News

14
Final Day Report

Today was the final day of racing for the 60 boats competing at the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup in Kinsale and it is an Irish team that have claimed gold in the all-amateur Corinthian division. Cameron Good from Kinsale Yacht Club, was the overall winner of the prized Corinthian Gold Cup Trophy. His first place finish in today’s final Race 6 saw him move a full 10 points clear of 2nd place Frenchman Remy Arnaud. Cameron and his crew of Simon Furney and Henry Kingston sailed a skillful regatta with two race wins and all four other results within the top 10 of the division. There was strong representation from the host nation in the top 10. In 4th place was James Matthews from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire followed by Philip Bendon, also from Kinsale, in 8th and the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club’s Simon Brien in 10th.

Meanwhile in the overall Dragon Gold Cup standings Dun Laoghaire and Royal St George sailor Martin Byrne narrowly missed out on a top 10 spot. Byrne had sailed a mixed regatta with some top results but also some middle fleet results, however he had managed to maintain a position within the top 10 for the majority of the championship. He and his crew; Adam Winkelman and Pedro Andrade slipped to 12th yesterday having placed 27th in the day’s race and unfortunately today’s 7th place finish was only enough to pull them up one place in the leader board to 11th overall. In 12th place was Corinthian winner Cameron Good who not only won the amateur race this afternoon but was 4th in the overall rankings. Yesterday’s race winner, Andrew Craig who also hails from the Royal St George, finished in 14th overall followed by Ireland’s only lady helm Claire Hogan in 18th.

The 2012 Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup was brought to a close with a final race as dramatic as any Shakespearean play.  Going into the day Britain’s Lawrie Smith led the fleet on 31 points, Russia’s  was second on 43 points and Germany’s Tommy Mueller lay third on 51 points.  With no discard allowed Smith’s lead was far from unassailable and Samokhin clearly had him in his sights.  Mueller knew that realistically his chances of victory were slim as not only would he have to sail his socks off, but the other two boats would both need to have bad races if he was to overtake them.

The tension and excitement as the sixty strong fleet, from sixteen nations and four continents, left the dock was palpable and the boats were accompanied down to the race area by a host of spectator boats crammed with supporters keen to watch the final battle.  A sudden wind shift forced Alan Crosbie to abandon his first start attempt just a few seconds before the gun.  Having adjusted the course the second start was a general recall and so Crosbie went to the Z-flag for his third attempt.  This time the fleet got away, but with 8 boats identified as over the line; two of these went back and were given a 20% scoring penalty, but the other six failed to return and were scored OCS.

On the line Mueller had opted for the committee boat end while Smith and Samokhin came off the centre of the line together with Smith to weather.  Up the first beat Mueller struck out for the favoured right side while Smith and Samokhin traded tacks up the centre left.  The two boats were clearly locked in a battle for supremacy to the exclusion of all else and meanwhile Mueller was sailing a textbook beat to round the first mark in the lead with Hoj-Jensen second, Germany’s Tanja Jacobsohn third and Cameron Good from Kinsale fourth.

As the leaders streamed off down the run all eyes turned to the middle of the fleet where Samokhin had got the better of Smith.  They rounded the first mark in a bunch of boats in twenty-eighth and thirty-fifth respectively putting Mueller into the overall lead with Smith second and Samokhin third.  The breeze dropped off in the second half of the first run making for some tricky sailing.  As Mueller stretched out his lead Smith and Samokhin continued to battle it out and as a result they lost more places and rounded the first leeward mark overlapped with Smith thirty-fourth and Samokhin thirty-fifth. 

On the second beat there was a massive 20 degree right shift and at the weather mark Mueller and Hoj-Jensen continued to lead with Russia’s Evgeny Braslavetz now up into third and Chris Hunt of Cornwall fourth.  Smith and Samokhin had made big gains and Samokhin came through in twenty-second with Smith alongside in twenty-third.  Now all Smith needed was to gain another three places and the championship would be his.

