After a day of mixed fortunes with a convincing win in race three followed by a 29th in race four Klaus Diederich’s sailing Fever with Peter O’Leary and David Burrows has dropped down from third into fifth but remains in the running for the Edinburgh Cup.
Other top performers yesterday were Olaf Sorenson from Kinsale racing Christianna with Shawn Kingston and Mark Pettitt, and Tim Tavinor from Burnham racing Tigger with Thomas Wilton and Ollie Moser. Sorenson sailed an impressive third race, pushing race winner Klaus Diederichs all the way down the final run to finish a close second, while 2011 Dragon World Champion crew Tim Tavinor finally found his form again coming second to Julia Bailey in race four.
Royal St. George Commodore Martin Byrne’s day got off to a tricky start when he and his crew of Pedro Andrade and Adam Winklemann found themselves close to colliding with the committee boat having been hit by another Dragon in the final moments before the start gun. Fortunately they missed the committee boat, but by the time they had extracted themselves from the situation they had been forced left and lost a lot of ground so finished the race in eighteenth place. They recovered somewhat in the final race with a seventh but go from second to fourth in the overall ranking.
For overnight leader Mikhail Muratov, sailing Murka 8 with Valentin Uvarkin and Vladimir Krutskikh, it was a day of consolidation and a fifth followed by a ninth allowed him to retain his lead by a seven point margin.
“About as difficult as it gets. I’m not sure when I’ve seen a trickier race course than that and the last race was particularly difficult.” was how Graham Bailey described the second day of racing at the 2011 Dragon Edinburgh Cup supported by Aberdeen Asset Management in Abersoch. Despite the exceptionally difficult conditions the race committee was able to run two further races yesterday bringing the total races sailed to four out of a possible six.
The day’s two top performing teams were led by Cowes based Julia Bailey, sailing Aimee with Graham Bailey and David Heritage, and Russia’s Olga White, sailing Murka 7 with Martin Leifelt and Vadim Statsenko. Bailey took a third in race three and then went on to win race four in impressive style, taking her from fourth to second overall. White scored a ninth followed by a third and moves into third place, four points behind Bailey.
In the Corinthian competition Simon Brien of Cultra, Northern Ireland, sailing Kin with Mark Brien and David Gomes, and Richard Goodbody from Dun Laoghaire, sailing Diva with Rick and Rob Johnson, are going head to head. Brien was the day’s top Corinthian moving up into second place two points behind Goodbody. Leaping into third place is the Medway’s Julian Sowery, crewed by Claire Sowery and John Greenwood, who finished second and third in today’s Corinthian races putting him into third place overall just two points ahead of Ireland’s Nigel Bigg sailing Puca with Franz Rothschild and Pete Evans. Overnight Corinthian leader Mark Wade from Burnham, sailing Avalanche with Mandy Wade and Andrew Norden, struggled to get to grips with the difficult conditions ending up tenth Corinthian in both races and putting them out of serious contention for the overall prize.
Racing continues today with a forecast for stronger and more stable winds. There are two races scheduled, the first of which will be race five of the championship and the second the legendary Edinburgh Cup Crew’s Race. If everything goes to schedule, race six, the final race of the series, will take place tomorrow (Sat.) morning. The single discard will come into play after the fifth race has been sailed.
Unexpectedly good sailing weather and two hotly contested races opened the 2011 Dragon Edinburgh Cup, supported by Aberdeen Asset Management, in Abersoch yesterday. The forecast had been for beautiful sunshine but very light airs and the 43 crews from Australia, Japan, Russia, Ireland and the UK went afloat in a fickle 2-3 knot breeze with little expectation of good racing. It took several hours to happen, but fortunately the weather gods eventually smiled on the fleet and at around 2pm the wind began to fill in from the north, quickly building to 16-18 knots and more.
Two cut and thrust races were completed in the sparkling conditions and by the end of the day Russia’s Mikhail Muratov, sailing Murka 8 with Valentin Uvarkin and Vladimir Krutskikh had taken the overall lead with a second place in the opening race and a win in race two. Muratov’s nearest rival yesterday was current Irish National Champion Martin Byrne, racing Jaguar with Adam Winkleman and Pedro Andrade, who won the opening race and went on to finish sixth in race two.
Just one point behind Byrne in third overall is defending Edinburgh Cup Champion Klaus Diederichs, in Fever, who this week is sailing with a brand new Irish crew of Peter O’Leary and Dave Burrows, better known as one of the top Olympic Star teams having finished second at this year’s International Star Class Baccardi Cup at Miami. Klaus is facing strong competition from the Irish Dragon fleet, that has crossed 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). Fourth place overall is currently a tie between Russia’s Olga White sailing Murka 7 with Martin Leifelt and Vadim Statsenko, and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox of Cowes sailing Jerboa with Martin Payne and Lars Wegener.
In the Corinthian Division, for which only non-professional crews compete, Burnham’s Mark and Mandy Wade racing Avalanche with Andrew Norden lead the fleet and also hold sixth place in the overall standings. Three points behind the Wades is Simon Brien aboard Kin from Cultra, Northern Ireland, sailing with his brother Mark and David Gomes, who also make the overall top ten at eighth place. Just three points separate places three to five in the Corinthian division, which are held by Ireland’s Richard Goodbody sailing Diva, Rob Campbell from Burnham sailing Ganador and Owen Pay from Cowes sailing Nijord.
It was a good day all round for the Corinthian teams who certainly gave the pros plenty to think about. The prize for best performance in a single race by a Corinthian boat undoubtedly goes to Owen Pay and his crew of Jon Mortimer and Steve Richardson for their impressive third place in race two. They got a cracking start and put together a controlled first beat to round the weather mark in third place hot on the heels of Julia Bailey and Mikhail Muratov. Despite being under constant attack from both Klaus Diederichs and Martin Byrne, Pay and his team kept their heads and not only successfully defended their position all the way to the finish but at times also put significant pressure on the leading pair.
The Dragon is very much an equal opportunities class and not only are female helms no longer a novelty, but they are now regularly beating the boys at their own game at international level. In race two Julia Bailey of Cowes sailing Aimee with husband Graham Bailey and David Heritage came off the line like a scalded cat and sailed a near perfect beat to round the weather mark in first place neck and neck with Mikhail Muratov.
From here on in a dogfight of epic proportions developed with neither boat giving an inch. The two boats rounded every mark neck and neck and were almost constantly overlapped. Bailey threw everything but the kitchen sink at Muratov on the final beat, but she also had to work extremely hard to keep the chasing Owen Pay at bay. The boats traded tacks all the way into the finish but whilst she held off Pay it enabled Muratov to take victory on the line. A slightly disappointing eighteenth place in race one means that Bailey now lies in seventh place overall and she is joined in the top ten by two more top female helms, Olga White and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, who share equal points after the opening day and find themselves battling it out for fourth place overall.
Racing continues until Saturday 16 July with up to five more races scheduled. The forecast for the coming three days is for moderate to strong winds. Two races are scheduled for today and tomorrow and a single race is scheduled for Saturday.
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