Chairman's Blog June 2016
The spring is over. Three out of four Grand-Prix regattas have taken place. All the sailors have been very disciplined in implementing the new rules inhibiting mast movement. Both in Cascais and Dournenez the measurers were happy with the improvements at the boats and masts. Those who attended both of the most recent Grade One events got further proof how important is it to have a professional standard race management team with good experience of our class.
The Technical Committee have just completed a major study into the role of various tests (swing, hull/deck thickness etc) in decisions about the compliance of boats with the Class Rules and will soon publish its recommendations in advance of the next AGM in October.
Participation at the major national championships already held this year has been very satisfactory. The major championships - Europeans and Gold cup - are coming up soon and we are hoping for a good attendance at both.
As one of the organizers of the event in Saint-Petersburg I am very proud to tell you that Tatyana and her team of race officials and volunteers are preparing for the Championship with great commitment both on water and on the shore. Those who come will enjoy the unique atmosphere of one of the most beautiful cities in the world during the so called “white nights” time of year, and will enjoy splendid racing in the gulf of the Neva river. As well as securing a major sponsor we managed to get support from a few major brands including some world-known beverage companies. There will be a huge tent at the marina with broadband internet connection, shuttle transportation to and from the hotels at a nominal cost. We have planned an inviting partners’ programme, a gorgeous Gala Dinner at an old tall ship in the centre of the city, a visit to the historical boat yard where they are reconstructing an old battle ship dating from the beginning of the 18th century, night motor boat excursions through the channels of the “Northern Venice”… and many other exciting activities are waiting for the participants and their families and friends.
You will be amply rewarded if you make the effort to get a Russian visa and transport your boat to Saint-Petersburg and back. There is still time to make the decision and start preparations. And there are still a couple of Dragons waiting for charters.
Thoughts on honourable behaviour
A few year’s ago during an ascent of Mount Everest, a friend of mine, climbing from the North, left the last camp before heading for the summit. About halfway he was overtaken by an Italian guy who was running very fast and easy. The climber disappeared behind a stone ridge hiding the final stage before the summit. After one hour the Italian was already coming back and my friend took off his glove to shake his hand and congratulate him on making the top. But the Italian answered that he never got to the top. He had set his oxygen valve at maximum so that he a lot of energy at the very beginning, but it ran out and it would be too risky to continue. That is why he decided to turn back.
Even those who have no experience in mountain climbing can imagine how big the challenge of Mount Everest is for an alpinist. Years of preparation, a big commitment of time and money and great prestige if you do it. The Italian climber could easily declare that he climbed it, and everyone would trust him, but his conscience and personal honour prevented him.
For me this is an extreme example of honourable behaviour. Behavior based on the principle of being honest to yourself and to others under any circumstances.
If we are honest, how many times have we excused ourselves for an early start or touching the mark in situations that nobody have seen it? How often have we bent the truth in the jury room during protests? How often have we claimed redress in situations that were not 100% clear?
I am not qualified to preach on this subject – I cannot say that my conscience has always been clear. But we as Dragon sailors, who sail a class that has always embodied the spirit of honourable and gentlemanly behaviour, no matter how important the competition, must remember the Italian climber on Everest when we are on the race course. Let us try not to forget it.
I wish everyone beautiful summer season and safe and enjoyable sailing!
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