Early lead for Hoj-Jensen

Fi Brown reports from the Dragon's Edinburgh Cup in Cowes

Saturday May 27th 2006, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: United Kingdom
Day one of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup in Cowes brought heavy airs and cold grey conditions. The 35 strong fleet from six nations enjoyed a lively practise race in 20 knots and a steep wind over tide chop, however, attempts to get championship racing underway had to be abandoned as the wind increased to around 27 knots and the sea state deteriorated. The combination of high winds and worsening seas left the Race Committee, led by PRO Ian Lallow, with no option but to send the boats home. With the weather forecast to moderate overnight the schedule for tomorrow has been revised to incorporate three championship races with the first signal scheduled for 1055.

The practise race started in a 16-18 knot westerly and up the first beat the left side was generally favoured as teams tried to balance the strong ebb current and the shifts. At the weather mark Denmark's Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen sailing Danish Blue led the fleet from Ireland's Simon Brien in Kin with Germany's Thomas Muller aboard his newly delivered Sinewave in third. The pack was closely bunched as they took off down the run in a building breeze. By now the ebb tide was really starting to run and there were plenty of thrills and spills as helmsmen and trimmers fought to stay in sync with the tricky wave pattern.

By the first leeward mark Hoj-Jensen had dug in his heels and Muller had pulled up into second with the pack on his tail. Hoj-Jensen and Muller held their positions for the second lap as the battle for third continued. Eventually it was Richard Jordan, sailing Rascal Rat, who took third from Gavia Wilkinson-Cox aboard Jerboa in fourth with Rob Campbell in Quicksilver III fifth.

Special mention today goes to young Katie Bailey who at just 12 years old is our youngest Edinburgh Cup competitor. An enthusiastic dinghy sailor she is sailing in her first major Dragon regatta with her father Richard aboard James Mehew's Comanche. This year's event is something of a Bailey family benefit as Katie's Uncle and Aunt, Graham and Julia Bailey, are also competing in their boat Aimee.

This event is made possible through the generous contributions of its Supporting Sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management, Crocker Letting and Wightlink. In addition we would like to thank Julia & Graham Bailey (Aimee), Rob Gray (Troika), Len Jones (Rumours) and Peter Nicholson (Virago) for stepping up as Day Sponsors.

The Edinburgh Cup will be followed by the Aberdeen Dragon European Championship, to be hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, from Monday 5 to Friday 9 June.

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