Dragon Easter Bank Holiday Weekend 18 Apr 2003
Although the Dragon Fleet has been slowly building its strength with various practice races, the aim is to be ready for the first major race event of the season, the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. This year’s event attracted a record entry of thirty-three boats…
Thirty-three Dragons, including three overseas crews, assembled at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club on Good Friday to take part in the Burnham Dragon Fleet’s Easter Regatta. The weather, which the previous week had been forecast to be light and sunny, had blown up, ensuring that the closed season’s cobwebs were very firmly blown away
in the morning’s Practice Race.
Race One was an entertaining affair with the fleet enjoying
round-the-cans racing in the strong east-north-easterly at the mouth of the Roach.
Richard Jordan’s Chaotic made the best of the breezy conditions to open his account with a win,
trailed by Rob Campbell’s Quicksilver II and Mike Holmes in Hand of Fortune.
Saturday dawned to much stronger winds and with the breeze averaging over thirty knots, and gusting to forty,
Principal Race Officer and RCYC Commodore Edwin Buckley, mindful of the retirements and breakages
from the previous day’s racing, abandoned the racing for the day. Perhaps inevitably this caused a few casualties
at the bar, but helped trade at local chandleries.
The wind had eased sufficiently on Easter Sunday to allow
Edwin to set three windward-leeward courses, again near the mouth of the Roach.
However, the breeze was still sufficiently strong to make the racing both exciting and challenging enough
for both ends of the fleet’s ability spectrum. Despite several crew testing their life jackets,
only their pride was hurt. Overseas visitor Frank Van Beuningen in Hestia, having retired from the first race
with a broken mast, proved that his new Petticrows mast was indeed quick, with a win in Race Two,
whilst the Burnham Dragon Fleet’s latest member, Mark Wade’s Avalanche, had the edge over the ‘old guard’ in Race Three.
Race Four was won by Ian Ratnage’s scrapping for a place on Water Rat, followed by Len Jones’s Rumours,
and Richard Jordan’s Chaotic, who had been consistently third for all of the day’s racing,
and had thus wrapped up the series before the last day.
The Bank Holiday Monday morning dawned
to a much less demanding forecast, with sunshine and a predicted east-south-easterly leading the committee boat
to shepherd the fleet upriver in search of a true beat for the first leg of the course.
However, with the wind settling more southerly than was predicted, the fleet was forced to sail back downriver
to the now familiar area at the mouth of the Roach. The short line and tide sweeping the fleet towards
the committee boat inevitably caused a small raft-up at the starboard end of the line.
However, Owen Pay’s Njord, Nigel Cole’s Tsunami, Mark Wade in Avalanche, and Rob Campbell in Quicksilver II,
all podium, were able to keep clear of the trouble to lead the fleet up the first beat.
After a controversial windward mark rounding, and a closely fought run to the leeward gate
of the windward-leeward course, Tsunami managed to take control up the second beat to take eventual line honours.
Many thanks must go to the Easter Regatta’s main sponsors: Bolle, Petticrows, Musto, Casio,
Rice & Coles, Mailspeed, Cadburys and Suzuki.
G R Jordan
|7||684||Hand of Fortune
Tony Allen & Mike Holmes
Gerome Van Collie
Frank van Beuningen
Chris Britain & Gillian Hamilton
Hugh Howard & Sue Shapiro
Clive Morgan & John Holt
|24||639||Vol de Nuit
Nick Hyde & David Andrassy
Mottram Rankin & Ted Watson