Dragon World Championships 17 Sep 2013
The Gazprom 2013 International Dragon World Championships were held in Weymouth with six days of racing concluding on Friday 13th September. Seventy-seven boats took to the start line under the direction of Tim Hancock who had previously been a Race Officer for the 2012 Olympic sailing.
The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club was particularly well represented with entrants – some helming, some crewing for unfamiliar helms and some having the unenviable task of running the event such as Martin Makey, current British Dragon Association Chairman, Tim Wilkes, the BDA Secretary and Mary Makey, working on the event organisation for the last couple of years!
Defending world Champion Lawrie Smith’s crew included Tim Tavinor for the first race but he was replaced thereafter having injured a hand. Mark and Mandy Wade had BDA roles as well as competing with crew Simon Cash on the water. Rob Campbell was crewed by Matt Walker and Justin Waples, Poul Hoj Jensen had Andrew Norden while crewing for ‘non Burnham’ helms were Simon Howard, Teresa Wilkes, Geoff Butcher, Katie Cole, Katie Barr and Rene Nel.
Hoj Jensen established an early championship lead winning Race One, leading from start to finish, a feat he repeated in Race Three and a 5th place finish in Race Two. The conditions on the water were challenging both for the Race Officer and the competitors with shifty winds and tidal flows that were tricky to read and made the start lines and courses difficult to set – the black flag at the preparatory signal was a common sight.
As the week progressed Hoj Jensen’s results faltered and in the highly competitive fleet just two boats showed a level of consistency to be unmatched by the fleet right up to the final race showdown. Mark Wade highlighted with a 10th place in the last race helping him finish one place ahead of Rob Campbell in the overall standings. Another result of note was a last race win for Katie Barr sailing with Mark Dicker holding off 2007 World Champion Tommy Muller from Germany in second place and a reinvigorated twice Dragon World Champion Hoj Jensen in third. Any result in the top twenty in this fleet was an achievement.
British boat Fever (Klaus Diederichs) saw off the challenge from Russian boat Strange Little Girl (Andrey Kirilyuk) to take the 2013 title. Further down the order in 8th place was Hoj Jensen who picked up the stunning David Atkinson Memorial Trophy for the highest placed Corinthian entrant.
RCYC Patron, Princess Anne, dropped in by helicopter to watch the racing for an afternoon and was accompanied on a spectator yacht by Martin Makey and Tim Tavinor whose hand had now been repaired by a plastic surgeon.
A highly successful World Championship owed a significant amount to RCYC members on the BDA team and they should be proud of delivering one of the most competitive World Championships with the highest number of entrants for several editions.