by Fiona Brown
The 2012 Dragon Northern Area Championship came down to a tie-breaker after seven incredibly tough races over three days, 30 June to 3 July.
Dragon Northern Area Championship
The event, sponsored by Belfast Harbour, attracted 32 competitors - the best entry in many years - including teams from Monaco and Australia as well as from across the UK and Ireland.
The quality of competition at the regatta was incredibly high with every mark rounding action packed and the difference between a podium place and mid fleet being just a matter of seconds in almost every race. The Race Committee was at the top of its game as they brought seven great races to the fleet despite some very shifty and variable conditions. Those seven races featured six different race winners and going into the final day the top four boats were separated by only five points.
As they went into the final race it was still anyone's regatta with Julia Bailey, crewed in Aimee by husband Graham, Dylan Potter and eleven year old Will Heritage holding a narrow lead on 19 points. A single point behind in second was Klaus Diederichs, sailing Fever with Andy Beadsworth and Jamie Lee. In third was Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, sailing Jerboa with Martin Payne and Rui Boia counting 23 points and in fourth was Chris Hunt, sailing Dark and Stormy with Mark Hart and Mark Daly, on 25 points. The overall points however were not fully known to the competitors as the class has a no VHF communication rule at its major championships and therefore did not know the identity of a single boat called over the start line (OCS) in the penultimate race. All four knew they had been close to the line and that no boat had returned across the line so almost any of them could be the disqualified boat.
With the wind constantly varying in both velocity and direction as rain showers rolled down across the hills from the south it was to be the toughest race of the series. For Diederichs and Bailey tricky starts were compounded by missed shifts and both boats scored their worst results of the regatta to put them out of the overall running. So it was down to Wilkinson-Cox and Hunt to fight it out for the laurels and what a fight it was with the two boats within yards of each other throughout the race. On the line Hunt just got the better of the situation finishing the race in second place with Wilkinson-Cox in fourth. Looking back down the fleet Wilkinson-Cox knew the points were tight but feared that her fourth place hadn't been sufficient and in fact was worried about whether she'd made the podium at all. It wasn't until she arrived back at the club house sometime later that she discovered that the OCS boat had been Simon Brien and that she had just snatched the 2012 Dragon Northern Area Championship on count-back from Hunt with Diederichs third and Bailey fourth.
At the prize giving dinner Gavia Wilkinson-Cox paid tribute to the regatta organisers led by Simon Brien, to her crew and to the quality of the competition saying. 'Simon has already very eloquently thanked all those involved with running this event, but on behalf of everybody here I want to say the hugest thank to Simon. Nobody could have done more than he has to get everybody here. The other thank you of course goes to my crew Stavros and Rui - two fantastic sailors. And finally thank you all for being fantastic competitors and for the tough racing.'
The Corinthian Trophy, for the first all amateur crew, went to Julia Bailey in Aimee, while Mark and Mandy Wade, sailing Avalanche with Simon Cash were Corinthian runners up and fifth overall. The Old Boat Trophy, for the top performance by one of the classic boats in the fleet, went to Sou'wester which was recently brought back to life after 16 years in storage by her crew of owner John Simms, John Gunning and Alan Morrison, who proved that there's plenty of life in the old girl yet by finishing 13th overall. Special mention must also go to Monaco's Jens Rathsack sailing Jeanie with Stefan Waak and Mario Wagner for being the only team to win two races in the regatta and who finished sixth overall.
Tomorrow the Edinburgh Cup - the Dragon British Open Championship - sponsored by Belfast Harbour gets underway and with the fleet growing to 46 teams with the addition of reigning World Champion and Olympic Bronze Medallist Lawrie Smith, reigning Edinburgh Cup Champion Martin Byrne, Double Olympic Gold Medallist and five time Edinburgh Cup Champion Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen and 2008 Edinburgh Cup Champion Don O'Donoghue, to name but a few, it will not only be the biggest Edinburgh Cup fleet in more than quarter of a century but also one of the toughest ever assembled.
The 2012 Edinburgh Cup sponsored by Belfast Harbour runs from Wednesday 4 to Saturday 7 July with up to six races scheduled. Racing will continue on Belfast Lough but the fleet will move seawards down the lough to allow for a much larger championship race course with beats of up to two miles. Once five races have been completed a single discard will be allowed.
