High class

This year, the Dragon class is 90. The story of the amazing “dragon” of history dedicated to material that was published in the September issue of magazine Yacht Russia.

© Elena Razina

The history of the Dragon class began in 1928, when the owner of a small shipyard and already famous designer Johan Anker decided to take part in the competition of the Gothenburg Royal yacht club. The contest was required to submit the draft budget of the “youth” of the boat that would be comfortable to walk in the skerries and the fjords

Text Anton Shibaeva and Arthur Grokhovsky, with assistance from Fiona brown

Keel yacht with Bermuda weapons, presented by the Norwegian designer, was surprisingly graceful. Long fore and aft overhangs made it elegant and at the same time rapid. In a small cabin had two berths, without special comfort, but still allowed to indulge in Autonomous navigation. This project has been so successful that it became the winner of the competition. The first boat was built in 1929 at the shipyard Anker & Jensen.

The total length of the “Dragon” for the project was $ 8.9 m, but on the waterline all of 5.65 m, width 1.95 m, draft 1.2 m, cast iron ballast keel weighed 1000 kg. Originally the boats were small cabins, but they are “cabin” turned into a simple cabin shelter. First boat had a sail area of 20 m2, and spinnakers were not allowed until 1938, but since then the total area of the mainsail and Genoa has increased to nearly 28 m2. The mast at that time were made of wood, had one a couple of long graspic. In 1945, the mast was changed, there was upper pair of graspic and rombo guys.

About how the boat got its name “Dragon”, I bet to this day. Of the many versions of the most trusted two. The first is that Johan Anker gave the boat this name in honor of the Viking ships, the famous drukarov that ancient navigators were decorated with carved images of dragon heads. The second version claims that all the fault of the case. When the project entered the headquarters of the International Union of sailing (IYRU), which, as the headquarters of the current International sailing Federation (ISAF), was in England, the name Anker English translated as anchor – “anchor”, and in reverse translation into Norwegian “anchor” someone was recorded as a draggen. And then those English “corrected” draggen, turning it into a dragon. Thus, the name of the boat, and then the whole class yachts.

The ascent to the top

It so happened that the clubs Clyde has searched for a suitable boat to replace the large and expensive classes. Despite the lack of interest on the part of the Association of racing yachts and objections of the “old guard” (say, “in good old England can’t be boats of foreign design and foreign production”), j. Howden Hume and George Paisley announced that they have already bought “Dragon” named “Anita”, which and showed at the shipyard of MacGregor in Klindera.

By 1933, the yacht Johan Anker became popular not only in Scandinavia but also in Europe. Including they appeared in UK waters, which is considered a trendsetter in all that concerns the sails. In that year Mr. ball, a member of the Royal Clyde YC, traveled to Scandinavia, where he saw the “Dragon” and was so impressed with them that he had received the drawings and brought them home.

The first six British Dragon was built the same Makhtaaral who took them for 220 ft. article the success of the class in Scotland was stunning and, by 1936, Clyde was already 14 “Dragons”. There was the first of a series of international races, and the conference of yacht clubs of the Clyde in 1937, established the Golden Cup “the Dragon” which to this day remains the most coveted international trophy. Then the Dragon was recognized as an international class.

“Dragon” won the hearts of the yachtsmen not only in appearance but also ease of management, fast. This was a born racer, therefore there is nothing surprising in the fact that in the end the boat got rid of the profession “skerry cruiser”. She was just doomed to participate in regattas, sharp wrestling and to become a monotype.

In 1946, V. M. Mackinlay, the Secretary of the conference of yacht clubs of the Clyde, visited Norway and learned from his son Johan Anker, Erik following. Before his death his father had insisted that in recognition of the fact that the British Navy did for Norway during the war, no British Builder “Dragons” do not have to pay design royalties.

Since 1947 shipyard for the construction of “Dragons” opened in France. In 1948, in a fair competition “Dragon” replaced the more costly 6-, 8 – and 12-Mitrovici with the Olympic waters, having received the status of Olympic class.

After 1948, “Dragon” has participated in six Olympic games, after which he was replaced by the Soling. Then many have decided that the popularity of the class instantly falls, and he gradually die. This did not happen, and now many yachtsmen believe that this class is generally better to be outside the focus of attention and fierce competition for those fighting for Olympic medals. Sailors-drakonita enough awards without them.

International Association “Dragons” (IDA) have always been vision and in 1957 was allowed to use synthetic sail cloth, and in 1971 the metal stringers. Meanwhile, Berg Borresen, winner of the Gold Cup 1967, in collaboration with Lloyds Register of shipping has developed a specification, which in 1972 was “legalized” and became the basis for the even more fateful decision – the construction of the “Dragons” made of fiberglass. The rules demanded that the boat was entirely built of plastic. However, it later became clear that many owners prefer the idea of easily maintained hull combined with attractive wooden deck and superstructure, and the rules have been amended accordingly. What has remained unchanged – the all-new “Dragons” to pass the test inclining test to prove that the construction was carried out in accordance with the specification. But what old wooden boats? Not all of them were scrapped in the scrap, many sailors continue to care and cherish, and sometimes win them the prestigious competition. Such is the power of beauty.

