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Dragon Gold Cup - Race One. Two Irish Yacht Club Commodores lead the home challenge at the Dragon Gold Cup in Kinsale with race one completed in a windy 20 knot south westerly breeze today. Cameron Good, Commodore of Kinsale YC finished in seventh while Dubliner Martin Byrne, Commodore of Royal St George YC finished 11th in the 70 boat international fleet.

The race was won by current Dragon world champion Lawrie Smith followed by double Olympic gold medalist Poul Rickard Hoj-Jensen. Racing continues until Friday.

Over 250 competitors, supporters and guests attended the Opening Ceremony for the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup 2012 at a reception at Kinsale Yacht Club.

The Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup 2012 got underway in spectacular style as the 60 competitors from 16 nations and 4 continents completed their first race in strong winds and big seas off Kinsale.

The Dragon Gold Cup is legendary for being one of the toughest championships in keelboat racing as it is raced over huge 12+ mile windward leeward courses and there is no discard in the six race series. Today's rough seas and winds of up to 25 knots from the south certainly ensured it was also a test of stamina as well as skill and there were incidents aplenty with a number of spectacular broaches and some exciting mark roundings as the sailors contended with the confused seas and blustery conditions.

The fleet got away cleanly at the first time of asking by PRO Alan Crosbie, and the first beat saw the boats spread out very evenly across the course. At the first weather mark those who had opted to go right had the advantage and it was reigning Dragon World Champion Lawrie Smith, sailing GBR763 Alfie, who led the fleet from double Olympic Gold Medallist Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, sailing GBR775 Danish Blue; Dimitry Samokhin sailing RUS76 Strange Little Girl; 2010 Gold Cup winner Anatoly Loginov sailing RUS27 Annapurna; and Cameron Good, sailing IRL211 Little Fella.

Whilst Smith and Hoj-Jensen then held their positions around the course the battle behind them for third place was fierce. By the start of the final beat Tommy Mueller, sailing GER1123 Sinewave, had pulled up into third just ahead of Samokhin, Good was fifth and Loginov sixth with Lars Hendriksen, sailing UKR7 Bunker Boys, moving up into seventh.

Hoj-Jensen pushed Smith hard on the final beat but both boats also had to defend their positions on the chasing pack. At the line Smith won from Hoj-Jensen whilst Samokhin pulled back up into third with Mueller fourth. Hendriksen, who has claimed the Gold Cup on two previous occasions, sailed a wonderful final leg to cross the line in fifth. Joergen Schoenherr, sailing DEN406 African Queen, also showed blistering pace to go from 11th to sixth on the last beat, just pipping Good on the line.

Cameron Good, Commodore of the Kinsale Yacht Club, also claimed victory in the Corinthian Division, for the all-amateur crews. Dublin's Gary Treacy, sailing IRL198 Dublin Bay, took second place in the Corinthians with Reemt Reemtsma, sailing GBR1121 Caroroo, in third and IDA Chairman Richard Blickman, sailing NED393 Cobweb, fourth.

One of the most impressive stories of the day came from the Australian team aboard AUS222 Puff III. They were running very deep in sixth place on the second run when a rogue wave caught the transom and span them into a Chinese jybe. Helmsman Richard Lynn found himself being swept out of the boat as his crew, Ian Olson and Aussie sailing legend Roger Hickman, battled to get their spinnaker, which was now doing a very good job of trawling for supper, back under control. Fortunately Richard just managed to grab the spinnaker sheet on his way out of the boat and by the time the boys had the kite under control he was back on board. They had lost a number of places but they dug in on the final lap and managed to pull back up into ninth place, keeping themselves firmly in contention.

Five more races are scheduled and the regatta continues until Friday 14th September. Lighter airs are forecast for the next couple of days but strong airs are expected to return later in the week.

The Dragon Gold Cup is considered the open World Cup of Dragon Sailing with 60 boats from 16 countries and several world champions and ex-olympians competing for this prestigious trophy, hosted by Kinsale Yacht Club from 8th-14th September.

Cameron Good, Commodore, Kinsale Yacht Club welcomed all the competitors and supporters and introduced Guest of Honour, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who congratulated Kinsale Yacht Club for hosting this international sailing event and wished everyone good sailing for the week ahead.

Also in attendance were Lieutenant Commander Brian Sweeney, Captain of the LE Ciara Naval Vessel, that docked in Kinsale on Saturday, together with Lieutenant Ronan McLoughlin.