International Dragon Class Northern Championships - Overall
|1st||JERBOA||761||GAVIA WILKINSON-COX||RCYC||STAVROS PAYNE||RUI BOIA||5.0||6.0||6.0||5.0||1.0||(10.0)||4.0||27.0|
|2nd||DARK & STORMY||768||CHRISTOPHER HUNT||RYS||MARK HART||MARK DALY||4.0||4.0||3.0||(14.0)||3.0||11.0||2.0||27.0|
|3rd||FEVER||758||KLAUS DIEDERICHS||RORC||ANDY BEADSWORTH||JAMIE LEE||8.0||2.0||4.0||2.0||9.0||4.0||(15.0)||29.0|
|4th||AIMEE||720||JULIA BAILEY||RYS||GRAHAM BAILEY||DYLAN POTTER & WILL HERITAGE||2.0||7.0||(18.0)||1.0||2.0||7.0||16.0||35.0|
|5th||AVALANCHE||722||MARK WADE||RCYC||AMANDA WADE||SIMON CASH||7.0||5.0||(24.0)||11.0||5.0||6.0||3.0||37.0|
|6th||JEANIE||N 2||RATHSACK JENS||MYC||WAAK STEFAN||WAGNER MARIO||6.0||12.0||10.0||(19.0)||17.0||1.0||1.0||47.0|
|7th||FEI-LEN'S FLIRTATION||633||RON JAMES||RFYC||JULIA WALSH||NIGEL YOUNG||16.0||1.0||7.0||6.0||10.0||(28.0)||14.0||54.0|
|8th||SCIMITAR||755||JULIAN SOWRY||MYC||CLAIRE SOWRY||NEIL O'HAGAN||(26.0)||8.0||9.0||12.0||15.0||2.0||8.0||54.0|
|9th||CHIMAERA||216||ANDREW CRAIG||RSTGYC||MAURICE O'CONNELL||MARK PETTITT||1.0||15.0||11.0||(25.0)||4.0||15.0||20.0||66.0|
|10th||KIN||214||SIMON BRIEN||RNIYC||MARK BRIEN||DAVID GOMES||13.0||13.0||1.0||15.0||12.0||(33.0 OCS)||13.0||67.0|
|11th||BLUE MOVIE||690||DAVID ATKINSON||SUNDERLAND YC||JOHN OUTWAITE||MICHAEL MATHEWS||3.0||3.0||16.0||8.0||20.0||(25.0)||17.0||67.0|
|12th||WHISPER||213||John Driscol||RSTGYC||Gavin Pollard||Alan Mc||(27.0)||14.0||5.0||7.0||7.0||13.0||25.0||71.0|
|13th||SOU'WESTER||436||JOHN SIMMS||RUYC||JOHN GUNNING||ALAN MORRISON||15.0||22.0||17.0||9.0||13.0||(27.0)||10.0||86.0|
|14th||FIT CHICK||753||JONO RATNAGE||MEDWAY YC||ROSS MCKISSOCK||GUY CLARABUT||18.0||17.0||(23.0)||13.0||19.0||12.0||11.0||90.0|
|15th||TENACIOUS||157||ANTHONY O'NEILL||KYC||OLIVER LOUGHEAD||EOGHAN O'NEILL||25.0||19.0||14.0||4.0||11.0||19.0||(29.0)||92.0|
|16th||QUICKSILVER V||766||ROBERT CAMPBELL||RCYC||ROBERT ALPE||IAN GRAY||24.0||(33.0 OCS)||15.0||10.0||18.0||17.0||9.0||93.0|
|17th||JAGUAR||201||Pedro Andrade||RSTGYC||Rory Graham||Ryan Seaton||10.0||(33.0 DNF)||33.0 BFD||3.0||6.0||9.0||33.0 DNF||94.0|
|18th||CLOUD||206||STEVIE MILNE||RSTGYC||CLARE HOGAN||MARK ENNIS||14.0||11.0||26.0||(33.0 OCS)||16.0||16.0||12.0||95.0|
|19th||Seabird||204||OWEN PAY||RCYC||STEVE RICHARDSON||JON MORTIMER||12.0||(33.0 OCS)||25.0||17.0||23.0||14.0||5.0||96.0|
|20th||HANDS OFF||760||MIKE HOLMES||RCYC||PAUL FLETCHER||ROSS VAUGHAN / TOM HARRISON||9.0||(33.0 OCS)||28.0||26.0||8.0||5.0||21.0||97.0|
|21st||RUMOURS||708||QUENTIN STRAUSS||UPPER THAMES SC||NIKKI STRAUSS||HARRY STRAUSS||17.0||18.0||21.0||16.0||21.0||8.0||(24.0)||101.0|
|22nd||NAIAD||764||MICHAEL HAYLES||AYC||MONIQUE HAYLES||ALEX MACDONALD||21.0||(33.0 OCS)||2.0||24.0||25.0||24.0||6.0||102.0|
|23rd||NEREID||717||PATRICK GIFFORD||ALDERBURGH YC||PAUL SPRINGETT||ANDREW VAUGHAN||19.0||16.0||8.0||(33.0 OCS)||27.0||20.0||19.0||109.0|
|24th||GANADOR||704||MARTIN MAKEY||RCYC||TIM WILKES||TERESA WILKES||20.0||10.0||13.0||18.0||26.0||(30.0)||22.0||109.0|
|25th||WHIMSEY||206||GORDON INGATE||RSYS||JAMES BEVIS||WILL GIBBON||(29.0)||24.0||19.0||21.0||29.0||3.0||26.0||122.0|
|26th||EVE||150||EAN PUGH||MONACO||ALAR VOLMER||MICHAEL MANZKE||28.0||20.0||20.0||20.0||14.0||21.0||(33.0 OCS)||123.0|
|27th||MERLIN||622||ROBERT RIDDELL||SCYC||DEBORAH JONA||GEORGINA DEWAS||23.0||25.0||(27.0)||22.0||24.0||26.0||7.0||127.0|
|28th||Grey Hare||19||Shaun Kingston||KYC||Jack Kingston||11.0||23.0||22.0||23.0||(33.0 DNF)||29.0||23.0||131.0|
|29th||VALANGA||210||SANDY ANDERSON||RFBYC||JOHN MONCRIEFF||Karen Chatfield||22.0||9.0||29.0||27.0||(30.0)||22.0||28.0||137.0|
|30th||BEAR||767||GORDON PATTERSON||RNIYC||GAVIN VAUGHAN||MIKE VAUGHAN||(30.0)||21.0||12.0||28.0||28.0||23.0||27.0||139.0|
|31st||AMAZON||557||GRAHAM PRICE||ABERSOCH||PATRICK LOMAX||TRACEY POWELL||(33.0 DNC)||26.0||30.0||29.0||22.0||18.0||30.0||155.0|
|32nd||DIVA||210||DON O'DONOGHUE||RSTG||ROB JOHNSON||Rob Johnson||(33.0 DNC)||33.0 DNC||33.0 DNC||33.0 DNC||33.0 DNC||33.0 DNC||18.0||183.0|
British Dragon Association website