Petticrows News

IDA Disclaimer and General Discussion
Post Reply
Posts: 404
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:07 pm

Petticrows News

Post by IDA » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:20 pm

Tim Tavinor in the Petticrows current newsletter details the latest Dragon developments and is available to view online
Tim Tavinor

Posts: 404
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:07 pm

Petticrows eNewsletter May 2009

Post by IDA » Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:14 pm

Posts: 404
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:07 pm

2009 August eNewsletter

Post by IDA » Sun Oct 11, 2009 3:36 pm

So far all the races I have sailed this year, (with the exception of Antigua), have been in light to very light conditions. I cannot remember a year with such lack of winds; is it climate change or the recession causing this phenomenon I wonder! Even stranger, the minute the boats are back on the trailer and on the way back home, the wind arrives!

Having sailed the French Championships in La Baule, the Grand Prix in Kiel and the Gold Cup in Skagen, I can report that organization both afloat and ashore have been outstanding. More or less maximum level of participation in all the races, which is great news in these times. Christian Boillot won in La Baule, Markus Wieser in Kiel and Ruslana Taran in Skagen. Very well sailed and well done to you all; my results were nothing to write home about; 3, 5 and 11. Another race with cancellation of some races due to lack of wind, was the Marblehead Trophy sailed last weekend. Tommy Mueller, the host and defending champion, suffered a black flag. With all races counting, this put him out of the frame. The Danes put up a strong challenge and took four out of the first five places; Jens Christensen/Kim Andersen won. They will be deciding the venue of next years' Marblehead. According to my snout (Gavia) it was a very well organized event and Tommy did a brillant job hosting the teams. I am now looking forward to Medemblik, and hope for a bit of wind so at least two of the crew can sit on the weather rail instead of to leeward.

In Skagen we had also to contend with a strong and unpredictable stream/tide; Tommy Mueller reported one day 20 meters in one minute. This caused "up and down" results for quite a few people including myself. An innovation at the Gold Cup was the use of Track Track devices. We were all supplied with this tracking device; collected before leaving and returned after racing for charging. Three large screens were set up in the tent, and the Dragon followers could "see" the race live. After racing, the Dragon sailors could replay their own race or others; all this caused a great deal of amusement. What was not so funny, were the questions of our loved ones when coming ashore. "Why did you go to the right where you could only do 3.7 knots while on the left they were clocking 4.5 knots?" "Could you not see that windshift"? In my long life of racing, I was always able to "camouflage" my mistakes and come up with a good story for home consumption or in the bar after a bad race. However, I can now see that the good times are over. Anybody, anywhere in the World, can follow the race and see our mistakes being made. Sorry guys, we are all in the same boat and there will be no place to hide. Can you imagine a situation in the future with the wife or girlfriend calling from home or office during the race and tell you; "you have just gone from No. 5 to No. 65; why don't you tack now". One solution could be to introduce a ban on mobiles on board, so at least we would not have this problem to contend with as well.

Joking aside, it was fun to have the Track Tracks and I can see this is what we all will have in future races. Another plus would be if a Dragon went down; the salvage people would have no problem finding it. Which brings me to the next story:

You will all remember in Cannes during the Regatta Royale in 2007 two Dragons went down; a third sunk a couple of weeks later. You may also recall that Tommy Mueller and Mike Hayles immediately arranged a meeting with the boat builders and IDA officers present at the time in Cannes. This resulted in substantial rule changes effective almost immediately; and increase in buoyancy from 1800L to 2500L; we decided to go for a bit extra and ours is 2700L. Peter Boyd was the middle man and co-owner of BBC, one of the unfortunate trio. After Cannes, he joined forces with Stewart and Catriona Coltart and carried on Dragon sailing on the Medway. In April this year, they took delivery of a new Dragon and Stewart reports as follows:

