Owners Meeting at Gold Cup, Cascais, 2008
Officers in attendance
Chairman Rob Campbell
Vice Chairman Peter Warrer
Vice Chairman Robert Alpe
Rob Campbell opened the meeting with the following comments
1. Reminded the meeting that the purpose is for broad consultation with owners as the Gold Cup is the best opportunity each year for owners to express their views on how the class is administered and particularly to express views for the future direction. The meeting is consultative and not decision making.
2. The International Ranking List (“IRL”). There have been technical difficulties in getting this transposed into the English version required. This has just been successfully completed. There are also concerns with accuracy of data input. This has been considered in detail and the best way forward is to use ISAF registration as the database for skippers. Each skipper wishing to appear on the IRL must therefore register with ISAF and receive a unique alpha/numeric code. In future this will be incorporated in regatta entry forms and in regatta results. This should avoid confusion as owners change boats, sail numbers etc. The IRL will not operate in 2008 but it is intended that this will be fully operational from the beginning of 2009.
3. Many owners may not yet be aware of 2 technical changes being proposed at the AGM this October. Both proposals are from the Antigua fleet
That runners and backstays can in future be made from either wire or rope. This reflects the technical progress being made with rope and will be more user friendly. The Technical Committee are reviewing tip weight implications to avoid any centre of gravity and/or weight advantage accruing from the change
That the headsail in the current rules be replaced by a new one of more modern dimensions, a “blade” type jib. This has been used in heavy airs in Antigua with great success.
Marcus Wieser opened the general discussion with 2 major points that formed the backbone of the debate for the remainder of the meeting, as follows
1. Increasing the performance of the Dragon.
2. Criticisms about major regatta organisation, with particular reference to Oslo.
Increasing the performance of the Dragon
The debate centred about whether or not a major change should take place to make the Dragon more lively. Proposals included, inter alia, taking 150 kilos out of the keel, bigger spinnaker, bigger mainsail, longer spinnaker pole and including battery weight in the current 1,700 kilos weight. The meeting divided between radical change and continuation of the policy over the last many years of small evolutionary steps. The current proposal to have rope runners and backstay was cited as a typical evolutionary step, taking advantage of developing technology. Concern was expressed that any radical change could have a number of detrimental effects
Making current boats obsolete or making it uneconomic to upgrade
Take the Dragon away from its specialist niche, making it more of a direct competitor with other classes
Some owners feel that our particular niche has and is extremely popular, attracting very high quality sailors of all ages. Other owners expressed the concern that the lack of high performance could result in decline over the next 10 years. It was pointed out that entries for major events are running currently at historically high levels.
The Officers agreed to consider this subject at length and to raise the issue initially at this year’s AGM
Criticisms about Major Regatta Organisation
Attending major regattas takes great commitment and a lot of expense from owners. It is vital, therefore, that regatta organisation both on and off the water is to the highest standard. Problems have been encountered in both 2007 and 2008. Peter Warrer pointed out that the Dragon Regatta Regulations, in general, are comprehensive. The weaknesses are acknowledged and they are more around implementation rather than the basic structures. For 2009, personnel will be appointed to supervise regatta organisation on behalf of the IDA. We will make a minimum of 2 visits to each venue, one early to establish the overall organisation and one a couple of months before the event to check on detail. Further clarity will be established as to what should be included in the entry fee. It was proposed that we should be more contractual with the organising authority (usually the Yacht Club), possibly demanding a performance bond. The Officers will be treating major regatta organisation as a key priority, for 2009 concentrating on the Worlds (Medemblik), the Europeans (St Petersburg) and the Gold Cup (Skagen). Olga White, representing St Petersburg, stated that they would be keen to work closely with the IDA to help ensure the success of their event in 2009.
IDA Disclaimer and General Discussion
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