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Dragon Race Cancellation Leaves Byrne Fourth Overall in Cannes

23rd September 2011
Dragon Race Cancellation Leaves Byrne Fourth Overall in Cannes
The wind was not on the Dragon crews' side this Friday for the last and decisive rendez-vous. A light and flimsly air, not enough to have the boats moving, forced the Committee to calli it a day and send the 58 strong fleet back ashore. The final ranking has then been decided taking into consideration the six races sailed since Tuesday. Italian Giuseppe Duca on Cloud wins his first title at the Régates Royales leaving Dublin's Martin Byrne fourth overall.

Good breeze on the first two days, light air on the third and not enough wind on the fourth: the 58 Dragons participating to the Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai profited from excellent conditions for the event opening, and namely the Irish crew skippered Martin Byrne on Jaguar-Bear who scored two wins whils race favourite and 2010 champion Anatoly Loginov from Russia on Annapurna, did not show the same consistency and strength he's known for.

Still, it's on the second day that the ranking becomes more definite as the Danish class master Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen on Danish Blue bounced back as did Italian Giuseppe Duca on Cloud, despite a a black flag disqualification on race 3.  And, Thursday, when just one race could be sailed due to the extremely light wind, the skipper from Venice together with French sailors Jean-Sébastien Ponce and Guillaume Bérenger scored a win that proved to be crucial to obtain is first ever title at the Régates Royales. Danish Blue's skipper and multiple Olympic medallist Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen with Theis Palm and Mick Jensen  jumps on the second step of the podium, whilst Russians Anatoly Loginov, Andrey Kirilyuk and Alexander Shalagin on Annapurna are distanced by a single point and finish third.

Dubliner Martin Byrne, with Brian Mathews and Pedro Andrade on Jaguar-Bear who started the series brilliantly, had a bad second day and slipped back in fourth. Interestingly enough on a total of six races, victory went to five different crews:  Martin Byrne, British Ivan Bradbury on Blue Haze, French Joseph Varoqui on Rusalka, Danish Peter Warrer on Lil and Giuseppe Duca. And in the top ten spots of the overall ranking no less than eight countries are represented: Italy, the UK, Russia, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, France and Finland.

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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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