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Don Street Celebrates 90th Birthday with Stylish International Dragon Racing in Glandore

29th July 2020
Telling it like it is: Glandore greetings for 90-year-old Don Street on Saturday as he apparently sails vintage Dragon Gypsy single-handed……….. Telling it like it is: Glandore greetings for 90-year-old Don Street on Saturday as he apparently sails vintage Dragon Gypsy single-handed………..

Much of the rest of the sailing world may be whirling in coronavirus confusion, but in serene and elegant Glandore in West Cork. the strong local division of classic and modern International Dragons went smoothly into their 14-race Dragon Derby at the weekend. And last Saturday’s racing had a very special flavour, as it marked the 90th birthday of international super-sailor Don Street, who must have done more sailing his time in a greater variety of boats – inshore, offshore and oceanic – than possibly all of his fellow-members of Glandore Harbour Yacht Club combined.

a youthful crew appears from  below decks……but as start time approaches, a youthful crew appears from below decks

Don’s classic Dragon Gypsy – IRL 15 – is of much the same vintage as himself, and is undoubtedly the oldest actively raced Dragon in Ireland, one of a very elite group of seniors worldwide - as is her owner-skipper. It says much for the profound qualities of the 91-year-old Dragon design that Don Street and his colleagues in Glandore should put so much enthusiasm in keeping this very special division of the class actively alive. Happy birthday, Don……

Glandore Dragons closing in on the markGlandore Dragons closing in on the mark

A very special birthday party in Glandore – at 90, Don Street (second left) enjoys his post-race parties as much as ever.A very special birthday party in Glandore – at 90, Don Street (second left) enjoys his post-race parties as much as ever.

Published in Dragon, Historic Boats
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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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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