Additional guests included Billy Lynch, Mayor of Kinsale, Conor Grimley from Tilman Brewin Dolphin, Dublin who is participating in the Dragon Gold Cup and Niamh McCutcheon, President of the Irish Sailing Association.

Some of the top sailors competing for the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup include British Olympic Bronze Medallist and reigning Dragon World Champion Lawrie Smith, Danish double Olympic Gold Medallist and five time Dragon Gold Cup winner Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, past Dragon Gold Cup and World Champion Tommy Mueller from Germany, double Dragon Gold Cup and European Champion Lars Hendriksen from Denmark, three time Dragon Gold Cup winner Joergen Schoenherr, also from Denmark and Russia's Anatoly Loginov who won the Gold Cup in 2010.

With teams from sixteen nations competing including visitors from across Europe and as far afield as Australia, Hong Kong, Russia and the Ukraine competition is expected to be fierce.

Two of the top female Dragon helms will also be competing in the form of Britain's Gavia Wilkinson-Cox and Germany's Tanja Jacobsohn, both of whom are more than capable of putting in winning performances.

The Irish Dragon Fleet is well represented by current Edinburgh Cup holder Simon Brien from the Royal North of Ireland YC, Martin Byrne from the Royal St George YC and Andrew Craig, also from the Royal St George YC and recent Irish South Coast Champion, Cameron Good from Kinsale

Regatta Director is Julie Silfverberg; the Race Management team is headed up by Alan Crosbie and the M.Yves Léglise is Chairman of the International Jury.

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#dragon – Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Cameron Good won the 15-boat Dragon South Coast Championships hosted by his own club in sunny conditions at the weekend. Full results below to download as a jpeg file.

Five races were held over two days with the overall results down to the final race in the warm up series for next week's staging of the Gold Cup at the South coast venue.

The home team of Cameron Good, Simon Furney and Henry Kingston fought off stiff competition to win the trophy from Dublin and British entries.

Photo gallery from a sunny Kinsale by Bob Bateman here

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#dragon – As a signal of his intent for a home result at next week's Dragon Gold Cup Andrew Craig's 'Chimaera' crewed by Brian Mathews and Mark Pettiit holds a slender one point lead over Neil Hegarty's 'Phantom' crewed by Arthur Mehigan and Kevin O'Boyle, both boats from the Royal St. George Yacht Club, following the first three races of the Dragon South Coast Championship at Kinsale today.

Lying third is Kinsale Yacht Yacht Club's Commodore, Cameron Good, sailing 'Little Fella' crewed by Simon Furney and Henry Kingston.

The winds were 13 to 20 knots West South West and provided exhilarating competition for these exciting classic design.

This event is a warm up for the Brewin Dolphin sponsored Dragon Gold Cup that at Kinsale from September 8th.

Racing in the South Coast Championship will continue with a further two races tomorrow followed by the prizegiving.

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#dragon – This year's event saw 24 entries with a large contingent from the UK and further afield. The numbers were boosted by generous sponsorship from Brewin Dolphin and the creation of a Grand Slam comprising the Edinburgh Cup, the Nationals and the Gold Cup, plus two regional championships.

2011 National Champion, Martin Byrne, mounted a strong challenge to defend his title with two firsts on day 2, which saw him in pole position to lift the magnificent silver trophy again. The weather was sparkling with sunshine and an oscillating and gusty westerly breeze which gave ample opportunity for snakes and ladders on the course. The local challenge evaporated on Saturday as Byrne carded a 16 and a 15.

Indeed, it was a characteristic of this event that almost all the sailors were carrying at least one score in the teens, indicative of the challenging conditions. All the sailors that is except one. In a remarkable display of consistent brilliance, Danish Olympic gold medallist Poul-Ricard Hoj-Jensen discarded a fourth place to win the event with a race in hand. The visitors dominated the event, with Martin Payne in second place and third was Chris Hunt. Best of the Irish (and the first Corinthian boat) was Simon Brien in fourth.

The fleet now moves to Kinsale at the end of August for the South Coasts and finally the Brewin Dolphin Gold Cup, which is an Open World Championship for the class.

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#dragon – The local challenge for the Brewin Dolphin Irish National Dragon Championship evaporated this afternoon, the penultimate day of racing on Dublin Bay, as defending champion Martin Byrne carded a 16 and a 15.

In shifty and gusty conditions Poul-Ricard Hoj-Jensen, the visiting Danish Olympic Gold medallist, continued his display of superbly consistent sailing to put the title beyond anyone's reach.

