by Fiona Brown
Dragon Edinburgh Cup 2011, supported by Aberdeen Asset Management, is being held in Abersoch from Wednesday 13 July to Saturday 16 July.
Dragon Edinburgh Cup 2011 Day 3
The penultimate day of racing may have featured only one race, but what a race it was. For the first time this week the wind was well up into double figures and the 43 strong Dragon fleet was able to enjoy a long course with beats of 2 miles plus - the class's preferred format for championship racing.
It was a definite case of snakes and ladders on the leader board with many of the top boats having difficult races. Overnight leader Mikhail Muratov found himself buried in 21st at the first weather mark and had to dig very deep to claw his way back up the fleet. Fortunately the race committee was running a full five leg course giving the fleet a third long beat to the finish, which gave him enough room to get through the main pack and cross the line in eighth place.
Julia Bailey and Olga White, who went into the day in second and third respectively, both also had disappointing first beats with White rounding in 23rd and Bailey in 30th. Both crews sailed their socks off and made good headway through the pack but ultimately, despite the longer race length and the third beat they simply ran out of runway and couldn't break through. Bailey gained the most ground finishing in 17th place, just one place behind White who had made it to 16th.
Martin Byrne and Klaus Diederichs, lying fourth and fifth going into the race, both managed to do rather better on the first beat, rounding side by side in the low teens and then moving their way up the fleet into the top ten. On the finish line Byrne took third with Diederichs seventh.
Meanwhile there was an exciting battle going on at the front of the fleet featuring a number of the top Corinthian teams. At the first mark it was extremely close with Richard Goodbody leading followed by Patrick Gifford. Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, Ted Fort, David Atkinson, Owen Pay and Rob Campbell. The boats were nose to tail the whole way round the track and Goodbody was facing challenges from all sides. He managed to hold his pursuers at bay until the closing stages of the final beat when the battle simple overwhelmed him and he made what proved to be a fateful tacking error which ultimately not only lost him the lead but dropped him back into fifth place, Gifford stormed to victory with Wilkinson-Cox, Byrne and Atkinson chasing him over the line.
With the discard coming into play there has been a big shuffle on the scoreboard and the scene is all set for an exciting final race showdown. Whilst Mikhail Muratov still technically leads the regatta he is now on equal 16 points with second placed Klaus Diederichs and Martin Byrne is just a single point behind them on 17. Julia Bailey has dropped into fourth on 23 points with Olga White in fifth on 28 points.
The fight for the Corinthian Trophy, which is scored as a separate series, is so tight that whilst in the overall standings Simon Brien leads Richard Goodbody by four points, in the Corinthian standings Goodbody leads Brien by a single point. Thanks to his race five win Patrick Gifford is now lying in third place five points behind Brien and on equal points with Nigel Biggs.
With just one more race to complete tomorrow we're expecting a thrilling conclusion to the regatta. The forecast is for stronger winds again so the Dragons are looking forward to saying a spectacular farewell to Abersoch and the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club who have been such terrific hosts for this regatta.
This evening the crews are enjoying the Edinburgh Cup Gala Dinner, which is being held at Tremfan Hall, a majestic country house overlooking Llanbedrog headland, Cardigan Bay and the mountains of Snowdonia. Dining with the competitors are representatives of the event's main sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management, GJW Direct and Gwynedd Council. We'd like to thank them and all the sponsors and official suppliers of this regatta for their most generous support.
Full crew list
Edinburgh Cup website