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Dragon class celebrates 75 years of Edinburgh Cup competition

by British Dragon Association 30 Nov 2022 09:12 PST 14-19 August 2023
Dragon Edinburgh Cup © The International Dragon

In 1949 The Edinburgh Cup was gifted to the British Dragon Association (BDA) by the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) after the members of the Island Sailing Club presented the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip with a Dragon named Bluebottle on the occasion of their marriage in 1948. This impressive silver trophy has been awarded annually to the winner of the British Open Dragon Championship ever since.

The first staging of the Edinburgh Cup was in Cowes in 1949 and it was won by Franklin Ratsey Woodroffe in Blue Skies (K214). Prince Philip was a keen Dragon sailor and his intention in presenting the trophy was to use it to popularise the Dragon class around the country with the deed of gift stating that the venue should vary each year. As a result, the regatta has been hosted by clubs from all four nations of the British Isles. 2023 marks 75 years of Edinburgh Cup history when the competition will return once again to Cowes, where the BDA and the Royal Yacht Squadron are planning a spectacular celebration regatta from 14 to 19 August.

Further adding to the prestige of the event, the International Dragon Association (IDA) has announced that the Edinburgh Cup will be one of only four International Grand Prix regattas in 2023 - the IDA's premier international series. With Britain also hosting the Dragon Gold Cup from 9 to 15 September in Torquay, and the option to participate in Cowes Week from 29 July to 7 August, the UK will be a hotspot for Dragon sailing during summer 2023. To encourage maximum international participation special ferry deals, logistical support, and arrangements for boat storage between events are being put in place.

With an international fleet from across Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America expected for the Edinburgh Cup incorporating the Dragon British Grand Prix, eight races are planned on windward leeward courses in the central Solent. Ashore a programme of exclusive social events is being created, culminating in the 75th Edinburgh Cup Gala Dinner and Prize Giving at the Royal Yacht Squadron. These events will also be attended by past Edinburgh Cup competitors and winners, further adding to their very special atmosphere.

Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, Chair of the Edinburgh Cup Organising Committee, noted "This will be a truly once in a lifetime celebration of the Edinburgh Cup, one of yachting's most historic and prestigious trophies. The regatta will offer not only world class racing but will also allow Dragon friends old and new to celebrate the Edinburgh Cup's incredible history and the extraordinary longevity and success of the International Dragon. The Royal Yacht Squadron's reputation for running top class regattas is second to none and I would like to thank the club for its support. I would also like to thank the BDA, the IDA, our sponsors and local partners, without whose commitment the event would not be possible. Cowes is rightly regarded as one of the world's premier regatta venues and we look forward to welcoming Dragon sailors from around the globe for this unique celebration."

Bruce Huber, Rear Commodore Yachting of the Royal Yacht Squadron noted "The Royal Yacht Squadron is delighted to be hosting the International Dragon Class in 2023 as they celebrate 75 years of competition for the Edinburgh Cup, a trophy gifted by our late Admiral, the Duke of Edinburgh. The Squadron continues to invest in our infrastructure to be a top venue of choice for leading international and national yacht racing regattas in the Solent, arguably a historical centre of virtually every stage of the history of yachting. Accordingly, we remain committed to the highest standards for race management, underpinned by an outstanding venue for spectators and onshore hospitality."

Find further information about the Edinburgh Cup

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