With 38 teams from as far afield as Russia and Turkey and across the UK and Europe already entered, and 40 boats expected on the start line, the 2017 edition of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup is lining up to be a bumper edition. Sponsored by Oliver Morgan Architects and Stoneham Construction and hosted by the Island Sailing Club, the Edinburgh Cup will be preceded by the Dragon South Coast Championship, with the two events running from 8th to 14th July 2017.
The entry list includes some of the biggest names in the sport including Denmark’s Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, whose sailing CV includes two Olympic Gold and one Olympic Silver medal as well as multiple World, Continental and National Championship wins, and who will be hoping to claim his sixth Edinburgh Cup title. Julia and Graham Bailey were Edinburgh Cup champions in 2016 and 2015 respectively and are returning to the fray equally keen to engrave one of their names on the trophy for a second time.
Fresh from victory at the recent International Dragon World Championship in Portugal comes Andy Beadsworth, who is very much hoping to add his name to the illustrious list of winners already engraved on the Edinburgh Cup. Andy has been in the winning Edinburgh Cup crew on several previous occasions, but this would be his first victory as a helm. In his World Championship acceptance speech Andy summed up the enduring success of the International Dragon succinctly saying: “I love the camaraderie, sportsmanship and above all the excellent level of competition from many already accomplished sailors from around the globe. The best one design racing in the world.”
Other big names we can expect to see challenging for podium positions include Ireland’s Martin Byrne, who won the Edinburgh Cup in 2011, Cornwall’s Martin Payne who last won the Cup in 1999, multi-class champion Mike Budd from Abersoch who is keen to break his reputation for being the bridesmaid at this event, and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox who will combine her duties as Regatta Chairman with a serious campaign to finally get her hands on the coveted trophy.
Alongside sponsors the event has attracted considerable commercial support. A key event partner is Shepards Wharf, where the Dragons will be based. Shepards Wharf Manager, Jock Rafferty, said: “The countdown to the historic Edinburgh Cup is on and we are really excited to be the host marina for the Dragon fleet’s day racing yachtsmen. We are continuing to make various ongoing improvements to our marina facilities and services, so we can accommodate more of these types of events, and are ready to give the Dragons a fantastic stay in Cowes this summer.”
Regatta Chairman Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, added: "We are hugely grateful to Destination Cowes and Cowes Harbour Commission for supporting the event through discounted berthing and to Shepards Wharf for hosting our visiting Dragons for the regattas. We have a large entry so Shepards will be busy! We welcome their dry sailing expertise and look forward to an enjoyable week based in their excellent facilities."
Also supporting the regatta as partners, are Red Funnel, who have offered special ferry fares to competitors, whilst Visit Isle of Wight and Destination Cowes have both provided invaluable logistical and marketing support.
The Dragon fleet may be the most competitive one design class in the world, but it is also one of the most hospitable and the regattas will include an outstanding social programme supported by official suppliers City of London London Dry Gin, Hendrick’s Gin and Upham Brewery. The event will draw to a close at the Edinburgh Cup Prizegiving Celebration on 14th July, a magnificent black tie dinner and dance to which all Cowes day keelboat classes and yacht club members are invited – a summer’s celebration of sailing!
Further information and online entry can be found at www.edinburghcup.org
.Photo: Edinburgh Cup 2016 – © Event Press Officer Fiona Brown