With one race left tomorrow. The fight for second place will be between last month's Edinburgh cup winner Simon Brien, Martin Payne (GBR) and Chris Hunt. Simon's is the leading Corinthian boat, followed by Cameron Good (Kinsale).

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#dragon – On day 2 of the Brewin Dolphin Dragon national championships the current champion Martin Byrne found his form with two firsts and a third. The conditions were ideal with sunshine and an oscillating westerly breeze which gave ample oppprtunity for snakes and ladders. Overall after discard visiting Danish Olympic gold medallist Poul hoj jensen leads with ten points. Byrne is second on 20 and the UK's Chris Hunt is third on 28.  Kinsale's Cameron Good is fourth. Belfast Lough's Simon Brien is 5th. The event continues tomorrow and Sunday with three more races scheduled.

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#dragon - There were light breezes for the first race of the Dragon national championships off Dun Laoghaire today. Early leader Rob Campbell, former chairman Int Dragon Association saw his substantial lead evaporate after a 30 degree shift on the last beat. Eventual winner Chris Hunt from Cowes was followed by local Don O'Donoghue of the RSGYC and Danish Olympic Gold medallist Poul Hoj Jensen. Next best of  the Irish was Clare Hogan and recent Edinburgh Cup winner Simon Brien from Belfast. Racing in the 21 boat fleet continues tomorrow.

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#dragons – No sooner was the Dunlaoghaire waterfront cleared of ISAF Youth Worlds dinghies than it began to fill up with the classic hulls of the former Olympic class – the International Dragon.

And fresh from duty on the ISAF Youth Worlds race course, International Race Officer, David Lovegrove, is out again on the testing waters of Dublin Bay, controlling this fleet of high ranking international and local sailors as the Brewin Dolphin-sponsored Irish National Championship kicks off Thursday morning.

While this premier event on the Irish calendar will be hotly contested it is of course another opportunity for domestic and overseas sailors to attune their boats and crews to Irish conditions as they prepare for the main event of the Dragon season, the justly famous Dragon Gold Cup, which is the open World Championship for Dragons, and takes place in Kinsale Yacht Club from 8th-14th September.

Investment Managers Brewin Dolphin are not only sponsoring the Nationals and Gold Cup, but have put their support behind an innovative Grand Slam series comprising the Northerns, the Edinburgh Cup, the Nationals, the South Coasts and the Gold Cup. Brewin Dolphin are not newcomers to the world of sailing, having successfully sponsored the Scottish Series for the past 13 years and more recently the Commodores' Cup.

Ray Tilson, Managing Director Tilman Brewin Dolphin in Ireland said, "We are delighted to be marking our 250th Anniversary by sponsoring the Dragon Grand Slam and we look forward to a great event. Brewin Dolphin is notoriously passionate about sailing and we have an established history of supporting the sport and we look forward to working closely with the Irish Dragon fleet. Sailing has provided us with an excellent platform to increase awareness of our brand to a wider audience and we are confident that the Grand Slam will develop this."

While international participants will include Olympic gold medallist Poul Ricard Hoj Jensen, former International Dragon Association Chairman Rob Campbell, and the on form Jens Rathsack from Monaco, the Irish Dragon Fleet will be well represented by current Irish National Champion Martin Byrne, recent winner of the Edinburgh Cup Simon Brien as well as established successful campaigners Don O'Donoghue, Neil Hegarty and Cameron Good.

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#dragon – Poor visibility on Belfast lough cut short the 2012 Edinburgh Cup regatta this morning giving Irish boats first and second overall. Britain's World Dragon Champion Lawrie Smith took third in the 45-boat fleet. The last race was cancelled leaving last night's results to count. Simon Brien's local entry Kin takes the title ahead of last year's winner,  fellow Irish sailor Martin Byrne of Dublin by nine points. The impressive Irish results bode well for the home fleet in September when the Dragon Gold Cup will be sailed in Kinsale.

The day three results therefore stood with five of the six possible races being completed and the champions declared as Brien, brother Mark and David Gomes all from Cultra , the second time they have lifted this historic trophy. In second place was Byrne from Dublin sailing IRL201 Jaguar with Pedro Andrade and Adam Winkelmann, and in third was Smith from Lymington, sailing GBR763 Alfie with Ossie Stewart and Tim Tavinor. Monaco's Jens Rathsack, sailing MON2 with Stefan Waak and Mario Wagner finished fourth with the Solent Fleet's Julia Bailey, Graham Bailey, Dylan Potter and Will Heritage in GBR720 Aimee fifth, and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox also of Cowes, sailing GBR761 Jerboa with Martin Payne and Rui Boya sixth.