The second run was to be the deciding point of the race.  The race committee had signaled a change of course and the new leeward mark was a single port rounding buoy instead of the more usual gate.  Smith and Samokhin were still trading gybes and both boats lost some ground on the leg.  They came into the mark together with a big gaggle of boats with Smith leading but on the outside and Samokin in the middle of the bunch.  As they rounded Samokhin got a slight advantage but they were only up to twenty-seventh and twenty-ninth places.  Smith now needed to make up nine places on the last beat if he was to claim the title and with the breeze going even further right it didn’t look hopeful as he kept to the centre of the course while Mueller, Hoj-Jensen, Braslavetz and the main pack went right.

Yet again Smith sailed a brilliant beat and made up an impressive number of places.  On the line Mueller crossed with a huge lead, Hoj-Jensen took second, Braslavetz third and Good fourth.   Mueller clearly felt that Smith had done enough to win and he peeled off back to harbour apparently happy with his race but resigned to second place.  However, the race was far from over and everyone was carefully counting off boats as they came to the finish.  Smith did his very best and claimed a number of places, but ultimately he just ran out of runway and finished in twenty-second place giving Mueller the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup 2012 by a single point.  Mueller was blissfully unaware of his victory until the media team motored up and confirmed that he had taken the trophy for the second time.

In the overall standings Tommy Mueller, Vicent Hoesch and Michael Lipp claimed the title with 52 points.  Lawrie Smith, crewed by Tim Tavinor and Joost Houweling finished second with 53 points.  Russia’s Dimitry Samokhin, crewed by Andrey Kirilyuk and Aleksey Bushuev finished third on 62 points.  Fourth place went to Portugal’s Jose Matoso sailing with Gustavo Lima and Stephen Hellriegel and in fifth was London based  crewed by Andy Beadsworth and Jamie Lea.

At the prize giving Tommy Mueller paid tribute to his crew, known in the Dragon fleet as the Bavarian Dream Team, and to his wife for her wonderful support of their campaigning.  For Tommy this was a second Gold Cup win, his first being in 2002, but for Hoesch it was an incredible sixth win, two of which had been as a helmsman.  

In the Corinthian all-amateur division first prize went to Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Cameron Good sailing with Simon Furney and Henry Kingston.  Remy Arnaud and his crew of Herald Arnaud and Pascal Civel from France came second and in third was Graham Bailey of the Isle of Wight crewed by Julia Bailey, Dylan Potter and Will Heritage.

The Nations Cup, for the top performing three-boat national team went to Britain, represented by Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, Lawrie Smith and Chris Hunt.  The actual trophy was awarded to Hoj-Jensen as the leading British boat in the final race.

Also concluded today was the Irish Dragon Grand Slam competition incorporating the Northern Area Championship, the Edinburgh Cup, the Irish Nationals, the Irish South Coasts and this regatta.  The winner of the 2012 Irish Grand Slam was Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen with  second, Martin Byrne third, Lawrie Smith fourth and Cameron Good fifth.

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Day 5 Report

The penultimate day of racing at the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup and the Irish sailors continue to fight it out in Kinsale with the some of the best sailors in the world. Andrew Craig from the Royal St George made his debut into the top 10 rankings winning Race 5, the first race win for any of the Irish boats. His previous best result had been a 12th but this win now sees him progress to 11th overall with only one final race to sail tomorrow. Another Dun Laoghaire sailor, Martin Byrne has been almost consistently ranked within the top 10 however a 27th today has meant a slip from 9th overall to 12th. Ireland’s only female helm, Claire Hogan, also had another good race today finishing 7th. Earlier in the week she narrowly missed out on a race win placing an agonising 2nd but she and her crew have worked hard and are just two points outside the top 20 in 21st position. 

