What Would You Do?

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trw999
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:10 pm
Location: England

What Would You Do?

Post by trw999 » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:29 am

I am in the market for a Dragon. I have been crewing in England for six years. I started out in a classic, though now race in moderns. I am an enthusiastic club sailor, racing most weekends during the season. I regularly compete at Cowes Week. I also attend Edinburgh Cup regattas and take in the East Coast or South Coast championships too. I have been to the Douarnenez regatta once, really enjoying the experience. I also raced in the Gold Cup at Falmouth.

With regard to Robert Alpe’s impressive discussion papers, I place myself in the Enthusiastic Group and that is where I shall probably stay for the rest of my Dragon sailing days. I aim to carry on club racing and attending national regattas, as well as probably one European based regatta each year. I have no great expectations of winning many races but am happy to be out on the water pitting my whits against the elements and fellow sailors.

On the face of it, it is a simple decision. Buy a second-hand modern Dragon, within my budget, that has been well cared for, has a sound trailer and several suits of sails. However, I was bought up sailing wooden boats and love them. I enjoy repairing, improving and fine tuning them. I can even enjoy maintaining them in the off season! Like many Dragon sailors, I was initially attracted to the class by the gorgeous lines of this beautiful yacht. To my mind, a varnished hull, teak decked Dragon is the epitome of what a yacht should look like. I know of one for sale. What is more, it is a 1959 Pedersen and Theusen. Oh, the temptation!

What my heart may yearn for, my head tells me otherwise. Buy that nice six year old Petticrow, pop it in the water, race it, give it a service in the winter and an occasional clean and polish. New sails every now and again. Hopefully a consistent mid fleet racer with occasional bursts to the front. An easy decision.

On the other hand, a lovely P&T hull, slightly longer waterline. This might just keep the old girl competitive. It has been dry stored for a long while, so will certainly need some work on the planking. Perhaps epoxy to the waterline. Hours spent getting the final lustre to the brightwork. On top of all that, it will need to be modernised. Sympathetically introduce cascade systems, fine tuning, modern runners, winchless sheeting, mast ram, reinforcing metal work for the shrouds and mast heel. So, many miles of string and bungee, Harken blocks, new sails, a trailer. Not sure what the bank manager will have to say about all that. And the time doing it! I would probably have to carry out the work over time. I certainly can not afford the time or money to do it all at once.

So what would you do?

Michael Reinert
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:40 pm

What I would do

Post by Michael Reinert » Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:17 pm

to my opinion sailing is always a question of the heart and only boring people would decide this question with the arguments of a bank manager--
so take the classik dragon !

Michael Reinert D-Ger 301 UNDINE

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:18 am
Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

Well, you are facing the choice that many have to make.

Post by Mickey Lake » Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:56 pm

trw; first off it's nice to meet you. Secondly, I have a similiar situation in that I already have a 1963 Borresen hull that I race, but am thinking of getting a newer boat for traveling.

Very few can resist the charms of a classic Dragon, until they have to update or do extensive maintenance. But owning a wooden boat of any kind, much less a wooden Dragon, is not a matter of the head but of the heart. You guys in the UK and in Europe in general have enough classics that you will have a nice fleet in any major regatta and that should satisfy your desire to compete and hopefully win. Hmm.

People will say that it's not a money issue but in my experience it almost always is a money issue. My advice is this: if you love the wooden boat get it. If you can afford a six year old Petticrows then you can probably afford to maintain your woodie in style, so that that anxiety will not be a problem. You'll have enough competition to make you happy, and you'll have the pride of ownership that most wooden boat owners feel for their yachts.

I have a different problem from yours. I live far from any active fleets, and though I do travel with my boat I seem to do more damage to her in traveling than I do in sailing her. Therefore I want to buy a newer boat and keep my woodie for use close to home. So I will purchase another Dragon in the next couple of years and help build the fleet here just a little bit more.

Best of luck with your decision. Please let us know how it turns out.

Mickey Lake USA149
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

trw999
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:10 pm
Location: England

Post by trw999 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 5:30 pm

Thank you so much for your comments.

I have decided I shall go for the modern option. It is the general consensus amongst those I have canvassed for an opinion. Yep, I'm afraid the bank manager dictated my decision!

Buying the P&T I would have spent more than the cost of a new plastic boat updating her (probably closer to the cost of a cold-moulded!). As someone who has experience of doing this said, you are always worried someone will bash into you, especially at the more competitive international regattas.

I did consider the possibility of buying both - briefly! But that would be a huge indulgence and I can not afford to do that. The other thought I had was that the modern Petticrows are now so refined that they probably share boat speed with the longer waterline Pedersens (the grandfathered ones built between 1957 and 1961). Perhaps there is not the advantage there that there once was. Or does boat speed theory say otherwise?

If anyone is interested in the P&T it is for sale at:

http://www.draken.nl/assortiment.html#houtdraak

Did I make the right decision?!

T

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:18 am
Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

Oh my friend, if you have to ask .....

Post by Mickey Lake » Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:12 pm

then you will always wonder, will you not?

I wondered if that was the boat you were looking at. She is exceedingly beautiful. If someone wants to be generous I wouldn't mind that Glas boat from the same brokerage. We have a very similiar boat here in the States and adding that one to the fleet would be perfect :).

But seriously I think that the question is do you want to race classics or do you want to go out in the front of the pack? With so few classics racing in North America it would be an easy choice for me, but you do have that nice option of racing classics in Europe, and usually a person with an eye for wood is not going to be completely happy with anything else.

Well, I wish you joy of your new boat and hope that it's what your heart wanted and not just your head, but oh, that varnish :).

Mickey Lake USA149
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

trw999
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:10 pm
Location: England

Post by trw999 » Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:55 am

Hi Mickey

I hope that I will not wonder too long! Actually, what I might like to do at some stage in the future is to find an old Dragon in as original condition as possible, to use for cruising. I think we need to keep some as Johan Anker designed them for the sake of historical record.

It is an interesting assumption you make about classic racing in Europe. I have seen the Cowes classic fleet dwindle in the last few years from five active racers to none. I think there are probably only a handful that are club raced with any frequency in the UK now. The situation on mainland Europe is probably a little different, as I know there are many boats owned and well cared for, though not necessarily raced. But I am going off thread, so we should pick this up in the classic section of the forum!

I'll let you know how my purchase proceeds.

T

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