For 66 years the names engraved on the Dragon Edinburgh Cup have had two things in common. They are the names of some of the finest sailors in the world and they have all been men. Julia Bailey was already recognised as a very fine sailor, but she made history by becoming the first woman to earn the right to add her name to that illustrious list. For Julia and her crew of Pedro Andrade, Keith Tippell and Will Heritage aboard GBR720 Aimee the victory must be made even sweeter knowing that they didn’t just win the regatta, the positively stormed it with a race to spare.
Whilst Aimee’s overall victory was secured early, the battle for the remaining podium places was only decided in the closing stages of the final race. Ultimately second place was secured by Mike Budd, sailing GBR793 Harry with Mark Greaves and Sam Gardner, who added a first and second to their scorecard to trail Aimee by two points. Mike and his team also claim the Corinthian Cup for the first all amateur crew. Third place went down to a tie breaker with Martin Payne, Gillian Hamilton and Donal Small sailing GBR789 Bear, and Tom Vernon, Adam Bowers and Oliver Spensley-Corfield, both finished the regatta on thirteen points with Bear taking third place on count-back.
The regatta, hosted by the Largs Sailing Club with berthing at Largs Yacht Haven and in association with the Scottish Sailing Institute, was agreed by all to have been one of the most gruelling Edinburgh Cups in many years. It opened with a near gale, lost a day through lack of wind, had a race abandoned because of the sudden appearance of a nuclear submarine and featured five of the most demanding races you could ever hope to experience. For the 20 strong fleet from across the UK and as far afield as Japan it’s been a marathon and every race saw surprises and upsets as the crews took on the unique challenges of this stunning venue.
After racing the crews came together for a gala prize giving dinner to honour their winners and celebrate the return of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup to Scotland and the Clyde after an absence of 12 years. As well as the major trophies a number of special awards were also made including the Jordan Bell for the boat with the highest overall position that does not include a top 6 finish which went to Martin Makey’s GBR704 Ganador, the Classic Boat prize which went to Helen Horsfall’s GBR343 Whizz Too, the First All Girl Crew prize which was won by GBR509 Kismet’s Cathy Sedeworth and crew, and the Puffin Plate for the leading boat over 25 years old which went to Patrick Gifford’s Basilisk. There was also a very special presentation to the best Scottish Country Dancer from Wednesday’s Scottish Night which was won hands down by Donald Milne of GBR790 Flotation!
Asked how she felt about her momentous win Julia replied, “Brilliant. It took a little time to sink in. They’re a great team and I love to sail with them. I’ve sailed with Pedro for the last ten years in all sorts of things and he knows my strengths and weaknesses and plays to them. We’re over the moon.”
See the full race results
More information is available at the British Dragon Association Website: www.britishdragons.org
Racing photos by Marc Turner
Feedback from competitiors and race organisers
"Now that the dust has settled after the Edinburgh Cup, I would like to thank everyone at Largs Yacht Haven for their friendliness, competence and generosity of spirit which made such a difference to our enjoyment of the event". Julian Brooke Houghton
"We must say a most heartfelt thank you to the entire team in Largs who pulled out all the stops for us last week. The final afternoon and evening really demonstrated just how amazing the team were when the racing ran later than hoped and the boats only got back to the dock just as the lift out team were due to finish work for the day. Most people would have just left to get on with their Friday evenings with family and friends and left the Dragons to wait until the morning. But not the Largs Yacht Haven boys and girls who rescheduled all their plans so that they could stay on and work until almost 9pm to ensure that every last Dragon was out of the water that night." Dragon Association
"Thanks Largs – you absolutely went the extra mile and you have been amazing! As one of the competitors, can I thank you for your and your staff's work last week. Everything seemed to go very well and people were unfailingly helpful". Patrick Gifford, BDA Committee