Guile and cunning rather than micro-chip enhancements 05/8/07

Skandia Cowes Week is a wonderful show case for the diverse sport of yachting and the sleek, elegant Dragon is most definitely at one end of the spectrum of yachts racing in the Solent this week .

International Dragons are not strictly one design,although the boats are virtually identical, the flexibility allows the modern glass fibre dragons to race alongside traditional wooden built boats.

A bilge pump is about the only electrical appliance alllowed on board, races are won and lost on guile and cunning rather than micro-chip enhancements.

Tim Blackwell, owner of Virago, is new to the class this year and racing Virago for the first time at Skandia Cowes Week;

“I have been racing in the XOD class for about six years and decided to get into a bigger keel boat, The Dragon is a classic keel boat with a strong class, both here in Cowes and all over Europe.

I have known several Dragon sailors for some time and the atmosphere amongst the crew is great. However yesterday was not a good day; we had a collision just before the start, we were then over the line and went aground at Calshott, a typical day at Cowes! If we could have some more breeze today it would be great, the Dragons really come to life in stronger wind speeds.”

The International Dragon is one of the most popular one design keel boats in the world, it was originally designed, in 1906, by Anker and Jensen. By 1948, it had become so successful that it was selected as an Olympic Class. There is no official record of the number of Dragons in existence but 267 International Dragons, from 30 different countries, crossed the start line in the Bay of St.Tropez in 2006, to mark the 75th anniversary regatta.

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