Local boys all, the KIN team's performance is all the more remarkable when you bear in mind that Simon was also the regatta's organiser so he had to contend with both tough competition and the water and a very considerable organisational challenge ashore. Their win also stands out because KIN is an all-amateur Corinthian team in a fleet that includes many of the world's top professional sailors including 7 Olympians, several America's Cup veterans and multiple World and Continental Champions.

At the prize giving Simon Brien paid tribute to his fellow competitors and his crew. "What can I say - we're just absolutely so dumb struck that we've won it. Winning in 2000 was great with 22 or 23 boats and we had quite a few of the good guys. This year we have all of our friends from Ireland and England all over the world here and a lot of the really good guys that we look up to so much. To be in there mixing it with them has been just fantastic for us and we've had to pinched ourselves a little bit to be sitting there racing alongside Lawrie Smith and Paul Richard [Hoj-Jensen] and everybody else. I just have to say thanks to Mark and Davey who are my best friends. We have raced Dragons together for 20 years and we just have fun from the minute we step on the boat to the minute we step off, into the bar, what ever, and I just love sailing with you guys so thanks very much."

In the Corinthian Division for the all-amateur sailors second place behind Simon Brien went to Julia Bailey in Aimee and third place was claimed by Owen Pay of the Solent Fleet sailing IRL204 Seabird with Jon Mortimer and Steve Richardson, who were 11th overall.

Simon Brien also praised the way that the class brings together the professional and amateur sailors. "The Corinthian spirit and the professional mix throughout the class is just superb. I think without the professionals we wouldn't have the standard of racing that we have. Keeping that balance and keeping the Corinthians on our toes just makes for the right thing. I know there has been lots of debate about this over the years, but I really think the class made the right decision to keep welcoming professionals into the class."

Alongside the main prizes the Edinburgh Cup also has a number of additional perpetual awards. The Jordan Bell is presented to the highest placed team in the competition who did not finish a race in the top five and this year it goes to Ron and Julia James and Nigel Young in GBR633 Fei-Lin's Flirtation who finished the regatta in 13th overall. The Puffin Plate for boats over 25 years old was presented to GBR436 Sou'wester sailed by John Simms, John Gunning and Alan Morrison. Sou'wester was built in 1967 and finished 3rd in that year's Edinburgh Cup and the entire fleet was delighted to see her racing once again and putting in some very credible results, even leading the fleet at times during the racing.  The Travellers Trophy for the boat travelling the furthest distance was jointly awarded to Bocci Aayama from Japan and to Gordon Ingate and Sandy Anderson from their crews who between them will have clocked up over 30,000 miles to attend the regatta.

When collecting the Jordan Bell Ron James took the opportunity to thank sponsors Belfast Harbour, Brewin Dolphin, Petticrows, North Down Borough Council, Sebago and Stena Line for their most generous support noting "We wouldn't have half as much fun without them!"

Special prizes were also presented to two young men who represent the next generation of Dragon sailors, 11-year-old Will Heritage sailing with Julia Bailey aboard Aimee and 12-year-old Harry Strauss sailing with his parents Quentin and Nikki aboard GBR708 Rumours who finished in 14th. It was great to see such young crews not just sailing in such a strong international fleet, but having the skills and expertise to truly contribute to their teams and finish so well in the regatta. Harry and Will would without doubt jointly have won the keenest hiker award if there was such a thing and the sight of both boys reveling in yesterday's windy conditions was a joy. We look forward to following their progress and welcoming many other youngsters to the class in years to come.

At the prize giving Martin Makey, Chairman of the British Dragon Association, thanked the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club for their hospitality saying, "I lasted visited Belfast 32 years ago in 1980 when I worked for a short while at Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders and it was a very different place then than it is today. But one thing has remained and that is the warmth of the welcome that the people from this part of our country gave me and have given us. So I'd like to say a very big thank you to all the members of this club and to everybody who has been helping us from Northern Ireland for the warmth of the welcome they have given to our members of the British Dragon Association and our visitors over the last two weeks.  Its been a great championship, we've had an outstanding turnout and we're going home very happy sailors."

