was back on board. They had lost a number of places but they dug in on the final lap and managed to pull back up into ninth place, keeping themselves firmly in contention.

Five more races are scheduled and the regatta continues until Friday 14th September. Lighter airs are forecast for the next couple of days but strong airs are expected to return later in the week.

The Dragon Gold Cup is considered the open World Cup of Dragon Sailing with 60 boats from 16 countries and several world champions and ex-olympians competing for this prestigious trophy, hosted by Kinsale Yacht Club from 8th-14th September.

Cameron Good, Commodore, Kinsale Yacht Club welcomed all the competitors and supporters and introduced Guest of Honour, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who congratulated Kinsale Yacht Club for hosting this international sailing event and wished everyone good sailing for the week ahead.

Also in attendance were Lieutenant Commander Brian Sweeney, Captain of the LE Ciara Naval Vessel, that docked in Kinsale on Saturday, together with Lieutenant Ronan McLoughlin.

Additional guests included Billy Lynch, Mayor of Kinsale, Conor Grimley from Tilman Brewin Dolphin, Dublin who is participating in the Dragon Gold Cup and Niamh McCutcheon, President of the Irish Sailing Association.

Some of the top sailors competing for the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup include British Olympic Bronze Medallist and reigning Dragon World Champion Lawrie Smith, Danish double Olympic Gold Medallist and five time Dragon Gold Cup winner Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, past Dragon Gold Cup and World Champion Tommy Mueller from Germany, double Dragon Gold Cup and European Champion Lars Hendriksen from Denmark, three time Dragon Gold Cup winner Joergen Schoenherr, also from Denmark and Russia's Anatoly Loginov who won the Gold Cup in 2010.

With teams from sixteen nations competing including visitors from across Europe and as far afield as Australia, Hong Kong, Russia and the Ukraine competition is expected to be fierce.

Two of the top female Dragon helms will also be competing in the form of Britain's Gavia Wilkinson-Cox and Germany's Tanja Jacobsohn, both of whom are more than capable of putting in winning performances.

The Irish Dragon Fleet is well represented by current Edinburgh Cup holder Simon Brien from the Royal North of Ireland YC, Martin Byrne from the Royal St George YC and Andrew Craig, also from the Royal St George YC and recent Irish South Coast Champion, Cameron Good from Kinsale

Regatta Director is Julie Silfverberg; the Race Management team is headed up by Alan Crosbie and the M.Yves Léglise is Chairman of the International Jury.

Published in Dragon
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The Dragon was designed by Johan Anker in 1929 as an entry for a competition run by the Royal Yacht Club of Gothenburg, to find a small keel-boat that could be used for simple weekend cruising among the islands and fjords of the Scandinavian seaboard. The original design had two berths and was ideally suited for cruising in his home waters of Norway. The boat quickly attracted owners and within ten years it had spread all over Europe.

The Dragon's long keel and elegant metre-boat lines remain unchanged, but today Dragons are constructed using the latest technology to make the boat durable and easy to maintain. GRP is the most popular material, but both new and old wooden boats regularly win major competitions while looking as beautiful as any craft afloat. Exotic materials are banned throughout the boat, and strict rules are applied to all areas of construction to avoid sacrificing value for a fractional increase in speed.

The key to the Dragon's enduring appeal lies in the careful development of its rig. Its well-balanced sail plan makes boat handling easy for lightweights, while a controlled process of development has produced one of the most flexible and controllable rigs of any racing boat.

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