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Leading Sailing Historian Hal Sisk Among Those Lauding Classic International Dragon in New Video

7th January 2022
Hal Risk in the Dragon documentary Setting Hearts on Fire
Hal Risk in the Dragon documentary Setting Hearts on Fire Credit: Tom Nitsch Images

The International Dragon One Design has been an important of Irish sailing since the 1930s, writes W M Nixon.

This classic boat’s good looks and excellent performance continues to provide rewarding racing for sailors of all ages worldwide.

Indeed, a recently released film, titled Setting Hearts on Fire, captures the flavour of these specie craft.

And though it costs €100 to access the complete package, this free video trailer — including an input from leading Irish and international yachting historian Hal Sisk of Dun Laoghaire — makes for evocative viewing of a great boat.

Published in Dragon
WM Nixon

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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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