Meanwhile in the Corinthian division, for all-amateur crews, Kinsale’s own Cameron Good maintains a firm grip on the gold medal spot. Cameron and his crew have sailed a great regatta with all five results in the top 10 and one race win. He has fluctuated in and out of the top spot currently only three points ahead of French rival Remy Arnaud. Only tomorrow’s race will decide who takes home the coveted title. Ireland also have three further boats within the top 10; James Matthews from the Royal Irish Yacht Club is in 5th, only 10 points behind the leader. In 8th is Simon Brien from the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club and in 10th is Philip Bendon also from Kinsale Yacht Club.

There were more shocks and upsets as several of the top boats posted poor results and the leader board was shuffled once again.  It was another strong wind day and with the sun frequently breaking through the scudding clouds and plenty of spray flying it was a spectacular day in every way keeping the spectators enthralled from start to finish.

Once again it took two attempts to get the race underway, but they were all clear at the second attempt and set off up the beat in around 16-18 knots from the West South West punching a building sea.  The fleet spread out right across the course and at the first mark those who had come up the centre right had a slight advantage.  First to round was Ireland’s Claire Hogan followed by Remy Arnaud of France, Brit Mark Dicker, Australia’s Richard Lynn, Andrew Craig from Dublin, Lawrie Smith sailing for Glandore YC, Jose Matoso of Portugal, Gavia Wilkinson-Cox from Cowes and London based .  For the spectators looking out for the rest of the overall regatta leaders it was a long wait as Hungary’s Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi, Germany’s Tommy Mueller, Denmark’s Joergen Schoenherr and overnight leader  were all badly buried well down the fleet.  

By the first gate Arnaud had moved up into first ahead of Matoso, Criag was third, Hogan fourth and Smith fifth.  Denmark’s Lars Hendriksen, sailing for the Ukraine, had moved up to sixth from eleventh.  Back in the pack Kis-Szölgyémi and Mueller continued to struggle although Schoenherr and Samokhin had both begun to claw their way back up the fleet.

As the boats headed off up the second beat the breeze started to build to 20 knots and the sea increased with it.  A couple of shifts helped to shake things up again and at the second weather mark Craig led from Germany’s Philip Dohse with Arnaud third, Matoso fourth, Hogan fifth, Smith sixth and Hendriksen seventh.  

On the second run the leading four held their positions as Henriksen put on an impressive show of downwind speed to get past Hogan.  Germany’s Reemt Reemtsma moved into seventh with Smith eighth.  Further down the pack Schoenherr was up to fifteenth and Mueller and Samokhin were making gains.

As they started up the final beat the wind began to gust up into the mid-20s and once again the left side of the course was much rougher than the left.  With the wind and tide more favourable on the right the majority of the fleet headed out on from the mark on port tack.  With only one way to go up the beat Craig was able to confidently cover the fleet and he cruised home to victory.  Smith and Diederichs both put in hugely impressive beats and sailed themselves up into second and third place respectively with Diederichs just beating Matoso into fourth on the line by a nose. Arnaud crossed fifth followed closely by Hendriksen and Hogan.  Looking back down the fleet for the regatta leaders the first to appear was Schoenherr who crossed ninth, Mueller made huge ground on the final beat to finish sixteenth, Samokhin twentieth and Kis-Szölgyémi twenty-fourth.

In the overall standings Lawrie Smith now leads the regatta with 31 points, giving him a 12 point margin over second placed .  Tommy Mueller moves into third on 51 points, three ahead of Joergen Schoenherr who is on equal points with fifth placed Jose Matoso.  Three further points adrift in seventh is  on 59 points.  The top ten is rounded out by Anatoly Loginov on 65 points, Lars Hendriksen on 67 points and  on 71 points. 

