International entry for Edinburgh Cup
The UK Dragon fleet has been experiencing an exciting resurgence of interest in recent months and already more than 20 teams from across the UK, Ireland, Russia, France, Norway, Portugal and Japan are registered to compete in the 2010 Dragon South Coast Championship & Edinburgh Cup (the International Dragon British Championship).
Among those racing will be reigning Edinburgh Cup champion Quentin Strauss sailing Gorgeous Worgeous. In 2009 Quentin was crewed at the Edinburgh Cup by Nigel Young with America's Bill Hardesty at the helm. For this year's event he will once again pair with Nigel Young but on the helm will be top UK sailor Jamie Lee. All hugely experienced and successful yachtsmen in their own right, this team has had considerable success previously sailing in the Melges 24 fleet and will be determined to retain the trophy, one of the most historic in British sailing having been presented to the class by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1949.
Returning to the Edinburgh Cup for the first time in several years is sailing legend Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen, a double Olympic Gold Medallist, multiple World and Continental champion and five-time winner of the Edinburgh Cup. Poul-Richard last took part in and won the Edinburgh Cup in 2006, also the last time it was sailed from Cowes. He has a particular fondness for sailing in the Solent and is always a very serious contender in any Dragon regatta.
The overseas entry for this year's Edinburgh Cup is exceptionally strong. Heading up the list of international entrants is the two-boat Russian Murka team, Murka 7 helmed by Olga White, and Murka 8, helmed by Mikhail Muratov, both regular podium finishers on the international circuit.
Fresh from his recent victory in the 2009/2010 Cascais Dragon Winter Series comes Jose Matoso from Portugal. Jose also finished third at the recent Chivas Regal - XV H.M. King Juan Carlos Trophy, Portugal's biggest international Dragon event of the year and a Grade 1 ranking event.
As always the Irish will be well represented with Andrew Craig and Simon Brien heading up the contingent making the trip across the Irish Sea. Andrew Craig in particular has unfinished business with the Edinburgh Cup as last year he came a very close second and will be keen not to be the bridesmaid yet again.
A new team to watch out for will be that of Norway's Klaus Diederich. Diederich, who is currently based in the UK, is already well known for his success in the Swan 45 class and has now teamed up with British sailing stars Andy Beadsworth and Simon Fry for a Dragon campaign. On their first outing at the Grand Prix de Douarnenez in May they achieved a very impressive third place against a strong international fleet so are definitely a team to look out for.
Some well known Solent sailors will be giving the visitors a run for their money on their home "surf". Julia Bailey will be sailing with husband Graham and David Heritage. Eric Williams, a three time winner of the South Coast Championship and one of the canniest Solent sailors around, is back for another tilt at the elusive Edinburgh Cup, and Gavia Wilkinson- Cox, who finished 3rd in last year's Edinburgh Cup and has had notable success on the international circulit will be sailing with experienced Solent crew Mark Hart and Henry Bagnall.
The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club is hosting the event with PRO Robert Lamb officiating. The South Coast Championship runs from 27-29 June and is immediately followed by the Edinburgh Cup from 30 June to 3 July. Ashore competitors and their guests can look forward to a fun social programme featuring both formal and informal events. Highlights include a Cowes Town reception attended by the mayor to be held at the Sir Max Aitken Museum, and the Edinburgh Cup Gala Dinner at the Royal Yacht Squadron.
Thanks must go to event sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management for their generous support of the regatta. Aberdeen Asset Management's involvement with the British Dragon Association goes back to 2006 and their ongoing support of both the Edinburgh Cup and the British Dragon Association are invaluable. Other contributors to the event include Joliffes, David Heritage Racing Yachts, Red Funnel, Harken and Slam.
Commenting on this year's events Martin Gilbert, Founder and Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management said "This is the fifth consecutive year Aberdeen has been involved with the Dragons class and we are thrilled by the number of international crews who will be descending upon Cowes this summer.
"Aberdeen is a global business with offices in 24 countries around the world, there is therefore a certain amount of symmetry between us and the BDA. We wish all the crews racing throughout the week the best of luck and we look forward to a hugely successful week of racing."