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Royal St George's Phantom is Top Irish Dragon as 2024 Gold Cup in Kinsale Comes Closer

11th January 2022
Dara McGee's - 'Under a mackerel sky', part of the Curacha outdoor exhibition
Despite pandemic restrictions, the three major Dragon championships went ahead as planned along with two other regional events including the East Coasts on Dublin Bay pictured above Credit: Afloat

The Irish Dragon Fleet continues to build interest as the 2024 Gold Cup in Kinsale comes closer. News that the Glandore and Kinsale fleets particularly are experiencing strong growth in numbers and standard of sailors is contained in the International Dragon Class Review for 2021 just published. 

This year saw the addition of Colm Dunne and Colm Daly in Kinsale, two established Squib sailors who showed immediate pace finishing a superb second in the Irish Nationals. Glandore Harbour continues to foster many young talents in the Dragon class with Don Street still sailing competitively at over 90 years of age!

Despite pandemic restrictions, the three major championships went ahead as planned along with two other regional events.

Little Fella (Cameron Good, Henry Kingston & Simon Fourney/ Matthias Hellstern) Little Fella (Cameron Good, Henry Kingston & Simon Fourney/ Matthias Hellstern) Photo: Bob Bateman

Results were dominated by Little Fella (Cameron Good, Henry Kingston & Simon Fourney/ Matthias Hellstern) winning three out of the five events with Phantom (Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring & David Williams) winning the other two.

The 2021 International Dragon Class ReviewThe front cover of the  2021 International Dragon Class Review just published. Read it online via the link below

The Irish National title once again went to Phantom who has now won this prestigious regatta nine times and the last four years in a row!

Irish Dragon champions - Phantom David Williams, Peter Bowring & Neil Hegarty from the Royal St. George Yacht ClubIrish Dragon champions - Phantom David Williams, Peter Bowring & Neil Hegarty from the Royal St. George Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Irish Dragon sailors have once again begun to travel to European events. Seasoned International campaigners Martin Byrne and Team Jaguar have based themselves in Vilamoura for the winter whilst Brian Goggin & Daniel Murphy recently borrowed Michael Cotter's beautiful classic Tarasque to sail in the December winter series in Cannes.

Ireland's Dragon trio Martin Byrne, Adam Winkelmann and John Simms competed in Vilamoura In NovemberDragon trio Martin Byrne, Adam Winkelmann and John Simms

Interest is also building amongst the Irish fleet to travel to the likes of Douarnenez and Falmouth in 2022.

Kinsale’s plans for the Gold Cup 2024 are also well underway with title sponsorship already secured from yacht club member Stephen McCarthy and his company Astra Construction.

The Irish Dragon Association are planning to hold a number of feeder events for the Gold Cup to make travelling more attractive. These will include applications to the IDA for a Grand Prix event in the lead up to the Gold Cup.

Read the full Dragon Review for 2021 is online here

Published in Dragon, RStGYC, Kinsale
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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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