Four races enough for Bradbury

Action at the Dragon South Coast Championship with a protest lesson for all

Wednesday July 4th 2007, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: United Kingdom
The International Dragon British Southern Area Championship, hosted by Yacht Clubs of Weymouth from Sunday 1st to Tuesday 3rd July, attracted 20 competitors from the UK and Ireland. Based in the old harbour at Weymouth the teams enjoyed three days of extremely close but challenging racing and three evenings of Weymouth's legendary hospitality.

The first two days of the regatta were exceptionally windy with wind speeds frequently approaching 30 knots and averaging in the mid twenties. The strong winds combined with big seas to make for difficult conditions, but despite this the competitors coped extremely well and racing was incredibly close. It was only on the last day that the wind abated and the final race got underway in around 11 knots, building to 20 knots by the finish. Race officer Derek Abbott and his team did their utmost to complete the full race programme, but sadly conditions were not on their side and ultimately they did extremely well to complete four of the six races scheduled, just enough to fulfil the championship requirements.

"It's been a tough regatta but it was a pleasure to both start and finish a race today and to finally be able to sail in perfect Weymouth conditions." joked Solent Dragon Fleet Captain Gavia Wilkinson-Cox after racing today. "It was also nice to finally have a decent finishing position [4th] and we hope to continue that in the Edinburgh Cup, which we're really looking forward to."

Despite the bad weather no one team dominated the competition with three different winners out of four races. David Palmer, sailing GBR700 Princess Jalina with Mark Pettitt and Kasper Harsberg, was the only double race winner taking races two and four. Race one went to Ivan Bradby, sailing GBR656 Elusive with Martin Payne and Will Willets, and race three was won by Neil Hegarty, sailing IRL176 Phantom with Peter Bowring and David Williams.

In fact there would have been four race winners and a different outcome to the entire regatta had it not been for a leeward mark incident in the second race between Neil Hegarty and Len Jones, sailing GBR708 Rumours with Jamie Lea and Philip Catmur. Jones went on to win the race but Hegarty, who had in fact been OCS (over the line) at the start and failed to return, felt that Jones had barged in and lodged a protest. The jury found in Hegarty's favour and Jones was disqualified. With only four races sailed and therefore no discard in the series this decision was crucial for Jones as with his other results of 3, 2 and 6 he would win the regatta overall if his first place score stood but finish sixth overall with the DSQ. Jones applied to the Jury to have the hearing reopened but the Jury refused permission and the decision stands leaving him sixth.

In this situation Hegarty, although called OCS, is still racing until disqualified by the committee - he can obviously protest to be re-instated if he wanted to. In a Black Flag start, where boats are immediately disqualified - usually with numbers shown at the windward mark- means that he would not have been racing in the eyes of the committee and so would not have been able to protest.

Overall therefore Ivan Bradbury was the most consistent performer in the regatta with a 1, 4, 6, 3 scoreline, and he and his crew Martin Payne and Will Willetts become the 2007 International Dragon British Southern Area Champions. Second place went to David Palmer and Eric Williams, sailing GBR682 Ecstatic with Duncan Grindley and Rory Paton, came third.

This series has provided an excellent warm up opportunity for the forthcoming Edinburgh Cup (the International Dragon British National Championship) which opens on Wednesday, runs until Saturday and is also hosted by Yacht Clubs of Weymouth.


1. GBR656 Ivan Bradbury 1, 4, 6, 3 - 14 points
2. GBR700 David Palmer 4, 1, 11, 1 - 17 points
3. GBR682 Eric Williams 2, 3, 3, 14 - 22 points
4. GBR729 Tim Tavinor 8, 2, 7, 7 - 24 points
5. IRL176 Neil Hegarty 5, 21, 1, 2 - 29 points
6. GBR708 Len Jones 3, 21, 2, 6 - 32 points
7. GBR653 Owen Pay 9, 5, 9, 10 - 33 points
8. GBR684 Michael Holmes 6, 6, 21, 5 - 38 points
9. GBR586 Ian Gray 11, 11, 10, 8 - 40 points
10. GBR723 Quentin Strauss 21, 8, 4, 9 - 42 points

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