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Martin Byrne’s Dragon Jaguar Sailing Team of Adam Winkelmann and Pedro Andrade of the Royal St. George Yacht Club finished second overall and top Irish boat after six races sailed at the Cup in Abersoch, North Wales yesterday.

As Afloat reported earlier, The Royal St. George trio came from fifth overall on the final day to be on the podium and within five-points of winners Mike Budd, Mark Greaves and Adam Bowers in the 33-boat fleet.

The Irish Phantom team led by Peter Bowring, Commodore of the Royal St George Yacht Club finished eighth overall. 

Two full races completed a series that was scheduled to run until Friday but a weather forecast prompted the race team to adjust the schedule to complete all races one day early.

Full results are here. There is patchy coverage from Abersoch on the British Dragon Association website here and its Facebook page here

Day 3 report here
An overnight change in the weather forecast pre-empted an adjustment to the sailing schedule for the 33 Dragons and over 100 sailors.

With very heavy weather and strong winds predicted for Friday it was confirmed that the crew’s race would be abandoned, and two races would be run to finish the championship.
A strengthening 10-15 knot SW breeze and rollers were present for the start of race five along with a lot of ebb tide. A general recall under flag U led to a black flag start that saw four boats over the line and another recall.

Start three was successful and 29 Dragons sailed up the bay with Martin Byrne’s Jaguar, Mike Budd’s Harry, Paddy Atkinson’s Seafire, Mike Breivik’s Mars and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox’s Jerboa leading into the windward mark.

Fast sailing downwind resulted in Martin Payne’s Bear and Rob Campbell’s Quicksilver VI pulling back up to the leaders over taking Jerboa and Mars.

After a final 2nm beat the course was shortened to finish at the final downwind gate with Jaguar and Harry finishing seconds apart followed by Bear and Quicksilver VI.

Race six and the final race to count started with a general recall, but an all clear second start saw the fleet split with Graham Bailey’s Aimee and Bear taking the pin-end and a left-hand lane up the beat. Aimee held out longer on the left and this paid hugely for them coming out at the windward mark in the top six. Joining them at the mark was current leaders, Harry along with Mars, Avalanche, Tim Pearson’s ZU and Patrick Lomax’s Good Grief.

A packed windward spreader resulted in many Dragons gybing off to get away from the tide. Holding on to the lead and taking an inner lane downwind was Harry followed by Aimee, Avalanche, David William’s Phantom, Richard Leask’s Kestra and ZU.

Going into the gate and taking the right-hand mark Mike Budd was having some serious issues with his genoa halyard and it looked like the end of his race! Avalanche tacked off to clear their air behind Harry and sailed out towards the right and the shoreline along with Harryot.

The majority of the fleet chose the right taking the land breeze close to SCYC that saw Jaguar and Seafire pull ahead. A long run down to the final leeward gate had Harry, Seafire, Aimee and Jaguar in the leading pack followed by a fast running Bear.

The four top boats ran to the right and middle for a very close finish. Martin Payne spotted another breeze on the left coming from the island with more tide so chose the last of the ebb tide to take him to the finish right behind Seafire.

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Martin Byrne’s reassembled 2011 Edinburgh Cup-winning Dragon Jaguar Sailing Team with Adam Winkelmann and Pedro Andrade onboard are fifth overall and top Irish boat after four races sailed at the Cup in Abersoch, North Wales. The Royal St. George trio scored a win in the second race and are seven points off the overall lead in the 33-boat fleet.

The Irish Phantom team led by Peter Bowring, Commodore of the Royal St George Yacht Club are seventh overall. They are regular visitors to Abersoch and have won the British Northern Championships there on a number of occasions. They last attended the Edinburgh Cup there in 2015 where they finished 5th overall while winning the final two races.

Tim Pearson sailing ZU with Conor Grimley and John Bolger are lying 12th.

Denis Bergin from the Royal Irish Yacht Club with Sir Ossis of the River is competing again at an Edinburgh Cup for the first time in over a decade.  But he returns with a very experienced & successful father & son team of Con & Ronan Murphy and is 18th from 33. 

Now in its 71st year the Edinburgh Cup remains a championship with a great deal of history. It has always been difficult to win and is revered by those who have won many other competitions and events.

Full results here

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Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team used today's UK Dragon Northern Championship event as a warm-up to the Dragon Edinburgh Cup which starts tomorrow at the same venue of South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club in Abersoch, North Wales. The Irish trio missed the first race on Sunday while waiting ashore for some racing wind and began the event with a DNC. However, they made up for this with a second & first in races two & three to lie 10th overall overnight.

Today’s racing, in light breezes again suited the Royal St George Yacht Club team, when they won race 4 to lead overall going into the final two races.

