2011 Dragon Annual Report 12 Nov 2011
2011 started on the right foot when, in January, RCYC member Tim Tavinor returned
triumphant from the Dragon World Championship held in Melbourne, Australia. Rob
Campbell, Matt Walker and Martin Makey also made the trip ‘downunder’ sailing Quicksilver
IV representing the UK and the RCYC, but it was Lawrie Smith helming Alfie crewed by Tim
Tavinor and Ossie Stewart who finally won the championship with an exciting last race. The
fleet, keen to hear the details and see the trophy in the real, congregated at the club to
welcome back the champion with a champagne toast. This set the scene for the season
The interest in the fleet continues to grow with several new comers now racing Dragons
regularly. The rigging brunch morning, when the fleet helped each other rig boats (after a full
English breakfast), boat set up and training sessions run by Tim Tavinor, try a Dragon and
crew training days with the help of experienced Dragon crews and helms, have all boosted
the enthusiasm within the fleet.
The first big event for the Dragons was the four day Easter Regatta with entries welcomed
from the Medway, Solent and Abersoch fleets. Seventeen Dragons competed for the beautiful
cut glass Easter bowl in near perfect sailing conditions (sunshine and shorts). With a
combination of windward/leeward and ‘round the can’ races and the full social programme
laid on by the club, the event was deemed a resounding success. The winner was Avalanche
Mark and Mandy Wade with Andrew ‘Noddy’ Norden. The relatively new Abersoch fleet, who
had ventured from Wales for some early season practice, felt they had tacked the boat more
in one weekend than they had the whole of the previous season!
It is not often that Burnham is considered to be ‘on the way’ to anywhere but in early May we
welcomed a team of Dragon sailors from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club who stopped off
on their way to an event on the South Coast. The six sailors were competing in an Interport
event at Cowes and wanted to visit the land of the Petticrows Dragon, the Royal Corinthian
Yacht Club and experience racing with the fleet on the Crouch. As the fleet headed upriver in
windy conditions towards Cliff we assured them that the short tacking practice would be
The next major event hosted by the Burnham Dragons at the RCYC was the British Dragon
Association East Coast Championship held at the end of May. The International and National
representation continued as we welcomed entries from Austrailia and Denmark; Medway,
Solent and Aldeburgh. After three days of close competitive racing, the defending 2010
champion won the event, Jorgen Schonherr from Denmark crewed by Tim Tavinor and Kate
Cole. The club was once again commended by the entrants for the excellent racing run by
Kim Allen, Edwin Buckley and the race team, the hospitality of the membership and enjoyable
shore side entertainment.
Mini series events of four races in a day in spring and autumn have continued to test and
improve the boat handling skills of the Dragon teams with the exciting 45 minute
windward/leeward courses. A very big thank you to the race committee ‘Team Phoebe’ who
have run excellent racing in the testing tides of the River Crouch and Roach, in wind and
calm, rain and sunshine.
Four teams represented the RCYC at the Northern Championship and Edinburgh Cup
(Dragon National Championship), in July this year at Abersoch, North Wales and had the
pleasure of racing in a beautiful bay with a superb backdrop and a view of Mount Snowdon
(no short tacking there!). The top RCYC boats at the championships were Hands Off Mike
Holmes, Alex Burnett and Matt Young who were 3rd at the Northerns and 1st Corinthian (nonprofessional)
and Ganador, helmed by Rob Campbell with Matt Walker and John Torrence
was the highest placed Burnham boat in the Edinburgh cup.
For the annual pub race this year we raced to Paglesham and were fortunate that a very
friendly member of the Roach Sailing Association met us at the moorings and ferried us
ashore to take the short walk to the Plough and Sail for lunch. Some sailed and others drove
to enjoy a glorious afternoon in the pub garden. And…as expected, the Dragons raced home
to drinks on the balcony of the RCYC in time to watch the sunset.
Every year the Dragons host a summer party, it’s the time to meet, greet, socialise and eat! It’s
also the day of the annual crew’s races and the Pat Burnett Memorial Trophy so the winner,
Matt Walker, helming Beauty and the Beast, was presented with the trophy after the hog
roast and BBQ supper held in the garden of the Tavinors home. The evening’s entertainment
was provided by Emma Tavinor and her band of friends from the Royal Marines who played a
selection of music not normally heard on the parade ground!
Eight Dragons competed in Burnham week for the Bank Holiday Weekend, Mid-week points
and Telegraph Cup trophies with some excellent spinnaker starts from the committee boat at
Pile House, while five members of the fleet travelled to Ostend to represent the RCYC at the
Belgian Championship and Gold Cup. As the travellers enjoyed the hospitality of the
Belgians, the Burnham contingent dined on, Belgian style’ Moules and Steak for Dragon
Burnham Week supper. Avalanche, the Wades and ‘Noddy’/Simon Howard and PageBoy
X Clive, Graeme and Rory Page, were trophy winners in Burnham and Tigger helmed by
Tim Tavinor crewed by Thomas Wilton and Pedro Andrade won the Belgian Championship
and had a credible 9th in the Gold Cup.
Writing this report as the autumn racing draws to an end, we are pleased to say that the
Dragon fleet has sailed every sailable weekend at the club. Our thanks go to the fleet for the
support this year, all those behind the scenes, the race committee and race box, club staff and
committee members who contribute to the running of the club so we can carry on doing what
we all enjoy. We are currently planning winter social activities and an action packed
programme for the season in 2012.
Whenever there is racing, Dragons are sure to turn up