The Northern Area Championship and Edinburgh Cup in Cultra formed the first two events in the 2012 Brewin Dolphin Irish Grand Slam. From here to crews move onto the Irish Championships in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin from 4-7 June, then the Irish South Coast Championship in Kinsale from 1-2 September and the final event in the series is the Dragon Gold Cup, also in Kinsale, from 8-14 October.

The 2013 Edinburgh Cup will take place from Portland and Weymouth Sailing Academy from 26-30 June and the 2013 Dragon World Championship will also be raced there from 5-13 September.

Top Five Overall

1.  IRL214 - KIN - Simon Brien - 4, (26), 3, 1, 3 = 11

2.  IRL201 - Jaguar - Martin Byrne - 8, 3, 1, (39), 8 = 20

3.  GBR763 - Alfie - Lawrie Smith - 11, 2, 5, (26), 4 = 22

4.  MON2 - Jeanie - Jens Rathsack - 2, 6, (46 OCS), 9, 6 - 23

5.  GBR720 - Aimee - Julia Bailey -  1, 1, 20, 2, (22) = 24

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#dragon – A third in yesterday's race on home waters gives Simon Brien a nine point lead going into the final race of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup on Belfast lough this morning.

After a shocking start where an Australian competitor, Gordon Ingate, with an Americas Cup pedigree, forced the defending champion Martin Byrne into the pin end boat.  The Dun Laoghaire boat rounded the top mark in 26th position in a fresh 20knot + breeze and played catch up all round the race course to eventually finish eighth.

Byrne has moved up to second overall just two points ahead of current world champion Lawrie Smith with several others snapping at their heels.

Technically any of the top eight could still win in the single title race decider tomorrow.

The penultimate day of the 2012 Dragon Edinburgh Cup sponsored by Belfast Harbour brought big winds and big changes in the overall leader board.

There was just one race to complete so the committee set a full two-mile beat and with the wind gusting up into the high 20s it was to be a day that would truly sort the men from the boys. This fifth race in the series also brought the single discard into play and as a result there were major gains and losses with several of the early favourites dropping out of serious contention whilst others jumped up the rankings.

The man who made the biggest gain of the day was Simon Brien who went from second overall, ten points behind Julia Bailey, to first overall with a nice but not unassailable nine point lead over fellow Irishman Martin Byrne, who discarded a 39th place in favour of today's eighth to scoot up from ninth into second. Tonight reigning Edinburgh Cup Champion Brien was relieved to still be in contention to defend his title at all. On the start line he was caught up in a major incident caused by another boat and ended up rounding the first mark back in 25th place before fighting his way back up through the fleet.

There are now only four points separating second to fifth and technically any of the top eight boats could still win the regatta. Lawrie Smith finished the race in fourth and moves up into third overall, just two points behind Byrne. A single point behind him is Jens Rathsack who makes an even bigger leap up the scoreboard from 12th to fourth thanks to adding a sixth and discarding an OCS.

For Julia Bailey it was definitely not a good day. She did her best to recover from a lousy start but ended up getting her worst result of the series at 22nd place and drops down from first to fifth overall, one point behind Rathsack. Gavia Wilkinson-Cox put in another very solid performance to finish fifth, but the discards did not work in her favour so she drops from third to sixth overall.

Today's race winner was double Olympic Gold Medallist Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen who took control off the line and never gave a moment's though to relinquishing it as he delighted in the stronger conditions. His win puts him in seventh place overall, four points behind Wilkinson-Cox, and still in with a slim chance of claiming a record equalling sixth Edinburgh Cup title. Andrew Craig is the final player still in with a long shot at the laurels. His ninth place in race five leaves him four points behind Hoj-Jensen but 24 points behind Brien. Rounding out the top ten are Cameron Good and Klaus Diederichs who clearly loved the stronger winds and crossed the line in second place after a spectacular tousle amongst the leading pack.

One final race remains to be sailed tomorrow and with a forecast for lighter winds it remains anyone's championship.

With the championship race completed it was the turn of the crews to take the helm in the traditional Edinburgh Cup crews race which proved to be every bit as cut throat and exciting. One or two of the regular helms found themselves a bit disconcerted to be on the bow in well over 20 knots of breeze but the crews showed no mercy. Henry Kingston sailing Cameron Good's Little Fella was the ultimate victor although he was challenged hard by 11-year-old Will Heritage sailing Julia and Graham Bailey's Aimee. Ross Vaughan sailing Gordon Patterson's Bear took third with Guy Clarabut in Jono Ratnage's Fit Chick hard on his heels. Will Heritage was declared the very deserving winner of the special prize for young helms Under 30.

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