Mike Budd from Abersoch sailing Harry and Graham Bailey from Cowes sailing Aimee were their closest rivals going into races 5 & 6. But all three teams had poor results in race 5 but Byrne was under most pressure having to try and discard his DNC from race 1.

Byrne dragonAdam Winkelmann, Martin Byrne and Pedro Andrade at the Northern Area Championships

Byrne was still leading by 1 point going into the final race. But to win overall they had to be just one place behind Mike Budd and keep him out of 1st place. But in an immensely competitive last race in a dying shifty breeze, Mike Budd did win the final race and Byrne was forced to take some “flyers” to remain in touch eventually crossing the line in 5th.

Byrne is sailing with his 2011 Edinburgh Cup-winning team Adam Winkelmann and Pedro Andrade and are clearly competitive in this fleet of 35 Dragons.

Three more Dublin Bay Dragon teams join the Edinburgh Cup racing tomorrow including, Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta winner Denis Bergin’s, Sir Ossis of the River, from RIYC and Tim Pearson’s Zu from RSGYC and finally National Champions Peter Bowring & David Williams in Phantom from RSGYC.

Results are here

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Day One - A three-way tie on four points overall makes it tight at the top of a 16-boat Dragon fleet competing at its first-ever showing in the O'Leary Life sponsored Sovereign's Cup off Kinsale. 

After two races sailed, Martin Byrne's Jaguar Sailing Team (201) leads by dint of his second race victory this afternoon but Kinsale Yacht Club's own 'Little Fella' (Good/Kingston/ Furney) is second and Byrne's Royal St George YC clubmate Peter Bowring sailing Phantom lies third.

The next three boats are also tied on points. 

The Kinsale event doubles as the Irish National Dragon Championships in a build up to Kinsale Yacht Club's staging of the Dragon Gold Cup in September 2020.

Somewhat unusual easterly breezes for Kinsale and a lumpy sea with 16-knots provided Principal Race Officer Jack Roy with testing conditions for day one of the Cup across three courses.

Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow morning at the Cup but easterly winds are forecast as gusting as high as 40 knots.

Sovereigns Cup dragons1Cameron Goods Little Fella is second overall

Results are here. All provisional and subject to protest.

Scroll down for photo gallery from Day One of the Sovereigns' Cup Dragon action by Bob Bateman below

Sovereigns Cup dragons1Peter Bowring's Phantom is third overall

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Glandore Harbour's Don Street has entered Dragon IRL15, which at 78 years old is thought to be the oldest Dragon still racing, into the 90th-anniversary celebration regatta for the class in Italy.

Street will race against other historic Dragons including ESP1 owned by German Gill-Mendoza March, GER16 owned by Dr Dirk Pramann and Vittorio Boccolini’s EPS2.

As Afloat's WM Nixon wrote earlier this month, the Dragon is among Ireland’s classic sailing boats that appear to be ageless.

With five months still to go 130 entries from 26 nations and 4 continents have already registered, and this number is expected to grow as the event approaches. Alongside the modern Dragons, a large fleet of Classics is expected. 

don street6aThe legendary Don Street – at 89, he races an 86-year-old Dragon with as much enthusiasm as ever

The International Dragon is one of the most sought after one design keelboats in the world and 2019 sees the class celebrate its 90th anniversary. To mark this extraordinary milestone the International Dragon Association is partnering with the Yacht Club Sanremo, Italy, to create a truly exceptional Gala Regatta, bringing together Dragons and Dragon sailors from around the globe and across the eras for a spectacular week long birthday party.

Sanremo, the City of Flowers on the Italian Riviera, has long been a popular venue with the Dragon fleet. The club has a world-renowned reputation for delivering stylish events and top flight competition and is pulling out all the stops for this unique celebration. The Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta will take place from 5 to 13 October 2019 and will combine an exciting and innovative racing programme with some truly fabulous parties.

International Dragon Association (IDA) Chairman Vasily Senatorov looks forward to the regatta saying; “I invite all Dragon sailors and friends from around the globe to attend our 90th Anniversary Regatta and help us celebrate. The IDA, the Yacht Club Sanremo and our sponsor partners are creating an event that will live in our memories forever, and we want all our friends to join us.”

There are many milestones to celebrate as the Dragon turns 90. The boat was designed by Johan Anker in 1929 for a competition being run by the Royal Yacht Club of Gothenburg to find a new two-berth weekend cruiser suitable for sailing the islands and fjords of Scandinavia. The design not only won the competition but rapidly gained huge popularity thanks to her beautiful lines and wonderful sailing performance.

