Just the one

Dragon Edinburgh Cup fleet squeeze a race in before the gale

Thursday July 5th 2007, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: United Kingdom
The second day on Thursday of the International Dragon Edinburgh Cup regatta at Weymouth was wet and windy, but despite this the competitors were able to enjoy one closely fought race before the Race Committee were forced to send them home as the forecast gale began to make itself felt. Sadly the planned Crews Race had to be postponed until Friday.

The boats were over eager on their first attempt at starting but the implementation of the black flag for start two ensured a clean get away. With the wind still from the south west quadrant and blowing up towards 20 knots yet again the fleet set off for the left hand corner. The only exception was Ivan Bradbury, sailing GBR655 with Martin "Stavros" Payne and Will Willetts, who struck a lone path out to the right. For a while they looked very lonely but a big right hander made up for the lack of friends and at the weather mark they rounded with a handsome lead. Behind them Ian Gray, sailing GBR586 with Keith Gray and Rene Nel, headed the pack with Martin Makey, sailing GBR704 with Richard Elphinstone and Jon Noonan, and Len Jones, sailing GBR708 with Jamie Lea and Philip Catmur, rounding neck and neck for third and Owen Pay, sailing GBR653 with Nick Wood and Mike Gagg in fifth.

On the first run this group held their positions but David Palmer, sailing GBR700 with Mark Pettit and Kasper Harsber, was on a mission and by the drop had moved up from seventh to sixth and had closed into the back of the leading group. Although Bradbury held his lead on the second beat behind him it was all to play for and Palmer sailed a demon leg to round in second place with Jones now third. Paul Woodman, sailing GBR719 with Malcolm Ford and Barry Dunning, also sailed a nifty beat to move up from ninth to fourth.

The second run was all about playing catch up and at the leeward mark the pack had closed on Bradbury considerably opening the race up again for the final long beat. Every time the boats came together on the track Palmer and Jones seemed to close on Bradbury who had his work cut out to defend his lead in the rapidly strengthening breeze. Bradbury determinedly hung on and at the line he finished just clear of Palmer with Jones third. Neil Hegarty, sailing IRL176 with Peter Bowring and David Williams, also sailed an impressive race working his way slowly up the fleet from ninth at the first mark to fourth at the finish.

In the overall standings with three races in the six race series now completed David Palmer leads on five points, eight points ahead of Len Jones in second place. Neil Hegarty is just one point behind Jones on 14 points while Ivan Bradbury and Andrew Craig, sailing IRL192 with Don O'Dowd and Aidan O'Connell, are tied for fifth on nineteen points.

During the evening the crews attended the championship dinner at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, the venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing regattas. The evening included a tour of the Academy's facilities and a talk on the development of and future plans for the Academy as they prepare for the Games.

On Friday two further championship races are planned and with the forecast promising more moderate conditions the Race Committee also hopes to run the traditional Edinburgh Cup Crew's Race. The regatta runs until Saturday 7 July with six championship races scheduled.

Top Ten Provisional Results After Three Races

1. GBR700 David Palmer 1, 2, 2 - 5 points
2. GBR708 Len Jones 9, 1, 3 - 13 points
3. IRL176 Neil Hegarty 4, 6, 4 - 14 points
4. GBR656 Ivan Bradbury 14, 4, 1 - 19 points
5. IRL192 Andrew Craig 6, 7, 6 - 19 points
6. GBR719 Paul Woodman 13, 5, 5 - 23 points
7. GBR653 Owen Pay 12, 3, 9 - 24 points
8. GBR682 Eric Williams 2, 9, 14 - 25 points
9. GBR684 Michael Holmes 3, 11, 12 - 26 points
10. GBR729 Tim Tavinor 5, 8, 15 - 28 points

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