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Four Irish Dragons Attend Régates Royales in Cannes

18th September 2022
There has been a post-Covid, resurgence in the Dragon fleet in Ireland where numbers are on the increase in Kinsale, Glandore and Dun Laoghaire
There has been a post-Covid, resurgence in the Dragon fleet in Ireland where numbers are on the increase in Kinsale, Glandore and Dun Laoghaire and now four of the Irish fleet are competing in Cannes Credit: Afloat

Martin Byrne’s well travelled Dragon - Jaguar Sailing Team from the Royal St. George Yacht Club will be joined by another three IRL registered teams at this year’s Régates Royales in Cannes where racing commences on Monday next.

Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team which includes Adam Winkelmann and John Simms, have been the only representatives of the Irish Dragon Fleet in recent years on the International circuit of events.

But the recent, post-Covid, resurgence in the Dragon fleet at home where numbers are on the increase in Kinsale, Glandore and Dun Laoghaire sees other new teams travelling abroad for the first time in nearly four years.

Régates Royales is an iconic end-of-season event that is mostly dominated by the Classic Boats. But Dragons have always attended in big numbers there with fleets of over 100 in the past.

This year an international fleet of 35 Dragons from nine countries are joined by four boats registered in Ireland.

Byrne’s Jaguar Team are joined by Daniel Murphy from Kinsale in Fortitude together with Denis and Joey Bergin with Sir Ossis from Dún Laoghaire, and finally, Tarasque from Dún Laoghaire is entered with Mark and Selina Dicker.

Ten races are scheduled from Monday to Friday next on the Bay of Cannes in company with the Classic Fleet, which makes this such a unique and spectacular event.

Published in Dragon
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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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