In 1933 AH Ball of the Royal Clyde Yacht Club saw a Dragon while cruising in Scandinavia and fell in love with the design. He obtained a set of plans and persuaded the Clyde clubs, who were looking for a small boat to replace the large and expensive pre-first world war classes, to adopt the class and the first six British Dragons were built by McGruer’s at Clynder at a cost of £220 apiece. The success of the class was immediate and in 1936 the Clyde Yacht Club’s Conference presented a new trophy for international competition called the Gold Cup, which remains the Dragon’s most coveted annual trophy to this day.

As her international following grew, the Dragon was adopted as an Olympic Class for the 1948 London/Torquay Games and she remained an Olympic class until the Munich/Kiel Games of 1972. For some classes deselection for the Olympics sounds a death knell, but for the Dragon is was to be the start of a new era of even greater success.

The International Dragon Association (IDA) has always had the foresight to encompass change whilst fiercely protecting its essential one design philosophy. There have been many changes over the years that have kept the class current, but perhaps the biggest of these was the transition to fibreglass construction. Børressen of Denmark had built large numbers of successful wooden Dragons and Børge Børressen, who won the Dragon Gold Cup for Denmark on the Clyde in 1967, collaborated with Lloyds Register of Shipping to produce the specifications for a new GRP Dragon, which were adopted by the IDA in 1972. So cleverly devised were the new rules that the original wooden and new GRP Dragons could race on a level playing field and the longevity of the class was assured.

The Dragon has been closely associated with European Royalty over the years. In 1948 the Island Sailing Club of Cowes presented the then Princess Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh with a Dragon on the occasion of their wedding. The Duke was a most active member of the class for many years and presented a number of international trophies which are still raced for today. HM King Constantine and members of the Dutch, Norwegian and Danish royal families have also owned and raced Dragons, often with considerable success.

Today the Dragon remains the preeminent three-man international keelboat class. Continued careful rule management has ensured that the boat remains as much of a head turner today as ever, whilst at the same time incorporating the very latest racing technology. From the outset she attracted top flight sailors who fell in love with sailing her, and this is as true today as it ever was. Her easy performance and good manners mean that she also continues to appeal to family sailors and those simply seeking a superb yacht, just as she did to those young people who purchased the first Dragons for cruising back in the late 1920s.

The 90th Anniversary Regatta will celebrate all these elements of the Dragon’s long life and more, including the extraordinary camaraderie for which the fleet is famous. The programme will include a number of special races such as a Lady helmsman’s race, a race for Junior crews where the total age of crew is to be under 100 years and the skipper must be born after 1986, a Masters race where the total age of the crew must be over 180 years, a Family crews race in which all crew members must be related, and a Champion of Champions race for winners and medallists of Olympic Games, World and European Championships and World Cup in any class and the Dragon Gold Cup.

For the main races, the fleet will be split into groups for a preliminary round-robin series, followed by finals for Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets. The on-water highlight of the regatta will be the 90th Anniversary Race in which the entire assembled fleet will race as one from a single start line. The last time such a race was run was the Dragon 75th Anniversary Regatta in St Tropez when some 275 Dragons came to the line for a race that will always live in the memory of all who participated.

The shoreside celebrations will be lavish with post sailing parties daily featuring typical Italian produce, music and fun, a spectacular Gala Birthday Party, to be held in the stunning Art Deco Victory Morgana Bay waterside restaurant, and very special closing prize giving. As well as those racing the regatta will attract many long-standing Dragon friends and family. Spectator boats will be available for those who wish to watch the racing and the Yacht Club Sanremo will provide a superb base from which all can enjoy the regatta. The event will be supported by the City of Sanremo and the Royal Hotel, Sanremo.

“The Yacht Club Sanremo its enthusiastic for this great event. The Dragon class has, for more than ten years, been a core class for the club and to be invited to organise this great event is a big honour. We will work hard to make this event a fantastic "festival" for the Dragonist.” - Umberto Zocca di Montelupo, Yacht Club Sanremo

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Calendars in Kinsale fill quickly and Sunday saw the annual Ecumenical service of Sea Sunday attract sailors and fishermen and first responders to the seaside town. The annual vintage car rally added character and colour and one mile South of Sandycove Island the second day of the Barry Ryan Civil Engineering sponsored open keelboat Regatta saw Dragons and Squibs sail in idyllic conditions.

Saturday’s racing had been testing for Race Officer Donal Hayes with a wind swing of over 100 degrees toward the end of the second race. It had been well forecast and planned for, and before the Dragons could finish their smashed avocadoes on toast, the seasoned mark layers of Kinsale Yacht Club had laid a whole new course. Fingers were crossed but the wind stayed fair and true. At the end of the day Cameron Good et’ al led the Dragons and Colm Dunne the squibs – but by small margins, and it was all to play for in day 2.