"I have had a few exciting downwind moments in my time in Dragons but this particular incident was a bit special. We were battling for the lead with our erstwhile competitors, Julian and Clare Sowry (Scimitar GBR 730) on a Saturday race on the Medway. The course on this particular leg was directly downwind with gusty force 5 winds oscillating unpredictably. It was an exciting spinnaker run and we went deeper than 730. The boat behind us had elected to stay with white sails and was not losing any ground to us. I was about to drop the spinnaker when an abrupt and violent gust arrived which put us 20o by the lee. The boat sheered violently to leeward exacerbating the situation along with a rapid windward roll. Rudder authority was lost as the mast tip went under water (the rudder in effect became an elevator instead). The three of us were left staring at the sky with water pouring into the boat. My wife's head went underwater along with her boots filling up with water. We seemed to lie there for about 15-20 seconds and she slowly righted. Curiously, there was no involuntary gibe despite being so markedly by the lee. I was particularly worried that the boom would crash over and hit one of us on the head knocking us overboard completely. When upright, we wiped the salt out of our eyes and rapidly dumped the spinnaker. The pole had snapped with the roll to windward. We had a considerable amount of water in the boat, about 30- 50cm above the floorboards and I was concerned that she might wallow and go down so a course was set for some shallow water. However, it became apparent that she had plenty of buoyancy and importantly, there was no fore and aft instability with risk of submarining. The electric pump proved highly effective and within 3 minutes or so (time becomes very approximate in these situations) she was dry helped with some bucketing from us. In the end we only lost two places from this escapade. Like fishing stories, it is easy to exaggerate on such a tale but our crew Peter Booth was aboard BBC GBR683 when she sank off Cannes in Oct 2007. Yes, that was in open water with waves but the depth of water in the boats was similar if not more. What was different was the better buoyancy of the new hull to a Jubilee Dragon. In some respects, the new Valkyrie felt like a dinghy rather than a heavy displacement keel boat with the feeling that she was lying higher in the water than an older boat thereby reducing the ingress of water. Very reassuring particularly when sailing in waves in deep water."

We were told at the time that in theory the additional buoyancy would work; however, there is nothing like putting theory to the test. All Petticrow Dragons from March 2008 have this extra buoyancy. It looks like it works; thank you Tommy, thank you Mike for all your efforts.

I told you I am testing the new mast. In general, I am very happy with the new Aero profile, but will need more time. It has only been used in light conditions so far; I will do an extensive report in my next newsletter.

I have to take my hat off to the French Dragon Association, AFSID with their continued efforts to promote the Dragon Class. They have again arranged to have Dragon on the Paris Boat show in December, which is great news. This is not the first time AFSID is giving a good example in marketing the Dragon Class. It is not surprising, I think, that the French Dragon Fleets continue to grow. Many French Dragon sailors are involved; Eric, Xavier, Jean-Pierre just to name a few. Great job!

The Irish on the other hand have not been coming out to play so much this season. Could Mick Cotter be to blame for this? He is racing his big Whisper quite a lot (I spotted him on a CNN programme on the Fastnet) and a big boat like his needs a lot of crews; or walk-on Tools as they are referred to on that great ship. Is he using all the Irish Dragon sailors as Tools, so they have no time left to sail their own Dragons I wonder? I would like to know please Mick
The Aussie Fleets are building too, which is great news. Robert Alpe has done a fantastic job promoting Dragons down under. Richard Lynn from Perth is the first to come out and play with us in the Gold Cup this year. A few more are expected in Medemblik, including Wolf Breit (another mover and shaker in Oz) and St. Tropez. We will all need to get in shape for the Worlds in Melbourne in 2011; the Aussies are good sailors, and not to be under estimated.

After Medemblik I will be at the Regatta Royale and St. Tropez. Hope to see you around.

All the best,


Posts: 384
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:58 am

Petticrows News

Post by Webmaster » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:49 pm

This year seems to have flown away since the Worlds in Melbourne and already Midsummer celebrations are taking place in Europe !! Here in England we have had a very mixed period of weather, from the coldest December for 100 years to long periods of warm weather and sun!! But now of course it's Wimbledon Tennis Grand Slam and it's raining !!

One good feature of the weather that we are all more interested in is the wind, and at last after what seems like too many regattas with light wind in recent years, this year so far has largely been different, and there have been at least some races with strong wind at last.

The Dragon calendar is full and already many championships have been successfully completed. So far there is no dominant helm in the major races, with different teams taking the podiums. This maybe an indication the racing is getting even more competitive, if that is possible.

Its great testament to the Dragon Class that turnouts at the International regattas in these uncertain financial times are still high but with more people having more pressure on their time and expenses, it's good to see the National regattas in some cases are getting even more support than normal.

With many more great regattas still to come this year including the Europeans in Boltenhagen, the Gold Cup in Oostende, and the perennial favourites of many- St Tropez and Regates Royale, not to mention all the remaining National Championships there is still much top quality Dragon racing to be had this year..

Many of you know that last year Katie Cole was unexpectedly diagnosed with Leukaemia, almost immediately after returning home from running the Petticrows service at the Europeans in Balaton.

The good news is that her treatment has recently been completed and the prognosis is good. We hope that after a summer of rest and recuperation we will see Katie back at work at the end of this year. Already she has recently done some club river races here in Burnham in her beloved Dragon shared with Rob Campbell named the "Beauty and the Beast" and is giving the regulars a run for their money !!

Katie has been incredibly positive the whole time and this has no doubt helped her recovery. Support from the Dragon sailing community has also been a great help. The message from Katie is "thank you for all the support and that she is looking forward to seeing you all on the circuit again soon."
One of the great privileges of being involved in Petticrows is the opportunity to visit sailors and travel to some fantastic sailing venues around the world, I recently made the trip to Oslo.....

