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Dragon Sailing Elite Prepare for 2024 Gold Cup in Kinsale

23rd May 2024
Denis Bergin's  Dublin Bay Dragon crew head upwind off the Old Head of Kinsale. Kinsale Yacht Club will host the 2024 Dragon Gold Cup this September
Denis Bergin's Dublin Bay Dragon crew head upwind off the Old Head of Kinsale. Kinsale Yacht Club will host the 2024 Dragon Gold Cup this September Credit: Bob Bateman

The anticipation for the 2024 Dragon Gold Cup at Kinsale Yacht Club is building as some of the biggest names in Dragon sailing have already confirmed their participation in the upcoming event, sponsored by Astra Construction Services Ltd. With almost six weeks remaining until the entry closing date, 30 teams from various countries, including Switzerland, Great Britain, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, the Netherlands, and France, have already signed up.

Reigning Gold Cup Champion Lawrie Smith, a well-decorated sailor with achievements in the Olympic and America's Cup, is set to defend his title under the flag of the Glandore Yacht Club. Having won the Gold Cup in 2023, Smith will strive to join the exclusive group of sailors who have successfully defended their title in the event's 80-year history. 

"Ireland's exceptional venue with superb open ocean racing and great shoreside atmosphere make it impossible for us to resist defending our title. We'll be up against some tough competition, but we'll give it our best shot," commented Lawrie Smith. 

That tough local competition was on show on Dublin Bay as recently as last weekend when an Irish team bested a three-nation Cannonball Trophy event on Dublin Bay.

Other notable sailors will also participate, such as Wolf Waschkuhn, the reigning Dragon World Champion, and Pedro Rebelo de Andrade of Portugal, who claimed victory in the 2019 Gold Cup. Additionally, Graham and Julia Bailey will sail the historic Bluebottle, once raced by the late Duke of Edinburgh and now owned by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust. 

The 2024 Dragon Gold Cup Kinsale promises an exciting après sailing programme, with sponsorships from Yanmar, Astra Construction Services Ltd, TNG Swiss Watches, Cork County Council, Rooster, Guinness, and more. International visitors will find it convenient to travel to Ireland, with negotiated deals by Kinsale Yacht Club with major ferry companies and excellent direct links to many European cities from Cork International Airport.

The championship, scheduled from September 5 to 13, will feature registration and weighing from Thursday, September 5 to Saturday, September 7, followed by a Practice Race. Championship racing will take place from Sunday, September 8 to Friday, September 13, with six races scheduled in the open ocean against the stunning backdrop of the Old Head of Kinsale. With no discards, four races are required to constitute a series.

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.