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British Dragon is Biggest Challenge at Royal St. George Yacht Club's East Coast Championships

25th May 2018
Dragon crew Jaguar skippered by Martin Byrne are in action off Dun Laoghaire this weekend Dragon crew Jaguar skippered by Martin Byrne are in action off Dun Laoghaire this weekend

The Dublin Bay Dragon Fleet host their East Coast Championships at the Royal St George Yacht Club this weekend.

15 entries are expected from the Dragon Fleets in Dun Laoghaire, Kinsale, Glandore and Abersoch in Wales in the first Championship event for 2018 sponsored by local Dún Laoghaire business, A Stitch in Time Embroiderers.

While the Glandore Dragon Fleet these days provide the greatest fleet numbers the teams from the Dublin Bay Dragon Fleet have for some time been taking the Class Championship titles.

In recent years, Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring & David Williams with Phantom have been sharing the National Championship title with Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team. These teams are both from the Royal St George YC. Also, Cameron Good in ‘Little Fella’ from Kinsale YC can always be found at the top of the fleet.

However, this weekend the Irish Dragons will have their biggest challenge from the number one ranked British Dragon team ‘Harry’ GBR 818 helmed by the legendary Mike Budd.

"Mike Budd’s reputation is feared amongst the sailors in most one-design fleets"

Mike Budd’s reputation is feared amongst the sailors in most one-design fleets as, over the years, he has won no less than eight UK National Championship Titles in various Classes in dinghies & keelboats. Also, he is often to be found as the tactician aboard Conor Phelan’s Class 1 racing keelboat ‘Jump Juice’ from RCYC.

However, after many attempts, he has yet to win the historic Edinburgh Cup which is the UK Dragon National Championship. This event was last won by an Irish team when Martin Byrne’s Jaguar took the title in 2011 & then finished 2nd in 2012. Budd arrives in Dun Laoghaire this weekend with a brand new Dragon and, by his own admission, claims he needs to pace himself against the fastest in the Irish Dragon Fleet if he has any chance at winning his first Edinburgh Cup in Torbay next July. At last year’s Edinburgh Cup in Cowes Budd finished eight overall whereas Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team finished 4th. In the previous years, Ed Cup in 2016 Phantom won the final two races to finish 5th overall. So Budd clearly sees the Irish Dragon Fleet as offering some meaningful opposition in his quest for the Edinburgh Cup.

The Dragons start racing in their East Coast Championship on Friday at 13.00hrs on Dublin Bay and continue until Sunday in the six race series.

Published in Dragon
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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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