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Olympic Gold Medallists Head for Dun Laoghaire Dragon Event

24th July 2012
Olympic Gold Medallists Head for Dun Laoghaire Dragon Event

#dragons – No sooner was the Dunlaoghaire waterfront cleared of ISAF Youth Worlds dinghies than it began to fill up with the classic hulls of the former Olympic class – the International Dragon.

And fresh from duty on the ISAF Youth Worlds race course, International Race Officer, David Lovegrove, is out again on the testing waters of Dublin Bay, controlling this fleet of high ranking international and local sailors as the Brewin Dolphin-sponsored Irish National Championship kicks off Thursday morning.

While this premier event on the Irish calendar will be hotly contested it is of course another opportunity for domestic and overseas sailors to attune their boats and crews to Irish conditions as they prepare for the main event of the Dragon season, the justly famous Dragon Gold Cup, which is the open World Championship for Dragons, and takes place in Kinsale Yacht Club from 8th-14th September.

Investment Managers Brewin Dolphin are not only sponsoring the Nationals and Gold Cup, but have put their support behind an innovative Grand Slam series comprising the Northerns, the Edinburgh Cup, the Nationals, the South Coasts and the Gold Cup. Brewin Dolphin are not newcomers to the world of sailing, having successfully sponsored the Scottish Series for the past 13 years and more recently the Commodores' Cup.

Ray Tilson, Managing Director Tilman Brewin Dolphin in Ireland said, "We are delighted to be marking our 250th Anniversary by sponsoring the Dragon Grand Slam and we look forward to a great event. Brewin Dolphin is notoriously passionate about sailing and we have an established history of supporting the sport and we look forward to working closely with the Irish Dragon fleet. Sailing has provided us with an excellent platform to increase awareness of our brand to a wider audience and we are confident that the Grand Slam will develop this."

While international participants will include Olympic gold medallist Poul Ricard Hoj Jensen, former International Dragon Association Chairman Rob Campbell, and the on form Jens Rathsack from Monaco, the Irish Dragon Fleet will be well represented by current Irish National Champion Martin Byrne, recent winner of the Edinburgh Cup Simon Brien as well as established successful campaigners Don O'Donoghue, Neil Hegarty and Cameron Good.

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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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