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Ireland's Dragon Team ends World Championships in Top Half

18th January 2011
Ireland's Dragon Team ends World Championships in Top Half

Dun Laoghaire trio Andrew Craig, Mark Pettit and Brian Mathews finished in the top half of the 70-boat Melbourne based Dragon World Championships at Port Philip yesterday after a six race series of predominantly light winds.

Hopes of bettering Ireland's best ever result at a Dragon Worlds, a fourth place overall, achieved by Craig in Tasmania in 2003, were dashed with a string of mid fleet results. The Irish crews best finish was tenth in a highly competitive fleet to be 26th overall. RESULTS HERE.

The event was won by Brtiain's Lawrie Smith who has not sailed since his Last Volvo Ocean Race campaign in 1999. "This really is such a joyous way to come back. I honestly did not think we'd get the win. Then again, I also thought it was going to blow 25 knots each day!" said Smith at the prizegiving.

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The Dragon was designed by Johan Anker in 1929 as an entry for a competition run by the Royal Yacht Club of Gothenburg, to find a small keel-boat that could be used for simple weekend cruising among the islands and fjords of the Scandinavian seaboard. The original design had two berths and was ideally suited for cruising in his home waters of Norway. The boat quickly attracted owners and within ten years it had spread all over Europe.

The Dragon's long keel and elegant metre-boat lines remain unchanged, but today Dragons are constructed using the latest technology to make the boat durable and easy to maintain. GRP is the most popular material, but both new and old wooden boats regularly win major competitions while looking as beautiful as any craft afloat. Exotic materials are banned throughout the boat, and strict rules are applied to all areas of construction to avoid sacrificing value for a fractional increase in speed.

The key to the Dragon's enduring appeal lies in the careful development of its rig. Its well-balanced sail plan makes boat handling easy for lightweights, while a controlled process of development has produced one of the most flexible and controllable rigs of any racing boat.

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