There was a particularly sweet win for Glandore’s Aphrodite in Race 2 as she spotted a line of wind no one else had and slipped away from the pack, winning a full leg ahead of boats half her age. The boat enjoyed it just as much as the crew.

On Day 2 the weather again delivered what was forecast and Grand Prix conditions provided three tough races. Sailing isn’t always enjoyable to watch but a Dragon Fleet, start-line scramble resulted in a number of recalls and a lot of open exchanges of opinion. The excitement continued with personal battles fought and marks being put down well into the afternoon. Wins were not easily come by.

The Squib fleet were just as contentious and the nip and tuck racing left no room for error. Race 2 was marred/enhanced by a number of boats protesting a single boat – but all for different reasons. The fleet appeared to self-regulate, the protested boat retired and protests were withdrawn. Asked about what happened the only answer was ‘That would be an ecumenical matter’. 

A stellar weekend, enjoyed by all. 

Results:

Squib

1 Allegro (C. Dunne & F. Ward)
2 Outlaw (I. Travers & K. O’Riordan)
3 Fifty Shades (C. Daly & M. Buckley)

Dragon

1 Little Fella (C. Good, H. Kingston & S. Furney)
2 Serefina (B. Goggin, D. Murphy & H. Lewis)
3 Tenacious (A. O’Neill, E. O’Neil & D. Horgan)

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At a time when we’re constantly being warned in public life that we have to mark the current “Era of Centenaries” in a sensitive manner, it’s probably insensitive to respond by pointing out that the Irish sailing community is having quite enough trouble, thank you, in getting used to the fact that some boats we still think of as being modern are actually entering the vintage category and beyond writes W M Nixon.

But that’s the way it is. Perhaps “ageless” is not the word we seek. Maybe we should be veering more towards the all-enveloping category of “timeless”. Whatever it is, there are many among us who simply can’t get our heads around the fact that the always-elegant International Dragon is 90 years old in 2019, while the ever-young, fresh-as-a-daisy Laser is having her Golden Jubilee.

Laser Class Golden Jubilee

Or maybe it will be next year – it all depends on how closely things followed on from the ground-breaking Laser-creating phone call in 1969 (or even earlier) between Canadian boat ideas man Ian Bruce, and fellow-Canadian designer Bruce Kirby, aimed at providing an inexpensive easily-carried single-hander which looked good and sailed well.

The boat as she emerged – finally christened the Laser in December 1970 – closely followed Kirby’s original doodle in the immortal style of the best inventions. And of course, she has become one of the few boats to acquire Olympic status (it was in 1996) while remaining genuinely and hugely popular at club level.

We’re well aware that some global Laser production had been going through such a sticky patch recently that we’re now meant to call the officially-recognised boat the “ILCA Dinghy”. But it’s going to take some doing to get a re-naming to stick in place for a boat with the Laser’s long-standing popularity and brand recognition.

This popularity was very clear at last September’s Laser World Masters in Dun Laoghaire, with more than three hundred sailors from all over the globe, and Ireland getting a star performance from Mark Lyttle of the National Yacht Club. A turnout on this scale really was something else – there were Lasers in abundance whichever way you looked, and more than a few of the helms far out-dated the design concept of their wonderful little boats.

mark lyttle2Mark Lyttle (NYC) training in Dublin Bay for the first Olympics with the Laser in 1996, when he was a race winner. Photo: David O’Brien/Afloat.ie
mark lyttle3 Mark Lyttle after winning the Grand Masters Division in the Laser Worlds in Dublin Bay in September 2018. Photo: David O’Brien/Afloat.ie

But equally, as the “Masters” categories begin at age 35, there were quite a few helms who had yet to make their debut on the planet when the Laser was already born, so the vintage overall nature of the boat could well match the impressive range of maturity of some of the most senior helms.

This will be in evidence at the Irish Laser Masters this weekend in Howth, where they’ve had a continuous Laser racing programme on the go since 1974. But though Howth’s annual frostbite series for this timeless little boat continue to attract a healthy turnout, as is so often the case the sheer population weighting to be found south of the Liffey means that Dun Laoghaire names pack numbers and success, and defending champion in the Radials is RStGYC’s Sean Craig, who expects strong competition from clubmate Marco Sorgassi, while the home club’s Dan O’Connell, Dave Quinn and Daragh Kelleher are in winning form.

sean craig4Sean Craig, defending champion in the Radials this weekend’s Irish Laser Masters at Howth
These are all sailors to whom the adjective “timeless” could equally apply - living embodiments of the saying that sailing is a sport for youth of all ages. And even if the Laser does get replaced in the Olympic stakes by some newer design – as has been hinted for the French Olympics in 2024 – we only need to look at the story of the International Dragon to realize that Laser sailors will continue to have their sweet little boats as designed by Bruce Kirby playing a very big part of their life afloat well into the foreseeable future and beyond.