In the Corinthian Division for all amateur crews Cameron Good of Kinsale continues to lead the regatta.  Overnight second placed Graham Bailey, the reigning Corinthian Gold Cup Champion and winner of races three and four, had a shocker of a day rounding the first mark at the back of the fleet and only recovering to eighteenth (47th overall) which drops him down the Corinthian ranking to sixth overall.  Remy Arnaud was today’s Corinthian race winner and as a result he now sits in second overall, three points behind Good.  A single point further back is Denmark’s Frank Berg with Reemt Reemtsma fourth.

In the Nations Cup competition the British Team of Lawrie Smith, Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen and Chris Hunt now lead with 192 points, Russia, represented by , Anatoly Loginov and Alexander Exhkov, is second on 202 and Germany, represented by Tommy Mueller, Philip Dohse and Stephan Link, is third on 248.   

Tomorrow’s final race showdown will be an edge of the seat affair as the sixty-strong fleet makes a last bid for gains.  With no discard every point counts and both Smith and Good’s leads are by no means unassailable so we can expect and edge of the seat finish to what has already been a truly spectacular regatta.

This evening the crews will enjoy the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup Championship Dinner at Kinsale Yacht Club, preceded by an exhibition of black and white Dragon photography taken earlier in the week by renowned local photographer Giles Norman.  Brewin Dolphin Executive Chairman Jamie Mattheson and his wife Angela, themselves successful racing sailors, will be joining the competitors for what promises to be a fantastic evening of fun and celebration.  Also joining the party will be Olympic Bronze Medallist Ossie Stewart, who normally sails as Lawrie Smith’s tactician.  Ossie suffered a minor stroke just 10 days ago and so wasn’t able to compete this week, but he arrived in Kinsale today and kept an eye on Lawrie’s progress from the RIB.  The entire fleet is delighted to see Ossie back on his feet and looks forward to racing against him again very soon.

Full results are available www.dragongoldcup2012.com   
 
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Day 4 Report

Day four of the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup threw the regatta wide open as overnight leader Tommy Mueller of Germany suffered his worst result of the series with a 27th and Isle of Wight based Graham Bailey won a second race with a crew that includes 11 year old Will Heritage – the youngest competitor ever to race at the Gold Cup.  It was champagne sailing all the way with good winds, bright sunshine and extremely close competition as the sixty-strong fleet enjoyed race four of the six race, no discard series.

Dun Laoghaire’s Martin Byrne sailed a strong race, holding his position at the top of the fleet to finish 8th overall. He and his crew climb up the leader board to 9th overall. Meanwhile Kinsale’s Cameron Good finished 13th today which sees him drop to silver medal position in the Corinthian division.

Once again the fleet was too eager on the first attempt to start and PRO Alan Crosbie and his team from Kinsale Yacht Club had to recall them.  He brought out the Z-flag for the second attempt, which carries a 20% penalty for any boat over the line within the final minute, and this persuaded the teams to start cleanly.  With winds from the west and ranging from 10-13 knots on the first beat right up to 18-20 knots on the final leg, lots of tricky shifts plus a considerable difference in the sea state across the course as the wind built there were dozens of variables for the crews to keep track of and lots of place changes on every leg.

For the second day running Bailey got a great start and then worked the shifts perfectly to lead at mark one from Dublin’s Martin Byrne with Sweden’s Jacob Wallenberg third followed by Denmark’s Joergen Schoenherr, Brits Gavia Wilkinson-Cox and Lawrie Smith, Russia’s Dmitry Samokhin, Simon Brien of Belfast, and Evgeny Braslavetz of the Ukrain.  Overnight leader Tommy Mueller from Germany wasn’t having a good day and rounded the first mark down in the mid 20s putting his overall lead in serious jeopardy. 

Despite numerous challenges Bailey successfully defended his lead from this point forward but behind him it was anyone’s game.  At the first gate Wallenberg had moved up into second with Byrne third, Schoenherr fourth, Samokhin up to fifth and Smith sixth.  The wind increased on the second beat and this time it was Samokhin who trailed Bailey around the top mark with Smith third, Schoenherr still fourth and Wallenberg now fifth.

