We're well into the 2013 racing season. The Royal Vancouver YC has held three Dragon Regattas so far with one more at the end of June. Ken Reid and the crew of Eagle, CAN122 have been the Dragon to beat for a while now in Vancouver and, in a tight contest in April, Charles Holder and crew on Black Magic, CAN132 tied with Ken on points, but took first place under the regatta rules. Things were back to normal in May and June with Eagle back on top. The Vancouver Fleet has a number of new sailors from the J24 Fleet who are starting to appear in the top three, now that they have figured out all the strings and things on a Dragon. There are regularly up to 8 Dragons racing these days and once we get one or two more onto the dry dock we could see double digits! Should be interesting. The Fleet does not normally race in July and August (light winds and vacations), but they decided to add an extra Regatta in August.
Back in the middle of the continent, we have just finished Cleveland Race Week with 6 Dragons on the line, including visitors from Canada. Racers had one light air day and one good Dragon day and the kudos go to Joe Pease and crew on USA297, The Schmucks. Joe did have a ringer on board (those who know the Cleveland Fleet can guess who). The Cleveland Fleet have been doing a good job of promoting Dragon sailing by taking interested sailors out early in the mornings (6am). There are a couple of Dragons available in the Cleveland area and this might be what we need to get them out on the water.
New Racing Rules for 2013
As usual, after an Olympic year the International Sailing Federation issues a new set of rules for racing. While there are a lot of small changes, mainly for clarity, the most significant change is in the definition of Mark Room. The objective of the definition Mark Room, together with Rule 18, is to enable orderly, fair and damage-free mark rounding. Here's the new definition:
Room for a boat to leave a mark on the required side. Also,
(a) room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it, and
(b) room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.
However, mark-room for a boat does not include room to tack unless she is overlapped inside and to windward of the boat required to give mark-room and she would be fetching the mark after her tack.
Links to articles on the new rules can be found on the Sailing page of the NA Dragons website. There are also links to articles on tuning and racing as well as a link to download a pdf of the new Racing Rules of Sailing. And there are a couple of copies of the RRS still available for purchase (they're waterproof, which is handy on a Dragon).
We had an email from the Barbados Tourism Authority proposing that we consider holding a Dragon Worlds there as a North American venue. While it's an appealing location for sailing, attendance, as always, will depend on the cost of shipping Dragons there. It has the advantage of getting North America back onto the rotation, but the disadvantage of not helping local fleet development. We will keep this under discussion; it's still early days.
Meanwhile I'm looking for a Fleet (and associated Club) to step up and offer to host an invitational Dragon Regatta. We could combine it will a racing clinic on one day, followed by a regatta giving everyone a chance to sail by rotating teams through boats (like we do with the Pacific Interport). Two possible venues are Vancouver and Cleveland/Toronto, which are both places where we have enough boats in the area to make this work. Let's decide to do it, choose where and when, then we'll work to make it happen!
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