A total of 18 nations represented at forthcoming Dragon Europeans in Cowes 2/6/06

Hot on the heels of last week’s successful Edinburgh Cup the festival of Dragon sailing continues on the Solent with the Aberdeen Dragon European Championship.

The event will be hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron from Monday 5 to Friday 9 June and teams from 13 nations have qualified including representatives from Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Monaco, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine and of course Britain who will be racing for the prestigious Virginie Heriot Cup.

The depth of talent at this year’s event is impressive. Denmark’s double Olympic Gold medallist and 1989 Dragon World Champion Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen, fresh from his fourth Edinburgh Cup win last week, is keen to add a sixth European Dragon title to his haul. Fellow Danes Valdemar Bandolowski, also a double Olympic Gold medallist and 1987 Dragon World Champion, and Lars Hendriksen, who won the Europeans in 1990, are also strong contenders. Other overseas teams to watch include Sweden’s Tom Lofstedt, who won last year’s Dragon Jubilee Regatta in St Tropez, Germany’s Tommy Muller, Ireland’s Simon Brien, France’s Louis Urvois and Japan’s Bocci Aoyama.

Although relatively new to Dragon sailing the Russians have also put forward a strong team which includes Alexey Krylov who represented Russia in the Olympic 470 class, won the 2002 Snipe Worlds and came second in last week’s Edinburgh Cup.

Of the British Teams Len Jones, Rob Campbell, David Palmer, Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, Eric Williams and Julia Bailey will all be worth keeping and eye on.

There will be a reception and prizegiving on Friday evening when His Majesty King Constantine of the Hellenes, President of the International Dragon Association, will present the awards alongside Aberdeen Chief Executive Martin Gilbert.

In addition to the overall Aberdeen Dragon European Championship prizes this year sees the introduction of the Dubarry Team of the Day award with the winning team each walk away with a pair of Dubarry Ultima leather sailing boots.

Registration opens at Cowes Yacht Haven today and a practice race will take place on Sunday 4 June. The championship racing runs from Monday 5-9 June with seven races scheduled.