On the final run the breeze dropped off to sub 10 knots and Smith managed to sneak past Samokin to round the gate just behind the Baileys, Samokin was a close third followed by Schoenherr, Wallenberg, Braslavetz , Matoso and Wilkinson-Cox.  As they set up off the final beat the breeze began to pick up again increasing rapidly up to around 20 knots. 

For the final beat the race committee signaled a change of course to the right and there was another big righty to come.  As the wind increased the waves on the more exposed left side of the course built rapidly leaving those on the right in flatter water, with a slight tidal advantage, with some benefit from the wind bend off the cliffs and in the right place to take the incoming right-hander.  Bailey gave a master class in covering a large fleet whilst everyone else vied for the remaining podium positions.  On the line Bailey had a significant margin, Samokhin crossed in second with Matoso third, Braslavetz fourth and Smith fifth.  Falmouth’s Chris Hunt sailed an impressive final beat to pull up from twelfth to sixth.   Despite trying pretty much every trick in the book Mueller was never able to recover from his disastrous start and he finished the race in 27th.

In the overall rankings Dmitry Samokhin’s second place today takes him into a six-point lead with 23 points.   Lawrie Smith, whose needs crutches to get around ashore thanks to the knee injury he sustained on day one but fortunately is still able to cope in the boat, now lies in second place with 29 points.  Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi, who came to Kinsale fresh from victory at the Hungarian Dragon National Championship on Lake Balaton, is three points behind Smith on 32 points and Tommy Mueller is now lying fourth on 35 points. 

The Corinthian Division, for the all-amateur crews, is calculated as an entirely separate series and whilst Bailey is now the top ranked Corinthian in the overall standings, in the Corinthian Division he lies in second place, four points behind Kinsale’s Cameron Good and six points ahead of Germany’s Reemt Reemtsma. 

One of the other features of the Dragon Gold Cup is the Nations Cup competition, a team competition open to any nation fielding three or more competitors.  Each national team is decided following the first day of racing with their top three finishers of that day being eligible.  Great Britain, represented by Lawrie Smith, Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen and Chris Hunt, now lead the Nations Cup with 145 points.  In second place is the Russian team comprising Dmitry Samokhin, Anatoly Loginov and Alexander Ezhkov, on 149 points.  The German team of Tommy Mueller, Stephan Link and Philip Dohse is third on 191 points, and Ireland, represented by Martin Byrne, Cameron Good and Gary Treacy, are in fourth with 262 points.

With two more races left to sail the competition is really hotting up.  The weather forecast is for strong winds again tomorrow so we can expect another exciting day off the Old Head of Kinsale.

Full results are available www.dragongoldcup2012.com  
 
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Day 3 Report

Another successful day today for the Irish boats on the water at Day 3 of the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup in Kinsale. The only Irish lady helm, Claire Hogan of the Royal St George Yacht Club, had an excellent race finishing an agonising quarter boat length behind ultimate winner Graham Bailey. However the 2nd place finish sees her and her crew move up to 25th place overall from yesterday’s 39th. Commodore of host club Kinsale Yacht Club, Cameron Good has moved up to 9th overall and he and his crew of Simon Furney and Henry Kingston are now in first place in the Corinthians; the division for the all-amateur crews. 

Today was also a day for personal bests for some of the Irish boats. The Royal Irish Yacht Club’s James Matthews had his best result of the regatta so far with an 8th which sees his team escalate to 18th overall and 3rd Corinthian. Another Royal St George sailor, Andrew Craig also had his best result of the regatta with a 14th and he now moves up to 20th overall. Simon Brien from the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club also sailed a great race finishing in 7th which leaves him in 27th overall.

Unfortunately Martin Byrne and crew didn’t manage to replicate their previous race successes and have slipped to 12th overall from their 5th place yesterday following a 33rd place in today’s race. 

