At the midpoint of our Jubilee year 2019 it is timely to recap some of our important activities.
The IDA has been focused on three important topics:
1. Improvement of race management following the wishes of many owners at the GC 2018 in Helsinki
2. Organisation of a new format for the European Grand Prix circuit – culminating in a Grand final and newly presented trophies for overall and Corinthian sailors
3. The overwhelming wish of Dragon sailors to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Dragon
2019 is a significant year in the history of the Dragon as we try to adjust our very traditional and even conservative class to the challenges of modern times without sacrificing the principles and ethos of this historic yacht. I am sure that the results of our diligence will be evaluated at the 2019 Owners’ meeting which this year will be held not at the Gold Cup but in Sanremo where we’ll see the biggest number of owners since 2004 coming together.
Let me briefly review why I think we are on track.
1. The initiative of race management improvement (RMI) has been planned according to the maxim “race at the best venues, at the best time of the year, and under the best possible conditions“. I want to record that last year in Helsinki many owners made commitments to donate more than €20,000 to pay for RMI. Many of those who made commitments have already made their contributions and the IDA wishes to thank them for their generosity. If anyone has not yet done so they may still make a contribution by contacting our General Secretary.
Last year the IDA made a short list of the most experienced PROs who would be invited to officiate at major events, but because of the short time available, in the case of the Grand-Prix of Cannes and Juan Carlos Trophy local race managers were used. Both PROs have huge experience of their extremely tricky local conditions which were very challenging at both venues but generally the sailors were satisfied with the quality. Yet, there is always room for improvement, and we are striving towards this.
2. Both Cannes and Cascais attracted good numbers of sailors, not least because both competitions will be counted in the overall score for participation at the European Cup Grand finals in Palma (I remind that you need to participate in at least three events to qualify for selection for the finals. And the fourth Grade 1 in Palma will be obligatory. So for those who did till now only one regatta from the series I highly recommend you to participate at the third leg in Kuhlungsborn. I believe that the sports value of the new formula is very high and really look forward to November in Mallorca.
These Grade 1 events are also a part of activities devoted to the 90 years festivities. The IDA has used these activities to actively promote the Dragon. A very professional team of video makers from ICARUS, the excellent IDA photographer Elena Razina under leadership of a very well-known and experienced journalist Fiona Brown, have done a superb job in flying the Dragon flag outside of the class through a wide range of television, internet and print media.
3. I believe that these media activities have been crucial in promoting the central event of this year – 90 years anniversary regatta in Sanremo. It is important to note that the IDA only secured a venue and partner OA for the 90th regatta late last year. The helping hand was given to us from YC Sanremo. With less than a year to plan the regatta, we now have 130 entries, and still four months to go until the start of the regatta! I am delighted to see in the entry list that there is great unity of the Dragon sailors representing 24 nations and 4 continents! If you have not entered yet – do so now! It will be the most spectacular Dragon festival (after the legendary and unforgettable 75th Anniversary in Saint-Tropez 2004).
The short time for preparation made it difficult to find a general sponsor for this event, and so we have been relying to a large extent on the generous voluntary help of patrons in three categories silver, gold and platinum. The names list of those who agree to go public will shortly be published. You will definitely recognise these names: they are all sailors from the fleet with a great love of our Dragon and respect for their sailing friends. Everyone can still join them. They will not get any privileges for their generosity, just some mementoes from the class. The IDA on behalf of all Dragon sailors is very thankful to those who have already supported the promotion of the class and have donated money for an outstanding event. And some companies whose owners enjoy sailing Dragons have also committed some monetary and material help for Sanremo.
Our target is to have about 150-160 Dragons in that “city of flowers” ( and strong sailing traditions). So for those who still are in the decision-making process, I ask you to react to this ‘final call’. The gate might close…
And last, but not least, an important point. In just a few days the Gold Cup in Medemblik with more than 100 entries will start. The Organising team from Holland have done their utmost to arrange and carry out an outstanding event in this Jubilee year. We wish them great success!
So, my dear fellow sailors, the Dragon is stronger than before and I hope that the positive energy developed this year in the class will last for a long time and attract many newcomers, as happened after the 75th anniversary event 15 years ago. At that time I for example was one of those newcomers ……
With best regards and wishes of good luck,