Because once upon a time, the International Dragon was very much a part of the Olympic circus. So much so, in fact, that when she got her marching orders after the 1972 Olympics - having been in the lineup since 1948 – there were those who thought it would lead to an inevitable decline in the class.

Dragon Class is Ninety Years Old

But on the contrary, it seems that most Dragon sailor cared a lot more about the joy they got from their boats than they did about the Olympic thing. So much so, in fact, that today the class is facing into year 90 in the very best of health, and its big championship, the 2019 Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup at Medemblik in the Netherlands from the 8th to 14th June, has already attracted more than a hundred boats from 16 nations in four continents, with Jorgen Schonherr from Denmark the defender after the championship in Finland last year.

dragon fleet5So who needs to be an Olympic class? The Dragon Gold Cup ten years ago. The 2019 event in The Netherlands in June has already attracted more than a hundred entries from sixteen countries.

The Dragon first appeared in Sweden in 1929 to a design by Norwegian Johan Anker, and there has been Irish involvement in the class since at least 1936. Certainly what is probably the most senior Dragon still racing – Don Street’s Gypsy in Glandore – is all of 86 years old, and she has been in Ireland a long time. As for her extraordinary skipper, he is one of the keenest advocates of the Dragon as a boat for sailors of all ages even if he himself is 89, but he concedes in the Dragon-sailing longevity stakes to Australia’s champion Gordon Ingate, who this year will be 92.

don street6aThe legendary Don Street – at 89, he races an 86-year-old Dragon with as much enthusiasm as ever

These figures are enough to make anyone dizzy, so to get some idea of the Dragon’s enduring appeal, let’s consider Irish involvement with the Gold Cup, which dates back to 1936. On several occasions, we’ve had a top Irish boat there or thereabouts, but the harsh reality if that it was brought back to Ireland only the once, and it was to Northern Ireland, to the then-thriving Dragon fleet at RNIYC at Cultra on Belfast Lough.

It was 1947, and the winner when the Gold Cup was raced on the Firth of Clyde was Eric Strain of RNIYC helming Billy Barnett’s Ceres. This led in due course to Strain becoming the British Dragon Helm in the 1948 Olympics at Torquay. But as Ceres was just a standard Scandinavian-built Dragon, Billy Barnett – who owned a successful Belfast engineering firm – decided that the exceptional talent of Eric Strain deserved the very best boat that money could buy, so the legendary yacht-building firm of Camper & Nicholson in Gosport were commissioned for the job.

dragon planing8Offshore at Glandore, the Dragons can get up and fly…Photo: GHYC/Richard Harrison
The resulting Ceres II was an exquisite bit of work. Maybe too exquisite. It was suspected that she was slightly heavier and not as fast as the first Ceres, and at the 1948 Olympiad, while Eric Strain and Ceres II did well, it wasn’t quite good enough. They were fourth. In Ireland, we do not need to be reminded of the huge void – a veritable chasm - to be found between the Bronze Medal-winning third and the otherwise commendable but medal-less fourth…….

1948 is now 71 years ago, yet today the International Dragon continues to play a very special role in world sailing. It’s something we take for granted. But what other sport would be continuing to use equipment designs whose unchanged basic concept originated 90 years ago? Boats which - to many of us - still seem well up-to-date.

Historic Ketch Ilen

It brings us back to that concept of timelessness. This weekend, the Limerick ketch Ilen will be on passage from Dunmore East towards Dublin Bay, and when people get to see her at Poolbeg from Sunday evening, and at the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire next Friday, they’ll be in no doubt that they’re looking at a concept of considerable antiquity, as her design of 1926 was evolved from Conor O’Brien’s Saoirse design of 1923, which O’Brien said was in turn inspired to some extent by a notably able Arklow fishing boat which dated from the 1860s.

Whatever the origins, it means that Ilen is only three years older than the International Dragon, and that the Laser has been around for more than half of Ilen’s existence. Truly, ours is one extraordinary sport. And if you really want to point up the oddities of vehicle design which sailing can produce, just consider that some years ago the berth at the RIYC which Ilen will occupy was very elegantly filled by the 70ft Fife designed-and-built cutter Hallowe’en.

