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Royal St George's 'Jaguar' Dragon Crew Lying Fourth at Marblehead Trophy

12th November 2021
Jaguar Dragon Sailing Team skipper Martin Byrne is lying in fourth place overall at the Marblehead Trophy in Portugal
Jaguar Dragon Sailing Team skipper Martin Byrne is lying in fourth place overall at the Marblehead Trophy in Portugal

After two days of racing at the Dragon Marblehead Trophy in Vilamoura, Portugal Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team lie in fourth place overall.

The Royal St George sailor is crewed by Adam Winkelmann and John Simms.

A 7th & 4th on day 1 was followed up by a second place in the only race today in light breezes.

There was some drama ashore yesterday after five competitors were called OCS at the start by the Race Officer and subsequently, three skippers challenged his judgement with protests for redress. Pedro Andrade from Portugal (often a crew on Byrne’s Jaguar Team) was the only one to win his case and was subsequently reinstated in first place today to lie second overall.

Royal St George's Jaguar (blue spinnaker on left) races downwind at the Marblehead Trophy

Byrne’s result today keeps his Irish team in touch with the leaders in fourth overall with two days of racing remaining.

“We have been conservative in our approach to date but we are very happy to be, in touch with, or ahead of the elite teams on the international Dragon circuit this season all of whom have way more race time than we have had in 2021”, he told Afloat.

The small but very competitive fleet is led by former European Champion Jens Christensen from Denmark who launched a brand new Dragon for this event. He is followed by the holder of the Marblehead Trophy and current European Champion Pedro Andrade from Portugal. While the recent Gold Cup winner and Vendee Globe competitor Pieter Heerema from the Netherlands is third.

Five more races are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Results are here

Published in Dragon, RStGYC
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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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