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Dubliner Byrne Leads Denmark's Prince Henrik at Régates Royales

21st September 2011
Dubliner Byrne Leads Denmark's Prince Henrik at Régates Royales

Dragon Edinburgh Cup winner Martin Byrne's impressive international form continues this week at the helm of Jaguar. The Dublin sailor leads HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark for overall honours at the Régates Royales in Cannes, on the south of France. Byrne, the Commodore of Dun Laoghaire's Royal St. George Yacht Club is counting a 1, 1 and 3 in the 58-boat fleet. 'We're off to a good start' Byrne, the Irish Dragon national champion, told Afloat.ie this morning. July's Edinburgh Cup winner is sailing with Brian Mathews and Portuguese sail maker Andrade Pedro.

dragonjaguar

Martin Byrne leads the 58-boat fleet

After the fleet could not go out on the water on Monday because of the strong, gusty typical Mistral breeze, the 58 boat strong Dragon fleet had three windward/leeward races on Tuesday starting in a 12 knots south-westerly, that progressively increased during the afternoon hours, topping 20 knots. Competition was strong as usual for the top positions and the class' champions imposed their supremacy. The first two races went both to Dublin's Byrne on Jaguar Bear who managed to get the better of reigning champion and class master Anatoly Longinov on Annapurna and on multiple class winner Danish Poul Richard on Antigua's flagged Danish Blue on the first one. A nearly clean score for the Irish skipper who was third in the last race of the day won by Ian Bradbury on Blue Haze. HRH Prince Heinrik of Denmark's had a very positive first day with a sixth, a second and a fourth. With five points, the Irish team is then securely on top of the provisional podium, in front of HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark (13 points) and the Russian crew skippered by Anatoly Loginov (16 points).

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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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