Halloween light9A Fastnet Race record setter, the 70ft Fife cutter Hallowe’en (seen here at the RIYC in Dun Laoghaire) was built in 1926. Photo: W M Nixon
ilen kinsale10The 56ft Ilen – seen here in Kinsale this week – was also built in 1926. Photo: Gary MacMahon

Hallowe’en was built in 1926, and she took line honours in that year’s Fastnet Race in a record time which stood for many years. It’s mind-boggling to think that in the same year – and in a boatyard at Baltimore near the Fastnet Rock itself – the unbelievably different Ilen took shape. Yet such is the case, and next Friday we’ll have the opportunity to savour the variety of sailing craft which the special calls of seafaring can produce - and each and every one of them has their devoted adherents.

Published in W M Nixon

There was bad luck for Ireland's Jaguar racing team in Portgual today when the Royal St George trio of Martin Byrne, Mark Pettit and Brian Matthews scored two Black Flag disqualifications. It brings an end to the Dun Laoghaire team’s goal of a top ten finish at the Cascais Dragon European Cup event. 

The competition at the Dragon HM King Juan Carlos Trophy in Cascais is really heating up with the top five boats now separated by just three points going into the last day of the regatta. Day three saw races five and six of the eight race series completed in 13 to 18 knots under clear blue skies. Two more race winners came to the fore, meaning that there have now been six winners in six races. Even by the exceptional standards of the Dragon fleet, the competition is exceptionally close and with two races still to go the regatta remains wide open.

Once again the fleet struggled with the current on the start line and once again the race committee employed first their Uniform and then their Black Flag to get them underway.

In race five overnight leader Grant Gordon from Scotland and third placed Jens Rathsack of Monaco were both over at the start and had to pull out of the race. For those still racing it was nip and tuck until the third run. Mutli-Championship winning Dragon legend Lars Hendricksen, crewing this week for Dutchman Pieter Heerema, takes up the story:

"At the start the pin end was favoured. We nearly won the pin, but didn't quite make it. We went out to the left and then crossed behind the fleet going to the right side. We took a few shifts out to the right and came into the first mark in fourth. For the next couple of legs the boats were fighting closely, but on the third downwind the boats that went left went right into this shadow behind the mountains, so there was a kind of vacuum and we saw that when we were in fourth or fifth position, so we basically gybed away, took a big circle around the fleet and we were leading."

Heerema then held that lead for a confident race victory from Germany's Otto Pohlmann. Peter Gilmour sailing for Japan finished third, clearly demonstrating that his boat was none the worse for her night spent underwater, Frenchman Gery Trentesaux took fourth and Russians Dmitry Samokhin and Anatoly Loginov were fifth and sixth respectively. Portugal's Pedro Rebelo de Andrade crossed in seventh, making him the only boat still holding an all single digit scoreline, and Switzerland's Hugo Stenbeck was eighth.

Going into race six Heerema now held a one point overall lead from Loginov. Andrade lay three points further pack in third and Gordon, Stenbeck, Samokhin and Rathsack were all within three points of him.

Again the fleet were over eager at the start of race six, but this time the leading group managed to stay out of trouble. Having been excluded from race five Rathsack came back with a vengeance to take first place ahead of Samokhin. Switzerland's Hugo Stenbeck slotted into third and Trentesaux took his second fourth place of the day. Gordon was fifth and Loginov sixth.

In the overall standings Anatoly Loginov will start the final day of racing on twenty-five points, with a single point lead over Jens Rathsack. Hugo Stenbeck and Dmitry Samokhin have twenty-seven points apiece with Stenbeck taking third on countback, Grant Gordon sits on twenty-eight points and Pedro Andrade is in sixth with thirty points. Heerema had something of a shocker in the sixth race finishing, knocking him firmly off the lead and down into seventh overall, four points behind Andrade.

In the Corinthian Division Portugal's Miguel Magalhaes has strengthened his lead, while Belgium's Guy Celis has moved into second place, leapfrogging over Manuel Rocha who was protested and penalised for a start line incident in race six and down to third.

The regatta concludes tomorrow, Saturday 4 May, with a maximum of two further races possible. The first start is schedule for 11.00 and there is a final warning signal cut off time of 14.00. With so much to play for everyone will be hoping that the wind gods cooperate and both races can be completed.

Provisional Top Ten After Four Races

Anatoly Loginov - RUS27 - (20), 3, 7, 3, 6, 6 = 25
Jens Rathsack - MON2 - 11, 6, 2, 6, (UFD), 1 = 26
Hugo Stenbeck - SUI311 - 2, (23), 12, 1, 8, 3 = 27
Dmitry Samokhin - RUS76 - 2, (21), 9, 9, 5, 2 = 27
Grant Gordon - GBR820 - 12, 1, 3, 7, (UFD), 5 = 28
Pedro Rebelo de Andrade - POR84 - 5, 8, 6, 4, 7, (13) = 30
Pieter Heerema - NED412 - 7, 2, (16), 8, 1, 16 = 34
Gery Trentesaux - FRA428 - 19. 7. 1, (DSQ), 4, 4 = 35
Martin Payne - GBR769 - (18), 13, 4, 2, 12, 11 = 42
Otto Pohlmann, GER1205 - 10, (DNF), 13, 12, 2, 7 = 44