Graham Bailey was most certainly man of the match on day three of the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup 2012 in Kinsale where he claimed both Overall and Corinthian victory in race three of the six race series.  It was a day of snakes and ladders as the wind swung into the west at around 14-16 knots and became extremely shifty, putting the tacticians firmly in the hot seat.

The fleet was initially over eager but after a general recall they settled down and got away cleanly at the second attempt.  The majority headed right for the cliffs but it was those who stayed centre left that got the best of the shifts and Graham Bailey sailed an absolute blinder of a first beat to lead the fleet by twice the distance of the spreader leg at the first weather mark.  Behind him the pack was bunched with Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi second closely followed by Tommy Mueller, Remy Arnaud, , Tim Pearson and Anatoly Loginov.

Bailey held his lead nicely on the first run whilst Mueller slid up into second with Arnaud now up to third and Kis-Szölgyémi down to fourth.  The second beat brought a huge right-hander, which really shook up the fleet.  Bailey’s apparently unassailable lead disintegrated as Claire Hogan took full advantage of the shift, climbing from ninth to first to lead Bailey around the second weather mark. Kis-Szölgyémi had pulled back up into third with Loginov fourth, James Matthews fifth, Tanja Jacobsohn sixth, Simon Brien seventh and Andrew Craig eighth.  Muller rounded ninth with Lawrie Smith in tenth.

Hogan, Bailey, Kis-Szölgyémi and Loginov held their places on the second run as Brien moved up into fifth with Jacobsohn sixth and Matthews seventh.  The final beat was to feature an epic battle between Hogan and Bailey.  Bailey takes up the story, “We took the left side of the beat and Claire took the right, so we split and the running boats came down through the middle separating us.  Then all we could do was work with what we’d got.  Sometimes they looked great - sometimes we looked OK.  As we came toward the finished we just crossed ahead of them and had to decide do we tack or do we not.  We didn’t tack, but I didn’t feel too good about that when they went to the left and the wind went 20 degrees their way and things didn’t look too flash for a while.  Coming into the finish we were bow to bow and we just managed to tack underneath them.  The committee boat was favoured and we were on the right and just got it.”  While Bailey and Hogan were slugging it out Mueller was working hard to consolidate his overall lead in the regatta by sailing himself up from ninth to third, Kis-Szölgyémi crossed the line in fourth and Smith was fifth.

At the half way point in the regatta, Germany’s Tommy Mueller, who won the Dragon Gold Cup in 2002 and is sailing with Michael Lipp and Vincent Hoesch, himself a five time Gold Cup Champion, now leads the no-discard series with eight points.  Russia’s Dmitry Samokhin, who is crewed by Russian Olympic Tornado sailor Andrey Kirilyuk and Aleksey Bushuev – has gone from fourth into second place on 21 points.  British Olympic Bronze Medallist and reigning Dragon World Champion Lawrie Smith, who is nursing a serious knee injury sustained earlier in the week and is crewed by Tim Tavinor and Joost Houweling, has jumped from seventh to third overall on 24 points and Hungary’s Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi goes from ninth to fourth and is now just one point behind Smith. Overnight second placed Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen and third placed Joergen Schoenherr both had decidedly mediocre days with Hoj-Jensen finishing 34th and Schoenherr 28th.  As a result Schoenherr has slumped to seventh overall and Hoj-Jensen to eighth.

Race three winner Graham Bailey from Cowes also led the Corinthian fleet across the line with Frenchman Remy Arnaud, second and Cork native James Matthews, who recently returned to sailing after a four year break, third.  Overnight leader Reemt Reemtsma from the Netherlands, had a mediocre day adding a 13th to his score line whilst Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Cameron Good, who went into the day second overall, took 7th.  In the overall Corinthian standings Good now leads the regatta on 12 points whilst Reemstma, Bailey and Matthews are all counting 17 points and lie second to fourth respectively on count back.

