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Better Late Than Never, 1985 Dragon East Coast Prizes Are Presented...

27th June 2020
35 years later: (from left) Michael Cotter deploys a two metre paddle to belatedly present prizes to John Kidney, Dan O’Connor and Ailbe Millerick (representing the Grays) for the 1985 Dragon East Coast Championships held in COVID times this week 35 years later: (from left) Michael Cotter deploys a two metre paddle to belatedly present prizes to John Kidney, Dan O’Connor and Ailbe Millerick (representing the Grays) for the 1985 Dragon East Coast Championships held in COVID times this week

During a “COVID 19” garage clean out recently, a box of unclaimed prizes was found for the Irish Dragon keelboat class.

These, according to the inscriptions thereon, were to be awarded at the prize-giving for the East Coast Dragon Championships 1985 to the 3rd, 5th and 6th places overall. Apparently, as 1st, 2nd and 4th were presented, there was no one there to receive the others. In fact, no one has any idea how they came to be.

After some debate, it was decided to try and find who the recipients might have been.

By delving through the Dragon Class records, the Dublin Bay Dragon Fleet Captain’s Report Season 1985 revealed the following relevant information:- “Congratulations to the East Coast Dragon Championships winner Conor Doyle and his crew in Alphida and runner-up Alan Crosbie and his crew in Isolde. Other placings were 3rd John Kidney (Hikari), 4th Gerry Owens (Titan), 5th Peter & Susan Gray (Andromeda) and 6th Dan O’Connor (Leprechaun).

It was then decided to arrange a belated prize giving, albeit 35 years late, for the rediscovered prizes. This took place in accordance with COVID 19 protocol on Thursday 25th June.

Prizes were presented by the owner of the garage in question, former Dragon ace Michael Cotter.

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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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