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After the strong winds and drama of the opening day, day two of the Dragon HM King Juan Carlos Trophy, being hosted by the Clube Naval de Cascais Royal St. George's Martin Byrne are now sixteenth overall in the second leg of the 2019 European Cup. As Afloat previously reported, crewed by Brian Matthews and Mark Pettit, the Dun Laoghaire trio are now 13 points outside the top ten in the 29-boat fleet. A second Irish boat, Jonathan Bourke's Cloud, is 28th. Full results are here

The change in conditions brought a welcome change of pace with light to moderate breezes and plenty of hot sunshine. Races three and four of the eight race series, brought some surprise results and a significant shakeup on the leader board.

Just prior to the start of racing all attention was on the recovery of Peter Gilmour's Team Yanmar JPN56 following her sinking after yesterday's race. Excellent work by the club staff, Pedro Andrade of 8th Dimension Racing and a professional dive team saw her rapidly recovered. Fortunately, the boat had come off virtually unscathed and Gilmour has confirmed that they will be back with the fleet tomorrow.

Out on the race course, Cascais continued to offer superbly challenging sailing for this top-flight Dragon fleet, with lots of shifts and some tricky wave patterns to contend with.

On the starts the fleet struggled with current taking them over the line and it took three attempts to get each race underway. In race three the committee brought out the Uniform Flag and both Russia's Viktor Fogelson and Portugal's Pedro Mendes Leal had to take scoring penalties. In race four the committee went to Black Flag and four teams were disqualified, a move which was to have significant impact on the overall standings.

As always consistency is the key to success and Britain's Martin Payne, sailing with Ali Tezdiker and Antonio Matos, proved to be the most consistent performers of the day. A fourth in the opening race followed by a second in race four moved them nicely up the leader board from sixteenth to seventh.

Monaco's Jens Rathsack, crewed by Diogo Pereira and Frederico Melo also had a great day scoring a second and sixth. Scotland's Grant Gordon, sailing with Ruairidh Scott, James Williamson and Alex Warren took a third in race three and then a seventh, while Russia's Anatoly Loginov with Vadim Statsenko and Alexander Shalagin did the reverse with a seventh and then a third.

With overnight leader Gilmour temporarily out of the picture, Gordon jumps from fourth into the overall regatta lead by two points from Loginov who had come into the day in eleventh place, while Rathsack goes from seventh to third, a single point behind Loginov. Also scoring ten points for the day thanks to sixth and fourth places was Pedro Rebelo de Andrade, who remains in fifth overall by one point.

After racing Jens Rathsak spoke about how close the competition is: "Our third race was almost perfect. An easy start, we had good speed out of the start, we chose the correct side and ended up being second at the first mark. Normally it pays to go right here in Cascais, but today it was left so everything is changing. It was very close on the finishing line, we finished second tacking in just ahead of Grant Gordon. The fleet is closely matched, the points are very equal, so the championship overall is going to restart tomorrow and everything is still up for grabs."

Switzerland's Hugo Stenbeck won race four and with a twelfth in race three now lies in fifth place overall, one point behind Andrade and one ahead of Dutchman Pieter Heerema, who had a tricky day with a sixteenth and eighth place which pushed him down from second to sixth place overall.

Top French offshore sailor Gery Trentesaux got his day off to a great start with a win by the narrowest of margins in race three, but then fell foul of the Black Flag in race four.

Also caught by the Black Flag was fellow Frenchman Stephane Baseden, who came into the day in sixth place and took fifth in race three, but now drops down into ninth overall, ten points behind the leader.

In the Corinthian Division for the all amateur teams Portugal's Miguel Magalhaes, crewed by Jorge Pinheiro de Melo and Jose Magalhaes has taken a four point lead over his fellow countryman Manual Rocha crewed by Jose Bello and Bernardo Torres Pego. The Belgian team of Guy Celis, Willie Hambrouck and Steven Vermier are third Corinthians at this mid point in the regatta.

After racing the crews came together to enjoy some of the Clube Naval de Cascais' legendary daily hospitality and bask in the warmth of the late afternoon breeze on the club's harbour view terrace.

Two further races are schedule for tomorrow with the start time revised from 11.00 to 13.00 to again allow for the anticipated early afternoon arrival of the sea breeze. The regatta continues until Saturday 4 May with a total of eight races programmed.

