Dear Dragon Friends,
The year is almost over; it is the right time to summarise the activities of 2018.
The racing results from 2018, summarised in my report at the AGM in London, are very impressive. We have representatives of all ages and differing experience and grades of skills winning the major events and the nationals. Most notably, I would mention Mr. Gordon Ingate from Australia winning the Australian Championship at 91 years of age! He is an outstanding example to us all! The IDA decided to award him with a Certificate of honour and Gold Pin for his outstanding commitment to the Dragon class. Best wishes!
Our fleet is a sound mixture of hundreds of Corinthian owners and crews and many professional sailors - competitive and friendly. We had two wonderful events this year: the European championship in Balatonfüred and the Gold Cup in Helsinki. Both regattas were enthusiastically organised and managed. I want to thank all the clubs and individuals who participated! Warm summer weather combined with perfect and top level professional organisation on the water and very hospitable after racing entertainment were the key to their success.
The IDA is very proud to play a leading role in enhancing the quality of race management at its events, which is demanded by a very broad group of sailors.
The OAs at both events won over the participants by engaging very experienced International PROs like Bojan Gale and Nino Shmueli for the race organisation. These people who make their living by being invited to manage the racing at major events are traveling a lot, have huge experience both in practical race management and in knowledge of rules and regulations, and they are good psychologists. They are able to listen carefully to the local specialists and manage to win the support of the volunteers without stepping on anyone’s toes. They really know how to make a good team from a group of individuals who probably only organise an event at this level every 5 or even 10 years.
They are neither snobs nor dictators as some would describe them. When we see the resistance of some local club sailors to these kinds of specialists we can only guess that these sailors unfortunately did not have the opportunity to compare really good and practical race organisation with the kind they are used to. It is not a criticism against any club or individual. It is just a statement of what I believe. Those who want to learn and develop are always trying to see the best possible practices. That has nothing to do with any ambitions or attempts to prove anything to others.
Maybe there is some linguistic issue, but in my mind the word “professional” has only a positive meaning. We want our children to be born under the care of professional doctors, we want them to go to a school with professional educators and get themselves professionally qualified in their field of study. Why then shall we not delegate the role of race organisers of the most important and best attended championships to the sound mix of best possible PROs and club volunteers? Why not give the chance to a local RO be part of a successful team and learn skills they can later share with their home sailors?
We all have experience of average or poor race management that left many sailors disappointed and unhappy. If we take time and spend a lot of money to travel over a half of Europe we should expect a certain level of organisation.
I believe it is all about risk management. We all have many examples when the local ROs organised perfect events, but I believe that deep down, when we have difficult wind and water conditions, we feel more confident in hands of professionals.
So for me it is a clear communications problem of convincing sailors and giving them the opportunity to participate at events organized with the experience of best practices.
And I believe that after some discussions during this past year the IDA recognises the problem and is on the right track to correct the prejudices and overcome the suspicions of the sailors who still doubt.
That is why we made some adjustments at the Grade 1 events venue selection and calendar reorganizing the sequence from isolated events to the European Grade 1 Cup with finals. We are sure that will increase the interest and participation. And the IDA will play a much more active role in selection and approval of the PROs for these events and the major championships. It is our right and obligation. And that is – I repeat once again – the demand of the Dragon community.
It was very clearly expressed at the Owners’ meeting this year in Helsinki – the best attended OM I saw in all my Dragon years. I am very thankful to the active Dragon sailors who not only want to be heard directly by the community but who are also eager to support our association with practical advice and even some donations to the IDA to give us the possibility to attract the most experienced PROs to our events. In Helsinki over 20 sailors made commitments for about €25,000 for this purpose.
In this era of internet and social networks we need to have a quick and simple way of communication between the executive body of IDA and the community. That is why it was proposed at the OM in Helsinki to create an Owners’ Committee for advising the officers in best practices and other race management issues. The IDA has defined the principles and the functions of such a body and the AGM approved this initiative as a sub-committee reporting to the Officers. We shall trial this new group for the next year and announce the composition of the first ever Owners’ Committee within the next few weeks.
This blog would not be complete without drawing your attention to the upcoming events for 2019. In just a few days Fremantle in Australia will host the World Championship. Although the participation is not so high as we would wish, the quality of racing will be at the highest level possible due to very strong competitiveness of the fleet both in overall and Corinthian categories from three continents. The Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in association with their regional and national Dragon Associations, have done a superb job in preparing this event for success! We wish them all the best! The Gold Cup 2019 will be organised in June in Medemblik (Holland). The organisers have set some very ambitious targets, and we wish them good luck!
And surely the pinnacle of the coming year will be the 90th Anniversary Dragon Jubilee regatta in San Remo in October. It has been a tortuous path to find a suitable area and time to accommodate several hundreds of boats and sailors. Surely the IDA used the great experience of our class in creating this kind of event. We are very thankful to our Vice President Chris Dicker, who was the principal organiser of the 75th Jubilee regatta in Saint-Tropez, for his time and readiness to help. We were discussing the plan with many potential hosts and finally have chosen the world-famous resort San Remo due to the experience and engagement of its YC and its leadership, due to the logistical and climatical conditions of the venue and its great heart for Dragons.
Surely there is not much time left but we do not have to invent the wheel again. The organizing authority is almost completed, the NOR about to be published and we will do out utmost to make the participants happy both on the water and on the shore. We are planning currently for 180 entries but expect that the demand will be much higher. Please follow the activities on the IDA website. The event site will be ready by the end of 2018.
90th Anniversary Dragon Jubilee regatta will be a very special event but it is not just for the currently active sailors. We particularly invite those who for whatever reason stopped sailing Dragons in recent years but whose hearts still beat faster when they see the beautiful Dragon. Come, sail and meet old friends that you have not seen for a while. And if you have an offer of help do not hesitate to send your proposals to the OA or the IDA. The organisers and the participants will appreciate donations in cash or kind for our great festival!
We live in disquieting and turbulent times. That is why we seek so much for some real values. Dragon sailing is one of the few. That is why I wish to all of us and everyone good health, peace and wealth that will help us to practice our beloved hobby!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
News and Information posted by the IDA only.
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