NEWSLETTER, JUNE 2008.
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
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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