Opening day for the Dragons at the 2015 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Edinburgh Cup in Largs and in the overall standings Julia Bailey, sailing GBR720 Aimee, and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, sailing GBR761 Jerboa, lead the regatta on equal points with Aimee just edging ahead on count back thanks to her win in the opening race.
The winner of the second race by a handsome margin was Bocci Aoyama’s JAP50 Yevis, which puts him into third overall, three points behind the ladies and two points ahead of Martin Payne in GBR789 Bear. In fifth place overall and just a single point behind Bear is Patrick Gifford sailing GBR515 Basilisk, who is also the leading Corinthian (all amateur) boat.
The weather gods threw everything from less than three to almost thirty knots at the twenty strong International Dragon fleet in rapid succession.
In the opening race the first beat was close to survival conditions and the first run saw some some spectacular surfing, challenging heavy airs gybing and more than a few thrills and spills. The second lap was almost as full on and it wasn’t until the third and final beat that conditions abate a little. At the line Aimee led GBR795 Excite, helmed by Tom Vernon, and Jerboa across the line with Bear fourth and Martin Makey sailing GBR704 Ganador fifth.
Race two could not have been more different with the wind down to ten knots at the start and continuing to drop and destabilise as the afternoon wore on. With the left side of the course apparently favoured, there was a lot of traffic at the pin end of the line and several people were over eager.
Sadly Excite failed to return and was disqualified, but amongst those who turned back were Jerboa and Bear who were then forced off to the right. Mike Budd’s GBR793 Harry found themselves buried at the pin so also elected to tack and come off the line on port across the fleets transoms.
Yevis meanwhile had had a clear start but tacked onto port to clear her air. They were about to tack back when crew Kasper Harsberg spotted that first Jerboa, Harry and Bear and then Mike Holmes in GBR760 Handsoff were making significant gains on the right. They made the brave decision to put all their eggs in one basket and bang the right corner. The decision was a race winner and by the first mark they had an enormous lead.
Second to round mark one was Harry with Richard Leask in GBR489 Kestra third, Jerboa fourth and Handsoff fifth. On the run Jerboa pulled up into third hard on the heels of Harry, while further back down the pack both Bear and Aimee were making rapid gains through the fleet. With the wind going right Yeavis defended their lead all the way to the finish.
Jerboa did everything she could to get through Harry and her efforts were finally rewarded in the closing moments when Harry crossed Jerboa on port but then tacked and lost momentum in the by now very light airs, allowing Jerboa to slip through to leeward for a second place. Harry finished third with Aimee snatching fourth from Patrick Gifford’s GBR515 Basilisk on the final approach to the line.
With three more days and four further races still to come the regatta is wide open. The forecast promises further very varied conditions and its clear that whoever wins the 2015 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Edinburgh Cup and become British Dragon Champion will have had to work very hard to do so. Weather permitting races three and four are scheduled for tomorrow starting at 11.00 and if both races are completed the single discard will come into play.
Dragon – Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Edinburgh Cup after 2 races
1st 720 Aimee J Bailey P Andrade, K Tippel, W Hertage Royal Yacht Squadron 1 4 5 pts
2nd 761 Jerboa G Wilkinson-Cox M Hart, P Catmur RORC 3 2 5 pts
3rd JPN50 Yevis II B Aoyama K Harsberg, N Igel Enoshima YC 7 1 8 pts
4th 789 Bear M Payne G Hamilton, D Small Salcombe YC 4 6 10 pts
5th 515 Basilisk P Gifford M Spall, M Gifford Aldeburgh YC 6 5 11 pts
6th 633 Fei-Lin’s Flirtation R James J Walsh, M Kosk Royal Forth YC 10 8 18 pts
7th 790 Floatation R Davies C Hurn, D Milne Royal Thames YC 9 11 20 pts
8th 622 Merlin R Riddell G Dewar, S Cash SCYC 12 9 21 pts
9th 704 Ganador M Makey R Nel, G Butcher RCYC 5 17 22 pts
10th 795 Excite T Vernon A Bowers, O Spensley-Corfield 2 21.0 OCS 23 pts
11th 760 Handsoff M Holmes T Wilkes, T Wilkes RCYC Burnham 8 15 23 pts
12th 793 Harry M Budd M Greaves, S Gardner SCYC 21.0 OCS 3 24 pts
13th 489 Kestra R Leask W Adams, N Jamieson, V Leask Royal Forth YC 11 14 25 pts
14th 791 Christianna O Morgan A Dobson, D Elliott Royal Thames YC 13 13 26 pts
15th 343 Wizz Too H Horsfall H Boyd, S Boyd Royal Forth YC 15 12 27 pts
16th 764 Naiad M Hayles M Hayles, J Brooke-Houghton Aldeburgh YC 21.0 DNF 7 28 pts
17th 653 Njord J Adams D Coxon, P Hawkins SCYC 14 16 30 pts
18th 699 Gitane C Brereton C Mills, R Morris SCYC 21.0 DNF 10 31 pts
19th 508 Atlanta T Saunders G Davies, C Holme SCYC Abersoch 21.0 OCS 18 39 pts
20th 509 Kismet C Sedgeworth S Kerr, F Hutchison, M Kinear Royal Forth YC 21.0 DNF 21.0 DNC 42 pts
by Fiona Brown