“Dragon” in the Soviet Union

The first “Dragons” appeared in the USSR in the early 1950-ies. The country was intended to enter the arena and defeat her. Of course, on the sail too. Therefore, attention to “Dragon” as one of the most popular classes of yachts, it was understandable.

Appearing in the Union, the boat caused real furor. Her perfect body, light trim by the stern, a little overwhelmed mast is delighted. Loved literally everything! A special appeal to sailors found even in the inscription of the Latin letter D on the grotto, which after the number of the ship was complemented by the letters SR (Soviet Russia).

Already in 1952, it established its own production of “Dragons” and after a few years the yachts of this class became the basis of the fleet of many yacht clubs. Over 20 years in the USSR were built more than 1000 “Dragons”, and they were all in demand. Even when the boat was finished “athletic” career, it’s not meant her sailing life ended. “Dragons” was altered to “cruiser”, and natural seaworthiness allows these yachts to successfully cope with their new role. And remember – Johan Anker conceived the “Dragon” it is like a skerry cruiser.

The class has evolved steadily and successfully until 1972, when “Dragon” was removed from the Olympic games. The construction of the “Dragons” in the USSR was immediately discontinued. Prospective riders move on “perspective”, that is the Olympic classes. Sports management has ceased to support the organization of racing the non-Olympic class. At the yacht club blazed the fires of the Dragons. Where the hand does not rise to burn this beauty, boats were left to rot in the rain and snow.

Fortunately, not all “Dragons” were to suffer the same sad fate. Sailors liked these yachts to so simply and fearlessly to part with them. And yet many thought that the class was doomed, that the revival is impossible. They were wrong.

The revival in Russia

By the beginning of 2000-ies of the boat, ready to go out on the water were one. To prevent the death of the “Dragon” as a class came from enthusiasts Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Sergei Ivanov (Director of the Moscow yacht-club “Neptune”) and Sergey Bogdanov (photographer and designer) to assemble the fleet and continue to chase the “Dragons” was organized by the Moscow “Dragon club”. Twenty-first of may 2003, held its first meeting. The year before, began the project to restore miraculously surviving old buildings, and renovated in the summer of the first “Dragon” can be seen on championship of Moscow on Pestovskoe reservoir. In 2003, was completed on the second case, and, characteristically, yachts are not just repaired, they are returned to their original look, the former beauty of lacquered wood.

At the start of the first championship of Russia in a class “the Dragon”, held in 2003, there were five yachts. Then everything was on the rise. After five years, the fleet of “Dragons” consisted of more than fifty yachts, the Championships became an annual event, the Association was established. This was made possible thanks to the sailors of the yacht club “Pirogovo” Alexander Ikovo, Arnold Sternberg, Anatoly Karachinsky enthusiasts also obsessed with the dream to revive the Dragon class in Russia.

Muscovites supported the St. Petersburg yachtsmen. In 2006, Igor Frolov, Sergey Jazykovym and Vladimir Loginov was created by the West shipyard Project. For the construction of boats from a British shipyard Petticrows was acquired by the matrix Dragon. By 2013 the shipyard was built seven yachts that now make up the backbone of the modern Navy the “Dragons” of St. Petersburg.

Today overseas sailors from Germany, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Ukraine and even Hong Kong come to Russia to our water to converge in a fight with the Russians. In turn, the Russian draconity participate in all the major international regattas, as formidable rivals in foreign yachtsmen and consistent favorites of the competition.

In any areas are increasingly sailing close to the traditional letter D you can see the letters RU. And it’s not revival, that’s life.

“Dragon” today

Since 1990, the world’s Dragons ‘ undisputed leader was the shipyard Petticrows under the direction of Paul-Ricarda hoy Jensen. Since the founding of the shipyards in 1988, it was released almost 800 boats, and recently the number of yachts built by Petticrows shipyard exceeded Børresen.

It should be noted that in 1990-x years the yacht has undergone a number of changes (in particular, have changed the wiring gear), carried out under the close supervision of the Technical Committee of the IDA. It was a difficult time when EU regulations required buoyancy improvements for all pleasure craft.

Along with the development of new boats guide IDA has actively implemented a strategy to support national associations in marketing and promoting new countries to increase the fleet of Dragon class. This carefully selected venues for regattas, was also improved control of the race with the introduction of the regulations of the championship, which was the starting point for the development of many other classes. And the result is obvious: on the major Championships going more than 75 boats.

In the new Millennium the most striking event was the 75th anniversary of the class. In 2004, on the French Riviera gathered 275 “Dragons”. All the big names of the sailing world consider it an honor to arrive in Saint-Tropez. All sailors, celebrated their participation in the race, the anniversary of the “Dragon”, still talking about this event, and best of all it says on the start line with a length of over 2.5 km!

Today Petticrows (now shipyard in the ownership of Tim Tavinor, one of the most successful builders of boats of the Olympic class) has attracted designers of America’s Cup to improve the shape of the hull. What is the evidence? The constant effort to improve the boat that is balanced by the mandate of the IDA to control development, which ultimately does not lead to an immediate obsolescence of the previous models.

This is the key to the success of the “Dragon” today: although he was 90 years old, he is still developing.

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