The 2016 Dragon Edinburgh Cup, supported by Gwynedd Council and the ‘Wales 2016 Year of Adventure – Snowdonia Mountains & Coast’, got off to a fantastic start in Abersoch with two races in a 12-18 knot northerly wind and plenty of sunshine. The South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club’s race committee did an excellent job with the courses in the shifty offshore breeze and the 35 strong fleet made the most of the opportunity for some great racing.
Byrne meanwhile was sailing a conservative and very smart race to hold the pack at bay whilst at the same time staying in close touch with the leaders. As the boats approached the bottom of the final run Smith and Wilkinson-Cox were neck and neck, but Smith had the inside track as they made the final turn into the hook finish. Wilkinson-Cox gave it her all and pushed to weather on the final short close reach gaining ground all the way, but Smith had no intention of letting her through and claimed first blood in what promises to be a fantastic edition of this classic event. Wilkinson-Cox was followed in by Byrne with Rob Campbell sailing Quicksilver VI with Luke Malissa and Paul Fletcher finishing fourth and leading the Corinthian fleet home.
Byrne began to take places on the first run, but Smith and Wilkinson-Cox were struggling to find lanes out of the melee. The race committee opted to run a six leg course with a third full beat to the finish and by the start of that last beat Byrne was up into second behind Gordon, but Smith and Wilkinson-Cox were still back in eighth and tenth respectively. It’s a fool who counts Lawrie Smith out of a boat race until the fat lady has sung though and he sailed a blinder to leap up into third place. Clare Hogan sailing IRL206 Cloud with Mark Pettit and Brian Matthews took fourth with Paddy Atkinson, Tim Harper and Martin Farnworth sailing Neil Lamont’s GBR636 Seafire in fifth.
Paddy Atkinson and Seafire’s performance is particularly rewarding for owner Neil Lamont who is not able to race this week. Neil suffers from Parkinson’s Disease which currently prevents him from sailing and so he is using the event to promote awareness of and raise funds for Parkinson’s research. Neil has donated a stunning Charles Bell original watercolour of Dragons sailing in Abersoch Bay which will be auctioned at the Edinburgh Cup Prize Giving Dinner on Friday, and at Wednesday evening’s Champagne and Canapes Party there will be a raffle for a Nebuchadnezzar of Tattinger Champagne with all proceeds going to Parkinson’s Disease research.
Edinburgh Cup 2016 Day 1 Interviews
Further information, news, results and photographs from the event are available from www.edinburghcup.org and via the British Dragon Association Facebook Page or by contacting BDA Press Officer Fiona Brown on firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)7711 718470 or Skype fpbrown.