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Royal St. George Dragon is Sole Irish Rep at Edinburgh Cup in Cowes

29th June 2017
Martin Byrne's Dragon Jaguar is sailing with his son Conor and Portuguese professional Pedro Andrade at the Edinburgh Cup in Cowes next month Martin Byrne's Dragon Jaguar is sailing with his son Conor and Portuguese professional Pedro Andrade at the Edinburgh Cup in Cowes next month Photo: Neil Hegarty

Martin Byrne's Jaguar Sailing Team from the Royal St. George Yacht Club will be the only Dragon entry from Ireland in the 2017 Edinburgh Cup when racing starts off Cowes, Isle of Wight, on the 11th July.

Byrne, a former Edinburgh Cup winner and runner up, in 2011 & 2012 respectively, returns this year with a strong team including his son Conor and Portuguese professional Pedro Andrade.

"We expect a very difficult event given the quality of the international fleet which includes the 2017 World Champion Andy Beadsworth and his Proveeza Team from Turkey together with multiple former Edinburgh Cup winning teams. Add to that the vagaries of the tidal conditions on the Solent race course this makes for one of the most challenging competitions we will face this season", Byrne told Afloat.ie

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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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