Three races remain to be sailed and the regatta continues until Friday 14th September.  With a forecast for more strong winds over the coming days the crews are bracing themselves for three more days of extremely challenging sailing.

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Day 2 Report

Day two of the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup in Kinsale gave the sixty strong fleet another tough work out as they completed race two of the series in big seas and winds of up to 28 knots from around 220 degrees. 

The Royal St George’s Martin Byrne had an excellent day finishing 4th. The result sees him and his crew of Adam Winkelman and Pedro Andrade move up from 11th to 5th overall. In the Corinthians, Kinsale’s Cameron Good slipped back from 1st overall to 2nd following a 4th today in the division.

After an initial general recall the fleet got away cleanly at the second time of asking.  At the first mark those who had worked the centre left came out on top with Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi, sailing HUN57 Bear, leading the fleet from Tommy Mueller, sailing GER1123 Sinewave, second and Frank Berg, sailing DEN266 My Way, third.  Hard on their heels came a pack of boats led by Martin Byrne, in IRL201 Jaguar, whose port tack approach fell foul of starboard tacker Joergen Schoenherr, sailing DEN406 African Queen.  Although Byrne rounded the mark ahead he then had to do a pair of turns to exonerate himself and by the time he’d pirouetted his way down the spreader leg he had been passed by Jens Rathsack, in MON2 Jeanie, Klaus Diederichs, in GBR758 Fever and Dimitry Samokhin, in RUS76 Strange Little Girl.

Kis-Szölgyémi did his best to defend on the first run but he was no match for the impressive speed of Mueller.  By the first gate Mueller had the lead with Kis-Szölgyémi second, Schoenherr had moved up into third and Diederichs was fourth, just ahead of Berg.  Having rounded the gate in eighth Byrne decided it was time to get his skates on and up the second beat he worked the shifts that came through under a heavy rainsquall to best advantage.  By the second weather mark he was up into third behind Mueller and Schoenherr and just ahead of Kis-Szölgyémi, Diederichs and Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, sailing GBR775 Danish Blue.

Down the second run both the breeze and the wave height had increased and as the sun broke through the dark clouds the fleet made a spectacular sight surfing flat out against a backdrop of rolling Irish countryside.  At the second gate Schoenherr had closed up on Mueller but it wasn’t enough and on the final beat Mueller stretched out his lead again leaving Schoenherr to trail him across the line.  The battle for third place was fraught and was only decided in the closing moments with Diederichs crossing the line just ahead of Byrne and Hoj-Jensen.

In the overall standings overnight leader Lawrie Smith, sailing GBR763 Alfie, exacerbated a knee injury sustained yesterday and struggled to finish the race crossing the line in 18th place so drops down into seventh overall.  Today’s race win takes Tommy Mueller to the top of the league table with five points while Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen’s steady fifth means he remains in second overall on seven points.  Joergen Schoenherr has jumped up into third place and is just a single point behind Hoj-Jensen with Dimitry Samokhin fourth on eleven points and Martin Byrne fifth on fifteen.  

In the Corinthian Division for the all-amateur crews today’s race winner was Reemt Reemtsma, sailing GER1121 Caroroo, who also claimed sixth place in the overall division.  Second place went to Remy Arnaud, sailing FRA396 Legend, Frank Berg was third and local boy Cameron Good, sailing IRL211 Little Fella was fourth.  In the overall Corinthian standings Reemtsma now leads the fleet on four points from Good on five with Berg third counting eight points and Arnaud fourth on nine points.

This evening the crews are enjoying a cocktail reception, supported by Kinsale Town Council and OPW, at the historic Charles Fort, which has guarded the entrance to Kinsale Harbour since the 17th century.  

Four more races are scheduled and the regatta continues until Friday 14th September.
Full results are available www.dragongoldcup2012.com 

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Day 1 Report

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. Cameron Good, Commodore of the Kinsale Yacht Club, 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.

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.

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.

Full results are available www.dragongoldcup2012.com
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