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Royal St. George's Byrne in Top Ten After Two Races of Dragon Edinburgh Cup

12th July 2017
Royal St. George's (from left) Martin Byrne, Conor Byrne and Pedro Andrade in the first race of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup Royal St. George's (from left) Martin Byrne, Conor Byrne and Pedro Andrade in the first race of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup Photo: Fiona Brown

Royal St. George's Martin Byrne, fresh from British South Coast victory last week, is in the hunt for the Dragon Edinburgh Cup 2017 after two well sailed opening races for the sole Dublin Bay boat yesterday. Byrne is in ninth place in the 38–boat fleet. Cork interest in the regatta is focussed on Mark Mansfield's middle man role on Mike Budd's fifth placed entry. Download results below.

The International Dragon fleet is famed for the exceptionally close nature of its racing, but even in the Dragons a three-way tie for the overall lead of a regatta is truly extraordinary. But that is exactly the situation the top three boats have found themselves in. 

Following two wet and windy races in the Central Solent, reigning Dragon World Champions Andy Beadsworth, Simon Fry and Ali Tezdicker sailing TUR1212 Provezza Dragon, five time Edinburgh Cup Champion Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen sailing GBR813 Danish Blue with Hamish McKay and Paul Blowers, and Martin Payne sailing GBR585 Full Speed with Chris Britten and Gillian Hamilton, are all tied for the overall lead on six points.

Mansfield dragonRoyal Cork's Mark Mansfield (left) competing with Mike Budd and Mark Greaves are fifth. Photo: Fiona Brown

Hosted by the Island Sailing Club, this 69th edition of the prestigious Edinburgh Cup has attracted 38 entries from Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland and across the UK, for four days of windward leeward competition. The opening day of racing brought grey skies, a brisk south westerly wind ranging from 12 to 25 knots and a lot of rain. But, whilst conditions might not have been pretty, the racing was absolutely outstanding.

Race one produced a tight four boat tussle between Danish Blue, Full Speed, Graham Bailey's GBR782 Aimee, crewed by Julia Bailey, Will Heritage and Will Bedford, and Oliver Morgan's GBR791 Christianna, crewed by Francesca Morgan and Jamie Lea. On the line the four boats were separated by just 30 seconds with Aimee first, Christianna second, Full Speed third and Danish Blue fourth. A minute behind the leaders and just in front of the pack came Provezza Dragon in fifth, who'd correctly gone right early on the first beat, but then found themselves caught in heavy traffic from another fleet, which cost them dearly.

After their problems in race one, the crew of Provezza Dragon dug deep for race two, sailing a perfect first beat to lead by a comfortable margin at the weather mark. With the advantage of clear air, they were able to extend their lead throughout the race, winning by two seconds shy of a minute. In second was Danish Blue with Full Speed third and Ireland's Martyn Byrne sailing IRL216 Jaguar with son Conor and Pedro Andrade fourth.

In the overall standings the leading trio of Provezza Dragon, Danish Blue and Full Speed, who are all on six points, are followed by fourth place Aimee on eight points, Mike Budd sailing GBR793 Harry with Mark Mansfield and Mark Greaves is in fifth on fourteen points and Christianna sixth on 15 points.

Aimee also now leads the Corinthian competition for all amateur crews, with Owen Pay, Mark Daly and Jon Mortimer sailing GBR777 Furious third and Richard Leask, Willie Adams and Nevin Jaimeson, sailing GBR731 Kestra third.

Once back ashore and dried out, the competitors gathered for the daily prize giving, where not only did they were also invited to enjoy a relaxing head and back massage courtesy of Cowes based BeCalmed Wellbeing and Medi Spa. Caroline Hurley, owner of BeCalmed, present the daily prizes which included special gift baskets and bags from the company. Regatta Chairman Gavia Wilkinson-Cox then invited Race Officer Jill Smith to assist her with the daily draw into which all competitors are entered. Each evening three lucky winners receive one of more than £30,000 worth of prizes generously donated by local and marine companies. Later in the evening the visiting teams all attended "At Home" dinners hosted by members of the Cowes Dragon fleet.

The forecast for day two of the regatta promises to be much drier with lighter winds from the north. Two further races are planned with the first start scheduled for 11.00.

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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