Provisional Top Five After Four Races

Grant Gordon - GBR820 - (12), 1, 3, 7 = 11
Anatoly Loginov - RUS27 - (20), 3, 7, 3 = 13
Jens Rathsack - MON2 - (11), 6, 2, 6 = 14
Pedro Rebelo de Andrade - POR84 - 5, (8), 6, 4 = 15
Hugo Stenbeck - SUI311 - 2, (23), 12, 1 = 16

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Royal St. George's Dragon ace Martin Byrne is lying 11th in the second leg of the 2019 European Cup. As Afloat previously reported, crewed by Brian Matthews and Mark Pettit, the Dun Laoghaire trio scored a 15 and a ten in yesterday's opening rounds. Full results are here

The opening day of the 24th HM King Juan Carlos Trophy in Cascais produced the strong winds and big seas for which this open ocean venue is famous. After the success of the inaugural Dragon European Cup regatta in Cannes in early April, the top Dragon teams from across Europe and as far afield as Japan, Hong Kong and Russia have made the pilgrimage to Portugal for this second leg of the four regatta plus Grand Final series.

The Clube Naval de Cascais provided two excellent windward leeward courses as the wind built from mid teens at the start of racing to approaching 30 knots by the end of the day. The racing was superbly competitive and first blood went to the Japanese Yanmar Team, helmed by America's Cup and World Match Racing Tour legend Peter Gilmour, crewed by Yasuhiro Yaji and Sam Gilmour. They followed this up with a fifth in the second race to end the day with a three point overall lead on their nearest rivals.

Lying in second place after two races is the Dutch team of Vendee Glove veteran Pieter Heerema, crewed by the multiple Dragon championship winning Lars Hendricksen and George Leonchuck. They opened their series with a seventh and then added a second to put them three points behind Gilmour and three ahead of the Spanish team of Javier Scherk, crewed by Paulo Manso and Diogo Barros, who put an eighth and fourth on their score card.

The second race was won by Scotland's Grant Gordon, crewed by Ruairidh Scott, James Williamson and Alex Warren, and this combined with a twelfth in race one, in which they had ended up on the wrong side of one of the big shifts, to put them into fourth overall on thirteen points, one point behind Scherk. Also finishing the day with thirteen points and now lying fifth overall is top Portugal's Pedro Rebelo de Andrade who came into the regatta leading the European Cup after his victory in Cannes and as a home waters favourite.


It was a tough day both physically and mentally for the crews. The wind was very shifty and frequently varying in strength from the low teens to high twenty knots. After racing Grant Gordon's team noted that they had done the final race with their medium jib and settings as although it was topping out at around 28 knots, much of the time it was significantly lighter so having the flexibility to change gears rapidly was vital.

Whilst the majority of the fleet racing this week are extremely experienced there is one young team taking part in their very first Dragon European Cup event. The British Scaramouche Sailing Project takes pupils from The Grieg City Accademy in London's Haringey District, one of the city's most deprived areas, and uses sailing to encourage them to reach their full potential. During the Cannes event the project's Kacey Marfo raced aboard the winning boat with Pedro Andrade, and this week Andrade has lent one of his fleet of Petticrow V6 Dragons to a team entirely made up of Project Scaramouch sailors. The boat is helmed by Jahvarn Knight with Martin Evans, Jessey Opoku-Ware and Jaydon Owusu crewing. They did themselves proud with a 21st and 25th today, no mean achievement against such a strong international fleet in such challenging conditions. The grins on their faces as they came ashore said it all and Jahvarn Knight summed up the day for everyone when he described it simply as "Epic."

The strong conditions led to a few retirements with gear failure, including one broken mast which will be replaced overnight, but the more serious incident of the day actually happened after racing. A sudden very strong shifting squall hit the fleet on their final approach to the marina. Unfortunately, Peter Gilmour caught the squall at the same time as an awkward wave and he was knocked into the boat resulting in an involuntary tack. With the jib pinned to weather and the main on the runner, the boat was simply blown down by the wind and large waves. Fortunately, his is one of the latest designs with raised floorboards and increased buoyancy so the crew had time to clear themselves safely from the boat before she went down. It also gave them time to take their GPS position so they could subsequently mark the location and a dive team has been organised for early morning and hopes are high that they will be able to recover the boat and continue to race tomorrow.

With the wind forecast to be lighter in the morning, the Race Committee has published an amendment to the sailing instructions to delay the start of racing from the originally published 11.00 to 13.00. Although published prior to the sinking of Team Yanmar, this delay might just buy Gilmour the extra time he needs to get his boat back and ready to race.

Two further races are scheduled for today and the regatta continues until Saturday 4 May with a total of eight races programmed. Three races are required to constitute a series and a single discard will be allowed once five races have been completed.

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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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