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Kinsale Gears Up for Dragon Gold Cup 2024

30th November 2023
Crews from some 20 nations across Australasia, Asia, North America, and Europe are already confirmed for Kinsale's staging of the Dragon Gold Cup 2024
Crews from some 20 nations across Australasia, Asia, North America, and Europe are already confirmed for Kinsale's staging of the Dragon Gold Cup 2024 Credit: Afloat

Preparations are underway in Kinsale for celebrations to mark the 80th anniversary of one of the most prestigious international sailing events. From 6 to 13 September 2024, Kinsale will welcome Dragon sailors from across the globe to compete for the Kinsale Yacht Club Dragon Gold Cup, which has been raced annually since 1937 and will be sponsored by Astra Construction Services Ltd.

This will be the third time that Kinsale Yacht Club (KYC) has hosted the Dragon Gold Cup, the first being in 1977 and the second in 2012. The venue is hugely popular with the Dragon sailing community, and many international teams are expected to compete alongside a strong Irish contingent. International Dragon Association Chairman Gérard Blanc is looking forward to returning to Kinsale, saying, "Since the last Gold Cup in Ireland in 2012, I know that many international Dragon sailors are excited to be returning to one of their favourite venues in the southwest of Ireland. Kinsale is a fantastic place to sail, and a legendary social welcome awaits you. I plan to be there and look forward to meeting as many of you as possible”.

Crews from some 20 nations across Australasia, Asia, North America, and Europe are already confirmed. In attendance will be some of the best sailors on the planet, including multiple Olympic medallists, America’s Cup veterans, World, Continental, and National Champions. The regatta will also feature a Corinthian Division for all amateur crews, who will race alongside the professional teams whilst scoring in their own ranking.

The crew of Dragon Whisper off the Old Head of Kinsale Photo: Dave CullinaneThe crew of Dragon Whisper off the Old Head of Kinsale Photo: Dave Cullinane

Kinsale’s open ocean race area has minimal currents and excellent sailing winds and is backed by southern Ireland’s spectacular coastline, including the famous Old Head of Kinsale. KYC is renowned for creating international regattas of the highest quality and for its generous Irish hospitality.

Kinsale Yacht Club Dragon Gold Cup 2024

The Gold Cup has always been an event aimed at fostering camaraderie amongst the teams and their friends and family. In addition to a superb social programme, which will include opening and closing ceremonies and a special 80th Anniversary gala dinner at Actons Hotel, plus après sailing daily and other social events.

As Afloat reported previously, already, several companies have confirmed their sponsorship of the event, including principal sponsor Astra Construction Services Ltd, a Carrier-based residential construction company, whose managing director Stephen McCarthy will also provide the committee boat for the regatta. TNG Swiss Watches are signed up as the official timekeeper and will be presenting timepieces to the Gold Cup Open and Corinthian Champion helms. Guinness and Cork City Council are also onboard as sponsors, whilst Actons, The Trident and Perryville House hotels will be offering special rates for competitors, which can be booked via the event website.

Heading up the organising committee is Maeve Cotter, an experienced Dragon sailor with international event management experience. “I am really looking forward to welcoming our Dragon sailing friends to our lovely harbour for the Kinsale YC Dragon Gold Cup in 2024 and to celebrating the 80th anniversary of this historic competition.”

Published in Dragon 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.