Fierce competition for the Dragons in Burnham, but it was Quicksilver III that took the honours 21/4/06
The Dragon Eastern Championships 2006, hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, quickly became a two way fight for first place that was only resolved in the last race of the Easter weekend event.
Established Dragon sailor, Rob Campbell, crewed by Matt Walker and Jonathon Hill, was in a constant dog fight with Mark Wade crewed by his wife Mandy and John Davies. With the event also a qualifier for the World Championships in Ireland 2007, competition amongst all 21 competitors, including entrants from Belgium and Finland, was just as fierce.
Conditions for the first two days forced sailors to short-tack along the shores of the river Crouch in light airs. Subsequently, there was little room for error and those who did go aground wasted no time in getting wet by pushing two tonnes of boat off the Burnham mud, including renowned yachtsman, Nigel Musto!
On the second day a heavy fog had set in over Burnham reflecting the mood of sailors who were equally bleary eyed after a night of drinking and dancing. When sailing did commence, the race committee set perfect courses in light and fickle conditions.
Campbell and his team sailing Quicksilver III won the first race of the day race but counting a fifth in the next had given Wade an overnight lead. The pair quickly established a lead over the chasing pack including Tim Tavinor, crewed by Paul Manning and Olympic Silver Medallist, Keith Musto. Chris Brittain crewed by Gillian Hamilton and Andrew Norden were also in the mix and the two boats would ultimately fight it out for third.
On day three, Stuart Colthart and his family from the Medway proved that local knowledge was no advantage by winning the fourth race. In the fifth race Quicksilver III made an early escape from the pack and led from start to finish, leaving the rest of the fleet fighting for clean air and winning by some distance.
Quicksilver III subsequently exchanged places overnight with Avalanche but only with the narrowest of margins. On the last day Wade needed a top two finish as well as ensure that Campbell and his team finished the last race outside the top three. As the two teams tacked on each others every move, Wade could do no better than third and despite a protest and subsequent disqualification; Campbell, Hill and Walker were crowned winners of the Eastern Dragon Championships and took an extra step to qualification for Ireland 2007.
In the battle for third, Brittain’s win in the last race confirmed third place leaving Tavinor and team in fourth place.