New faces in the Dragons

Fiona Brown previews the Dragon's East Coast Dragon Championship

Saturday May 19th 2007, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: United Kingdom
The 2007 East Coast Dragon Championship will take place at the Medway Yacht Club, Kent, over the Whitsun bank holiday weekend from 26-28 May. This annual event is a firmly established highlight on the British Dragon calendar and some 35 teams are expected to take part in the three day, five race regatta.

The competition is set to be extremely tough with an entry list that includes defending East Coast Champion and British Dragon Association Chairman Rob Campbell; Chris Dicker, who has won the East Coast Championship on no less than four previous occasions; Patrick Gifford, East Coast Champion 1990, Len Jones, winner of the Dragon Class at Skandia Cowes Week 2006; former British Olympic Star and Finn representative Tim Tavinor, of Essex based Dragon builder Petticrows; and Dragon sailing legend Martin 'Stavros' Payne, another four time winner of this event.

Alongside the established names will be a number of new faces such as Melges 24 British and French National Champion Quentin Strauss, who took delivery of his new Petticrows Dragon in early May, and Richard Jones, a successful Flying Fifteen campaigner who has also just taken delivery of a new boat. Further proof that the Dragon Class is appealing to a new generation of sailors is the entry from 21 year old Jonno Ratnage, who grew up crewing Dragons on the East Coast and will be helming in his first major Dragon event.

This is the second time that Medway Yacht Club, located just 90 minutes from central London on a pretty stretch of Kent's River Medway at Lower Upnor, has hosted the Dragon East Coast Championship. Alongside an excellent racing programme the club is also hosting social events each evening, including a formal Championship Dinner on Sunday 27 May.

Racing will be run by Principle Race Officer Dr Robin Ridsdill Smith, one of the Medway's most experienced race officers, who is himself a very successful local Dragon sailor. Two races are schedule each day on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May starting at 11.00am with the fifth race starting at 10.30am on Monday 28 May. The event is supported by Aberdeen Asset Management, Craftinsure, Gaybank Construction Ltd, Marina Developments Ltd, Petticrows and Pirates Cave Ltd.

Following the East Coast Championship the fleet will move up the coast to Lowestoft in Suffolk where the next British Dragon event takes place over the weekend of 2 and 3 June 2007 at the Royal Northern & Southern Yacht Club. Two races per day are planned with the first start scheduled for 1040 on Saturday morning.

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