Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Racing at the Dragon Edinburgh Gold Cup 2010 on the Solent. Image copyright Fiona Brown.
by Fiona Brown
The 2011 Dragon Northern Area Championship and Edinburgh Cup (for the British Open Championship), supported by Aberdeen Asset Management and to be hosted by the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club from Sunday 10th to Saturday 16th July, are looking all set for one the biggest and most competitive entries in recent years. A final entry of over 40 boats is anticipated and the quality of competition will be extremely high with teams coming from across the UK and Ireland and from as far afield as Russia, Japan and Australia.
Last year's Edinburgh Cup winner, Klaus Diederichs, returns to defend his title, and with Olympic and America's Cup stars Andy Beadsworth and Simon Fry crewing once again he has every chance of achieving a double.
Klaus will face strong competition from the Irish Dragon fleet, which will be crossing the Irish Sea in force. Reigning Irish Dragon Champion Martin Byrne and his team aboard Jaguar head up this very strong group of at least nine boats which also includes Neil Hegarty in Phantom, Mick Cotter in his brand new Whisper and 2010 Edinburgh Cup Corinthian (all amateur) Champion Simon Brien in Kin.
The two-boat Russian Murka team with husband and wife helms Mikhail Muratov and Olga White will once again be joining the Edinburgh Cup fleet fresh from the international circuit. Olga will be hoping to improve on her 2010 third place finish and we can expect plenty of inter-team competition as Mikhail does he best to even the scores this year by beating his extremely talented wife.
Coming all the way from Australia will be the legendary Gordon Ingate. At 84 years young Gordon has represented Australia in the Admiral's Cup, the America's Cup, the Olympics and numerous World and Continental Championships. His most recent major victory in the Dragon Class was winning the 2008 Prince Philip Cup for the Australian Open Championship. With over half a century of experience in the Dragon Gordon is still more than capable of putting in a championship winning performance.
Japan's Bocci Aoyama is taking delivery of a brand new Petticrows Dragon to be called Yevis II just in time for the regatta and the British fleet is delighted to welcome Bocci and his crew to the Edinburgh Cup for the second year running.
The home fleet will be headed by British Dragon Association (BDA) Chairman Patrick Gifford and amongst the big UK names racing are Gavia Wilkinson-Cox sailing Jerboa crewed by Martin "Stavros" Payne and Lars Wegener; Julia and Graham Bailey, crewed by David Heritage in Aimee; Tim Tavinor, Thomas Wilton and Ollie Moser sailing Biff; Len Jones aboard Rumours with Jamie Lea and Mark Hart; and that ever cunning silver fox Rob Campbell aboard Ganador with Matt Walker and John Torrance.
The growing Abersoch fleet will be out in force and provides a solid backbone for the entry list. Led by Fleet Captain Rob Riddell the Abersoch Dragon fleet has gone from strength to strength in recent years and the BDA is delighted that it has now gained sufficient momentum to host this prestigious event. The sailing on Abersoch Bay is second to none and the hospitality of the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club , with additional support from GJW Insurance and Gwynned Council, is also a force to be reckoned with so we can expect an outstanding event.
Late entries are still being accepted for the regatta and the Notice of Race, Entry Form and full details are available from www.edinburghcup.org