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Irish National Dragon Championships Set to Thrill in Kinsale

19th August 2023
TBD sailed by James Matthews, David Good, and Fergal O’Hanlon, winning the Dragon South Coast Championships at Kinsale earlier in the season
TBD sailed by James Matthews, David Good, Fergal O’Hanlon winning the Dragon South Coast Championships at Kinsale earlier in the season Credit: Bob Bateman

Kinsale Yacht Club is gearing up to host the Irish National Dragon Championships next weekend, which is set to attract boats from the UK, Dublin Bay and Glandore, who will join the strong local Kinsale fleet.

The event, sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald, promises to be a thrilling competition with last year's champions, "Little Fella" helmed by Cameron Good, looking to defend their crown on home waters. However, they won't have it their own way with "TBD" showing early form and winning the South Coasts in Kinsale earlier this season. Other competitors to look out for include Royal St. George's "Phantom" (Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring & David Williams), International Dragon Sailor Martin Byrne, and the Jaguar sailing team, who are rushing back from the Edinburgh Cup to make the start line on time. 

Regatta Director Maeve Cotter is keeping a close eye on the activities as Kinsale Yacht Club will also host the prestigious Gold Cup in September 2024. "We are treating the Nationals this year as a warmup for the Gold Cup next September and are delighted to have principal race officer Con Murphy oversee proceedings," she commented. The racing will take place on the Gold Cup course, well outside the harbor, giving competitors a taste of what they can expect next year. 

"Daniel Murphy and Cantor Fitzgerald are instrumental sponsors of the event, with Kinsale Yacht Club hugely indebted to their significant sponsorship," Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Matthias Hellstern told Afloat.

Daniel, a well-known Dragon sailor, will sail on "Whisper" together with his brother Sean and Brian Goggin. The event is set to kick off next Thursday (August 24th), and the organisers are optimistic that it will be a successful and entertaining competition for all involved.

Published in Dragon, Kinsale Team

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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.