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At the half way stage of the 2008 Dragon season, I can report that things are going well. The production side at Petticrows is busy and back on stream after the introduction of the major rule changes to increase the buoyancy to 2500L. Rule changes that need to be implemented immediately are very disruptive to production and lot of new moulds needed to be done. Tim and the guys in the factory have really done an excellent job; they bettered the target and our Dragons now have 2700L buoyancy. Looking at the results of the new Dragons delivered since the rule change, it has all been for the better. The centre of gravity is higher now, due to the increase in buoyancy; I believe this has made the boat stiffer. Crews very much like the higher floor too; it is easier to get up on deck. The quality of the product is as good, if not better than ever; it is a great feeling to sail with this “extra buoyancy Dragon”. The new centre cockpit (barneypost) version is also working very well.

In order to provide a better service to our customers, Tim and I are “splitting” the races. Tim has been to Cascais (Len Jones won both races), Douarnenez (Georgy Shaiduko was the winner of the Grand Prix and Joergen Schonherr won the Coupe de Bretagne), North Sea Regatta (Huib/Paul/Jan-Willem won), Tim sailed with a “young and coming team” sponsored by Ton de Waardt. In the Wellness Cup in Denmark he sailed with Peter Warrer; Lars Hendrikson won. Tim will be in Ostende for the Belgian Championships, Vintage Games in Medemblik and Cazaux for the French Championships. If you need any service for the above races, please contact Tim.

My season started with the first Antiguan Championships (great fun and excellent racing), followed by two races in Mallorca. There were not so many participants in the Princess Sofia this year; probably a “hangover” from last years’ Gold Cup. Competition was strong nevertheless and we had five days of excellent racing. I first won this event 39 years ago, and was happy that I could still manage to win again after all this time. Theis and Noddy crewed for me.

Back to Antigua for the Antiguan Classic and Antiguan Sailing Weeks. As it took some persuasion by the race organisation to allow the Dragon a start, it was important for me to be there. With good winds, good weather and a water temperature of over 26 degrees C, conditions could not have been better. Tommy, Jens Helm, Gerd Koepcke, Ted Fort, Mick Cotter, Simon Brien & Co. all came down for Classic week. Lots of Irish “crack” as well as good sailing (and drinking!). For Antigua Race Week, Sasha Eshkov jnr. made his debut in Dragons and did very well to finish second. My hat goes off to Olga White though; she won the race and sailed very well. I could only manage third place. Eight out of the twelve Dragons in Antigua are available for charter; they can be chartered individually or to teams or Yacht Clubs for Inter port races. We hope to arrange the first Triple Race in Antigua this winter too. Anyone interested, please contact Sophia; she is the Hon. Sec. of the Harmony Hall Yacht Club.

In the mean time, Tommy won both Pfingstbush and the Marblehead Trophy (back on form with Vincie and Max), Patrick de Barros won the Portuguese Dragon Championships for the 8th time (has anyone ever won a National Championships in a Dragon so many times?) and Odd Lofterod won the Swiss champions. Congratulations to all.

We are so lucky that many Dragon sailors/volunteer Club members give up their free time in order for us to enjoy our sailing and social activities non more so than in France; Douarnenez is an example we all know; great racing and hospitality. Same story in Cannes, where the local Dragon sailors really put themselves out for the visitors. Another perfect example of this is La Baule. The warmth of the hospitality in La Baule is amazing. Dragon sailors/wives/club members, much the same as in Douarnenez, do all the work. Even Annie is brought in to deal with measurement and scoring. Sailing was good too; although I never did get to grips with the tidal conditions. After day one, we all thought the local hero’s Yves and Marc Payot would “wipe the floor” with us all. I managed to win in the end (only just) from Guus de Groot with Len Jones and Louis Urvois closely behind in 3rd and 4th place.

The Worlds are in Medemblik next year; there we will have short and choppy wave conditions. You can be sure that Tim and I will work hard to come up with new ideas; Ian Howlett, the 12M designer is helping us.

The end of May I went to Russia, Moscow. The Russian Dragon Sailors have done some amazing things there to promote sailing. Not only does the Dragon Class continue to flourish, a great effort is made to get the young people out sailing. If the Russian Dragon Sailors start winning all the races, it would not come as a surprise to me. They really work hard at their sport. and deserve to do well. Our Yacht Club in Burnham, the RCYC, has an annual team race with the Pirigova Yacht Club. These Inter Club races are not only great fun; they really promote and enhance friendship between the Dragon sailors. In the days of high fuel prices, it gives people a chance to do some foreign travel/good Dragon sailing at comparatively low costs. I can really recommend this

I hope to see you on the racecourse.

If you have any queries, as always, please give me a call.

All the best,


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