Forming the backbone of, and providing a major tourist attraction for Hong Kong, defined by Webster as "a fabulous animal", the dragons conjure up images of puff, fire and water. But that? dragon, with a lower case "d". Enter into the sailing world and we speak of Dragons with a capital "D"!
Dragons were designed in 1929 by Johan Anker to provide an inexpensive family yacht to cruise around the Norwegian fjords, which explained why the earlier versions had two berths. Dragons quickly gained wide popularity throughout Europe and in 1948, the Dragon became an Olympic Class although she was replaced by Solings in 1974. In the modern day, Dragon sailors can be found all over the world, either racing or cruising. International Dragon racing takes place every October in Alexandria: in the Regatta Royale every September in Cannes; in February, Martinique; in April in Mallorca.
Headquartered in the UK, the International Dragon Association has royal connection with its President King Constantine and the Vice-President HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark. Attending any international race will almost always present an opportunity to meet some of the best sailors and personalities in the world and it is an exciting experience to be with them. There is even a rumour that Dennis Connors has bought a Dragon but this has yet to be confirmed.
In Hong Kong Dragons race or sail every weekend of the year. Based currently at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club base at Port Shelter "Shelter Cove", our normal racing season lasts from September to May but we continue to race during the summer months. Most of the races take place on Saturday afternoon and Sunday (all day).
Besides our club racing, we have two interports (invitational matches with other clubs). The Asia Pacific interport is with the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and Kansai Yacht Club and the European interport is with Royal Yacht Squadron, Royal Danish Yacht club and Arcachon Yacht Club. The latter interport was started by Prince Henrik of Denmark and Lowell Chang of Hong Kong.
A 29-foot, three-person, fixed-keel, classically-designed sloop, the Dragon is made of wood or glass fibre and can be bought from around HK$5,000 upwards. A suit of sails consists of a main, a genoa and a spinnaker.
If you are interested in learning more about the Dragon or even sailing one to improve your skills, give us a call any time. Phyllis Chang 2868 0789, Simon Chan 2635 5378.
Video of the Dragon Class Championships 2012:
Video of the Dragon Class Championships 2011: