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Byrne, Shanks & Espey Win Dragon Event with Race to Spare

21st October 2012
Byrne, Shanks & Espey Win Dragon Event with Race to Spare

#dragon – The 2012 season saved the best for last for the Irish Dragon fleet. Ten crews enjoyed moderate breezes, warm sunshine, and sparkling flat water as they competed in Lough Derg YC's Freshwater One Design Keelboat Regatta. Martin Byrne, crewed by Anthony Shanks and Olympian James Espey, won the Jack Craig Memorial Bell with a race to spare with a tally of five firsts in the eight races sailed.

The fight behind was intense on the sprint courses expertly set by the LDYC team. Eventually Garry Treacy crewed by Paul Maguire and Don O'Dowd secured second place, with third place going to Richard Goodbody and Tim Pearson sharing the helm on Diva, and crewed by the Johnson brothers, Rick and Rob, and fourth taken by Maeve Cotter with sons Daniel and Sean.

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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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