DRAGON DERBY 2023
The Dragon Derby was established in 1987 by Don Street who presented, as a perpetual trophy, a ships decanter, together with sponsorship of two bottles of Mount Gay rum each year. Tradition has it that the competitors and support team consume all the rum after the award of the Trophy.
The event schedule is fourteen races sailed over a weekend, seven races each day, each approximately twenty minutes long. In the early days of the smaller Dragon fleet (5/6 boats) racing was held in the inner Harbour providing excellent viewing for spectators. The current larger fleet (10+ boats) requires more room and races are sailed in the outer Harbour between Adam and Eve Islands.
The 2023 Derby (aka the Demolition Derby) was sailed over the weekend of 1st & 2nd July. Forecast for winds on Saturday were on the limits for Dragons so the Race Committee decided that no spinnakers would be allowed on the first day. This rule was relaxed for the last race of the day. Recorded wind speed during the racing was 24-26kts with gusts up to 33kts!
The racing was very close, especially between Aphrodite, Magic & Supremacy who all scored 1st places with Pongo & Leah close on their sterns. Unfortunately Phyloong, War Baby & Zu were early retirees. At the end of the day Aphrodite held the overnight lead with 10pts, with Magic & Supremacy tied on 13pts. Gypsy, with a reefed mainsail, sailed out to the race area but did not join in.
The forecast for Sunday was for lighter winds so the no spinnaker rule was dropped. The tussle between the top three boats continued with Pongo & Phyloong helping to mix it up. Wind speeds recorded by the Race Officer were 20 – 22kts, gusting to 25kts. By race 11 only three boats were left racing after Supremacy, Pongo, Leah, Phyloong, War Baby & Gypsy had all retired. Gypsy finished race 8 with a credible 7th place in front of Zu & War Baby. The competition was very close right up to the end making for a nail biting finish. Unbeknown to the Dragons on the water Aphrodite and Magic were tied in first place after race 13. Over eager Aphrodite was OCS in race 14, Magic & Zu were clear away to the windward mark with Magic getting the winning result.
The event really lived up to its name of the Demolition Derby, only two Dragons finished all 14 races!
The Dragon Derby decanter, filled to the brim with Mount Gay Rum was presented to Tiernan Brown, Magic’s skipper, and his crew over the two days, Alex O’Donoghue, Jessica Tubb, Mia Scarlet, Domhnall Coffey & Michelle Hayes.
Everyone enjoyed a sip or shot of rum standing in sunshine outside Waters & Wild and in the best tradition the decanter was finished to the last drop of rum!
Thanks were expressed to the Race Support team, ROs Diarmaid & Mary O’Sullivan, support and mark boat drivers and helpers, Paul Hardy, Lily Fitzpatrick, Christian Hoolihan, Heather Mahmood, Nicola O’Donovan, Declan O’Sullivan, Aoife Golding.
John Wyles Dragon Class Captain