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Royal St George Yacht Club’s 'Phantom' Retains Dragon Title in Glandore Harbour

10th September 2018
Dragon winners - Royal St George team led by Neil Hegarty (left) with Peter Bowring (partly hidden centre with trophy) and David Williams (right) with half model Dragon winners - Royal St George team led by Neil Hegarty (left) with Peter Bowring (partly hidden centre with trophy) and David Williams (right) with half model

Going into yesterday’s final two races at the Dragon National Championships at Glandore Harbour Yacht Club three boats were tied on 11 points, with the discard yet to apply, and any one of four teams had the chance to win the title.

Download overall results below

Race 5 on Sunday saw Kinsale YC’s Cameron Good on Little Fella and the Royal St George team led by Neil Hegarty on Phantom battle it out at the front of the 21 boat fleet. Phantom won this one so after the discard had been applied they remained tied with Little Fella going into the last race.

The other contenders, Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team and Danish sailor Paul Rickard Hoj Jensen on Danish Blue had their worst results of the event after a wind shift left them down the fleet in 5th & 6th respectively. However, Byrne had the better result after discard so he counted an earlier 3rd in his overall score. This left the Jaguar Sailing Team very much in contention for the overall title going into the last race.

The final Race 6 on Sunday afternoon was sailed in a 20-knot westerly breeze under the direction of Race Officer Alan Crosbie.

The start was a tense affair with the leaders keeping a very close eye on each other. Denis Bergin on Sir Ossis of the River took an early lead but was overhauled by Jaguar & Phantom on the 2nd beat. In the meantime, Little Fella was struggling in 4th and Danish Blue was further back in 6th.

Martin Byrne DragonMembers of the runners up Jaguar team Adam Winkelmann (left in blue jacket) and Martin Byrne (right with half model)

To win the title Phantom just needed to stay in touch with Jaguar, who extended their lead and take their first win of the series. And Jaguar needed Little Fella to drop to 5th in order to take the runners-up spot overall. This is in fact what happened as Little Fella took a flyer to the left on the last leg of the course in an attempt to catch up. But this allowed Tim Pearson on Zu to sneak into 4th place while Sir Ossis sailed their best race to stay in 3rd.

So the final leg of the final race saw the overall title retained by Phantom with Jaguar 2nd and Little Fella 3rd overall.

This was easily the most competitive Championship in years but the most positive feature of the event was the number of young people sailing Dragons. The Glandore fleet have a strong youth involvement in the Dragon Class both as volunteers and sailors.

It was acknowledged by all the competitors that the event was superbly organised by Glandore Harbour Yacht Club with the help of sponsorship from Fehily Timoney & Company and the Dragon Class will be back in 2019 for their South Coast Championships.

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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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