The Dragon sailing family are a group of great comrades; some fleets like the French are geographically in the centre of the action whilst others like Hong Kong, Australia and to some extent Norway are more isolated and although racing can be fierce and competitive within their local fleet, many of us will only have contact with these sailors when they host a major championship.

Norway of course is the birth place of the Dragon; the boat being designed more than 80 years ago by the Norwegian Johan Anker. Today the fleet is quite small but active with some top sailors and regular summer racing program. The main activities centring on the beautiful Oslo Fjord under the guidance of their class captain Nina Paulsen with boats serviced by Petticrows dealer Steff Herbern and highlight of their racing calendar, Hanko race week.
My visit to Oslo was prompted by an invitation from the owner of a new Dragon. Jorgen Paulsen, with his crew Kim and Tobby, asking if I would go to help them with the set up of their new boat "Daddy's"
The purchase of a new Dragon had really fired the guys with enthusiasm and they wanted to gain as much knowledge as possible on how to set up and sail their new boat. We spent a day on the water running through the systems; the latest ideas on sail trim techniques and boat set up in preparation for the Aker Brygge Cup over the following 2 days.

The team, who were already experienced Dragon sailors were quick to take on board the subtle differences in setting up and sailing their new boat, and had beaming smiles when they completed the race series in first place, showing excellent boat speed throughout a range of conditions. After a few celebratory beers and BBQ we started talking about how short the sailing season is in Norway, several of the sailors expressed an interest in exchanging snow for sunshine and migrating their boats to southern Europe for the winter sailing scene during the Norwegian winter.

The idea met with great enthusiasm as we discussed the possibilities of cheap flights, good hotels, and great sailing in the popular winter venues of Cannes and Cascais. The drive from Northern Europe to Cannes and Cascais can be a bit daunting; many of the fleet had never considered the possibility of chartering boats. This has become more popular and does represent good value when you consider that the Norwegians would be driving for several days in order to compete. They did not realise that Petticrows can often assist in helping to find good charter boats, the other port of call is Martin Payne, who now has 3 good charter boats available
Martin is pictured here with two young ladies he was introducing to Dragon Sailing in Holland at the Dutch Championships and will be racing "Bear" at the upcoming Europeans with Ted Sawyer. Many thanks to Stavros and Fiona Brown for the entertaining and well informed "blogs" and "vlogs" published on the IDA website which they produce at many championships.

Jorgen also mentioned that he had been thinking about a new boat for some time, but did not like the idea of ordering a new boat before selling his old boat. His new boat order came when the sale of the old boat was confirmed to another Norwegian sailor. In fact, Petticrows will usually offer a trade in value on used Petticrows Dragons against the purchase of a new or upgraded Dragon. So if the sale of your old boat presents a barrier to you considering a new Dragon then we would be pleased to make you a trade in offer. The second hand boats we receive through trade ins then get a full make over and beauty treatment and are sold onto new customers with a Petticrows warranty. Any old equipment replaced or refurbished and all gel coat is repaired and polished to" look like new." Our aim is when buying a used boat from Petticrows you have confidence and comeback that everything is as it should be.

It was also nice to bump into Carole Reitzer in Oslo, after not seeing her for 20 years; she is the proud owner of a 2006 Petticrows Dragon which she has recently purchased through Fred Gourlaouen (Douarnenez Yachting) in Douarnenez. After a 20 year break from sailing (children and work) she has now decided to get back on the water and start racing. Carole was a former world champion in the women's Europe class in its Olympic days (sailing for France, but now lives in Norway). Watching her sail the Dragon was very much like my memories of moving from dinghies into keelboats. Once she masters the difference from a 45kg Europe dinghy to a 2000kg Dragon, Carole will soon be a force to be reckoned with on the race course in the future.

Whilst helping Jorgen set his boat up it made me aware that since the advent of our new stiff I-section mast our tuning guide needed updating as this new rig requires a slightly different set up and in fact since 2008 the hulls have also become much stiffer which also effects the rig settings. A lot of this information is gathered by trial and error and boat tuning sessions and is also constantly developing as the different sail makers produce new models of sails. Most regular sailors normally have their own ideas on rig setup that they have found to be successful for them but I have attempted to create a setup and tuning guide as a starter point. Please check it out here. This setup is largely based around North sails.

I look forward to seeing you at the future races this year.

With best wishes,

Tim Tavinor

Posts: 384
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:58 am

Petticrows News

Post by Webmaster » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:51 pm

With the unseasonal cold weather in parts of Europe and even snow here in Burnham, unusually for the second year, it has not stopped us from thinking about the new season's challenges and preparing for what looks like a busy 2012 season.

