Burnham Dragon Fleet 2008 Report 28 Nov 2008
The highlight of this year or for that matter any year that I can remember must be the results of the Dragon Gold Cup held in Cascais, Portugal, where the top three places were taken by Royal Corinthian members. I am cheating a little including Gavia Wilkinson-Cox with her second place from the Cowes branch. Paul Hoj-Jenson with “Noddy” Andrew Norton crewing won, perhaps not such an unusual event, but with such a large number in the fleet and many with Olympic medals or with professionals on board it was still a great performance, this makes the third place achieved by Robert Campbell, completing with a 100% amateur crew of Jonathan Hill & Matt Walker in Quicksilver III all the more outstanding. Further reports are available on this site from Noddy & Jonathan.
Back on the river, with Easter so early, 15 boats, included two visitors, should be applauded as a very good turnout, but the fleet suffered from some pretty appalling weather. One race was actually sailed in a blizzard from start to finish; therefore it was quite an achievement to complete 5 of the 6 scheduled races. The winner Quicksilver III was Robert Campbell helming with Matt Walker and Homfray Vines crewing, Spindrift Garry Harrison, Tom Harrison & Simon Cash were runners up.
The season points were spread evenly among the fleet partly due to the travellers allowing others a chance of winning. The winners were Spring Saturday Points went to Quicksilver III; Spring Sunday Points, Hand Of Fortune, Mike Holmes, Alex Burnett & Paul Springett ; Karl Marx (May Bank Holiday weekend) Flame Again David Hall; Nada Trophy (Spring Bank Holiday weekend) Hat Trick Martyn Fogg; Saturday Seasons points again, Hat Trick Martyn Fogg and the Sunday Seasons points Quicksilver III Robert Campbell. Robert went on to win the Carlton Platter for races sailed in September. Scorpio Ian Gray, Keith Gray and Rene Nel won the Petticrow Trophy for October races. He also won the Candle Sticks Trophies which is for Sundays during October and November when they were joined by Nigel Cole in Keith’s absence while he was recovering from surgery, and Lastly Avalanche Mark and Mandy Wade with John Davies won the Newts Trophy for Saturdays racing during October and November.
The fleet held 4 Mini Series days, i.e. 4 back to back races sailed on one day of 45 minutes each competed on windward leeward courses. These were hotly contested as ever and resulted in some exciting racing. Quicksilver III was the eventual the overall winner of the series, but she certainly did not have it all her own way. Many thanks have to go to Edwin Buckley and his team, who lends his boat and acts as race officer. I think the fleet would like this type of racing every weekend if it was feasible!
5 Box leagues were also contested for during the year, mini leagues sailed over two weekends, i.e. 4 races, with many cases of wine distributed to the winners, you can understand why these events go down well with the fleet!
Burnham week provided us for the first time during the year with some consistent good weather and the weekends were well contested, if the numbers did drift away during the week. The first Bank Holiday weekend trophy was won by Danish Blue Poul Hoj-Jensen, The mid-week points and the weeks points Ganador Martin Makey, and with the last Saturday race for the Daily Telegraph trophy, won by Hand of Fortune.
Here I would like to welcome a new boat to the class Page Boy recently purchased by Clive & Graham Page. I wish them all the best with the new boat and hope that they enjoy their sailing on the river.
On the social scene the most important event in our calendar, the Dragon Class dinner was held on the 22 November. 90 sat down to dinner and representatives from the first three boats at the Gold Cup honoured us with their presence, Noddy showed off the Gold Cup Trophy, Gavia Wilkinson-Cox the Nations Trophy (the trophy for the best performing nation at the Gold Cup)and Robert Campbell, Jonathan Hill and Matt Walker all stood up to take our applaud . Teresa Wade and Tim Wilks (Valanga) last year’s winner of the Clanger Trophy reflected on past winners of the trophy and the faux pas they had made to win the clanger bell, before finally presenting it to Tim Tavinor for a number of exploits during the year not least falling out of his boat at the East Coast Championships.
Mixing racing with pleasure we held a very successful pub race, a conventional race but instead of finishing at the club, Edwin Buckley finished us in Paglesham Reach. Then dropping anchors we were ferried ashore to have lunch in the Plough & Sail and enjoyed very good food with excellent company.
The summer party was held this year at the Tavinor’s house on the outside of Burnham. We could not have been luckier with weather proving to be possible the only real barmy night of the year as we sat outside in shirtsleves enjoying the Hog roast and dancing to country music with a caller. I have to mentioned Woody’s superb mixing of the Pimms with an Amateurs Jug, the Burnham fleet Jug and the Professionals Jug. No wonder Robert fell of his push bike on the way home!
Team Racing. A convenient date between Hamburg and Burnham could not be found and the event was postponed to next year. But on the 30th May a group of 15 sailors flew out to Moscow for the weekend for our match against the Pirogovo Yacht Club. It proved to be a great weekend with our hosts entertaining us in magnificent style; the only real disappointment was that they beat us on the water, despite us having Poul Hoj-Jensen in the team.
The number of the fleet travelling this year has been as great as ever, which is disappointing for domestic numbers, but these opportunities are one of the reasons we sail Dragons. I have already mentioned the Gold Cup. Next to mention is 5 boats went to Douarnenez, France at the beginning of May. Out of the 82 boats Biff Tim Tavinor, Nicola & Thomas Wilton came 14th with Hand of Fortune 19th. Spring Bank Holiday saw 5 boats go to Lowestoft for the East Coast Championship, unfortunately due to the weather it was a complete disaster only two races sailed not enough to make a championship! A month later 11, yes 11! Burnham boats attended the La Baule, again in France. Danish Blue Poul Hoj-Jensen winning, with Avalanche Mark and Mandy Wade finishing 10th. Back in the UK it was down to Plymouth in Early July for the South coast Championships and the Edinburgh Cup (The Nationals). The first event was held over a long weekend with three Burnham boats making the line. Quicksilver III put in a sterling performance to win in testing condition, the boat being crewed by Robert Campbell, Matt Walker and Marc Ellis. On to the Edinburgh Cup and the fleet being joined by two more Burnham boats, unfortunately for Robert he was unable to repeat the performance Hand of Fortune was 7th followed by Biff in 8th the best positioned Burnham boats. Come August and it was the Belgium Nationals in Ostend 4 Burnham boats attended the top placed Burnham boat was Spindrift Garry Harrison who finished a very creditable 3rd. I am also aware that David Hall attended the Int. Italian Dragon’s Cup in Sanremo, Robert Campbell the European Championship in Oslo, but not in his own boat and Tim Tavinor the Dutch Nationals in Medembik. Garry Harrison to Cazaux in France for the Drag’s Cup. If I have missed others who have adventured outside the river I apologise.
Considering the appalling weather this season and a couple of members suffering with long term injuries the Dragon fleet have still been turning out in numbers, for which I thank everyone. Next year we have the East Coast Championship to look forward to on the river as well as the traditional Easter Open Meeting, let’s hope these events are blessed with better weather than we have had this year!