Published Monday, 02 July 2012
Dragon yachts launch the 2012 Edinburgh Cup in Belfast. (© Presseye)
Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club is hosting the event on Belfast Lough from 4-7 July, with 46 boats from 10 different countries set to compete in what will be the largest field in 25 years.
Denmark's Poul Ricard Hoj Jensen, who struck sailing gold in the Soling class at the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, will be among those taking part and can't wait to enjoy the Belfast course.
"I've sailed there numerous times before and the sailing area and race course are outstanding - in fact, it would be difficult to find a better race track anywhere in the UK," he said.
"I haven't yet seen the new marina constructed by Belfast Harbour and look forward to seeing the facility. I'm also very well acquainted with the hospitality of the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club and I'm excited about meeting up with old friends."
Come along and watch some world-class international Dragon class yacht racing!
Simon Brien, Royal North of Ireland
Reigning Miss Northern Ireland Tiffany Brien, who was ranked number one in Ireland in the single-handed Laser Radial class last year, will also be taking part as she crews for top UK competitor Julian Sowry.
Her dad Simon, from Royal North of Ireland, said the stellar quality of the line-up was a real coup for his club.
"The calibre of entries for the Edinburgh Cup is truly exceptional and, given that we will have up to 10 different nationalities represented, I don't think there has ever been a sailing event in Northern Ireland with such a high quality international fleet.
"Challenging Poul Ricard Hoj Jensen for the title is a real who's-who from the international yachting elite, with current world champion Lawrie Smith and Edinburgh Cup holder Martin Byrne also coming to take part."
The chief executive of main sponsor Belfast Harbour, Roy Adair, added that sailing just added yet another layer to Northern Ireland's tourism potential.
"Following the great success of the Irish Dragon Boat Championships in 2010, we're delighted to once again form a partnership in hosting one of the most prestigious Dragon yacht racing events in the world," he said.
"Just last month over 60 yachts from across Ireland enjoyed the new marina facilities at Belfast Harbour during our Lough to Lagan Floatilla, and we're looking forward to welcoming international competitors and their families to Belfast once again."
The Edinburgh Cup follows the British Northern Area Championships, also hosted by Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, from 1-3 July.