Winter racing has already been continuing at the ever popular venues of Cannes and Cascais with the recently completed Primo Cup even having a strong wind race!! Hopefully a good omen for this year.
Grand Prix Guyader outside the VIP entrance of the Paris Boat Show. Photo :
Gwen and the hard working Douarnenez team have kept me updated on their preparations, and are very happy to have confirmed continued support from sponsor Guyader, helping to ensure the continued success of this popular and high calibre event. The Irish Dragon fleet have also been extremely busy and have put together a very interesting series of racing culminating in the Kinsale Gold Cup. For anyone who has not had the privilege of racing there I can strongly recommend it as one of the Dragon circuit's most spectacular and picturesque venues with great hospitality and fantastic sailing conditions. With this year's other Grade 1 championship, the Europeans in Austria on Lake Attersee, offering a change of venue for many and the challenges of lake racing, the Dragon racing calendar continues to offer a full choice of excellent regattas.

2011 was a great year for Petticrows Dragons, with wins by different teams in very different sailing conditions at the Worlds in Melbourne and Europeans in Boltenhagen. Plus many other successes on the Dragon circuit.
Europeans 2012 in Boltenhagen. Photo :
Not wanting to sit on our laurels in such a competitive fleet we have been working hard over the winter to refine and develop our Dragon for the 2012 season and beyond. With input and some great ideas from Poul Richard who remains as enthusiastic as ever about his Dragon sailing we have continued to evolve in the Petticrow tradition. I wanted to give you a preview of the new model boat which will start arriving on the scene throughout the coming season.

Our new model Dragon maintains our championship winning hull shape, proven vacuum infused components and all aspects constructed "in house" but has many new features.

Most striking initially is the new outward angled coamings.
Back in the "old" days many of the hand crafted wooden decked boats had this style of coaming. Now we have confronted the technical difficulties of moulding this shape in GRP with specially made split mould tooling.

Style is not the only benefit from this; with the angled coamings when hiking you are comfortably 6cm per side further out with the perfect angle improving comfort on your legs and enable the crew to effectively lock into position. For the helm when in the classic leeward steering position - nice and comfortable on his back!! This angle gives a new look and feel to the boat, and importantly makes the cockpit larger.

The Barney post was able to have a complete re-design, making the capping longer athwart ships. Consequently the mainsheet track is now the same length as 2011 boat with standard traveller, not shorter as it was previously.
On the Barney post we also worked hard to make a design in keeping with the rest of the boat and maximise its strength and stiffness. It now has improved push off areas to assist crew work.

The Barney post remains an option along with the standard traveller beam model which also benefits from the extra cockpit width to make an even longer mainsheet track!

The all new internal gives an additional drainage angle from the helm area forward and aft from the forward bulkhead to the central sump area.
We have re-designed the cuddy entrance to give better access to the forward areas at the station 8 bulkhead. It is much easier going in to rig or change shroud tensions. The low areas in the cockpit floor where shroud nuts etc. were easily dropped by the mast step have been removed completely.

New stiffening has been incorporated in the internal moulding which is designed to lower the VCG while improving lateral and longitudinal stiffness. Floors are now bonded to the hull before release from the mould to ensure better fairness.
In the spinnaker chute we now have a low area incorporating a drain for any water getting past the hatch; water will now flow back into the cockpit without getting the spinnaker wet.

Also, in an effort to lower windage and improve the aesthetics, we have recessed more deck fittings and moved the incorporated battery charging solar panel into the back deck where it is unlikely to get damaged.

Weight saving and ease of servicing/use was another area we have looked at. Rope shackles, which have now become the norm for attaching the genoa sheets, are now incorporated into the forestay furling swivel and pole-up/pole down control ropes. Rope and block technology is improving all the time and we have tried to use these advances as much as possible.

We are always looking to improve the safety, the new internal moulding takes advantage of some class rule changes to increase buoyancy and a new system of one way valves safely drain all areas to the central sump for pumping out with the solar charged battery operated automatic pump.
The 2012 model Petticrows Dragon. Photo :
I am confident all the above changes for the 2012 model have maintained the long standing tradition of the Petticrows Dragon evolving and helping to keep the Dragon as the premier keelboat for top quality racing at all levels.

With new style boats turning up on the circuit, I will be pleased to give sailors a guided tour of the features. Alternatively, as always, you are most welcome to visit Petticrows, we are situated about 1 hours drive from London Stansted airport which has good air links throughout Europe.
We are in a position to offer trade-ins on older Petticrows, and as always have a good range of used Dragons available.

Finally, personally I would like to thank Rob Campbell the outgoing IDA Chairman for all his hard work. The role is time consuming and also challenging. Richard Blickman now takes the helm of the International Dragon Class, I wish him well in his new role as Chairman.

My next regatta is the Cannes Grand Prix, I look forward to seeing you on the water.

With best wishes,

Tim Tavinor

Post Reply