Börge Börresen

Tribute by Dan Ibsen


Börge Börresen the world famous boat builder, sailor and Vice-President of the IDA has peacefully passed away in his home at the age of 87 years. Börge Börresen built his first Dragon together with his brother, Albert at an age of 16 in the winter 1935-36.

Since then many of the famous Börresen Dragons have been sold all over the world through more than 60 years. Börresens Boatyard in Vejle, Denmark became world famous for the beautiful wooden boats and later the glasfiber boats.

The boatyard built 325 Dragon in wood, before it was recognised to build the boat in glasfiber. All boats have consistently been built to the highest quality standards, and many customers have bought several Börresen boats during their active years in sailing.

Börge Börresen was in 1971-1972 involved in the process of preparing the Class Rules for allowing glasfiber boats to sail equally with the wooden boats. In this way Börge Börresen, among others secured the future of the Dragon after it sailed in the Olympics the last time in 1972.

The Dragon Class has since then been growing even stronger and is together with the Star one of the ISAF International Keelboat’s Classes with the most competitors at International regattas and World Championships.

Many sailors remember the 75 Years Jubilee Regatta in St Tropez, with nearly 300 boats on the starting line in one race.

Börge was at the same time a fantastic sailor, he competed in 51 consecutive Dragon Gold Cups and won in his long sailing career numerous regattas and titles, the last World Championship at an age of 74 years together with Jesper Bank and his son Ole Börresen. The most outstanding results are:

  • Worlds N°1 - 1984 & 1993
  • Worlds N°2 – 1981
  • Worlds N°3 – 1971 & 1973
  • Europeans N°1 – 1959, 60, 73 & 1984
  • Dragon Gold Cup – 1951, 56, 67 & 1985

Börresens Boatyard in Vejle, Denmark has been building many National and International classes during the years, among those also the Finn, 5, 5 Meter, Swallow, Soling and Yngling.

The 40 Finn dinghies used at the Olympics in Helsinki 1952 came from Vejle, and his countryman Paul Elvström won his second Gold Medal, the first of three in Finn. Solings from Vejle has won numerous championships and Olympic medals, the last Gold Medal by Jesper Bank in Sydney 2000. The Börresen Ynglings have also been dominating international sailing competitions since it became an Olympic Class.

Börge Börresen's sons, Anders and Ole started working in the company in 1969 and took over in 1982, but Börge still showed up at the boatyard daily and in his calm way closely followed everything until he passed away last weekend.

Börge was through many years a driving force in the Danish Dragon Class, also acting as Chairman for many years, and he has also served as Vice-President in the International Dragon Class.

Börge was honoured with the Royal Order of Dannebrog and has received the Danish Sailing Association Medal of Honour as appreciation of his lifelong dedication to the sport and as renowned boatbuilder.

Sailing, and Danish Sailing in particular has lost a pioneer, a fantastic boatbuilder and sailor and a great personality and gentleman, who dedicated his whole life to the sport of sailing. Börge Börresen continues to be a legend in Denmark and his hometown Vejle, also after he passed away.

All honours to his memory.

Dan Ibsen, Secretary General
Danish Sailing Association

Tribute by Jorgen Bonde

Borge Borresen died March 5, 2007. I met Borge for the first time in 1966 when, together with my skipper, Poul Nielsen, we went to look over Poul's new Dragon, DEN 183 Bajads. Inge, Borge's wife, welcomed us, warm and questioning while Borge was more reserved and mainly talked about boats with Poul. A fragrant mix of wood, varnish and Inge's coffee enveloped us.

I remember him, too, in 2004, at the Dragon's 75th anniversary celebration in St. Tropez, sitting down to lee while steering his Dragon, as always dressed in a beret, shirt and tie: a gentleman on the water, but also a gentleman on land. It is these pictures of Borge that I live with today.

Borge died on Sunday, peacefully at home in Vejle, 87 years old. We have all missed a great skipper, an incomparable Dragon builder, a person known by thousands of sailors, from ship's boy to kings, but nonetheless always helpful, calm and humble towards what he had created, The International Dragon Class.

Borge built his first Dragon in 1936 and founded Borge Borresens Boat Builders in 1939. Since then he has built more than 750 Dragons with the famous BB stamp on the bow. Of these, about 450 Dragons are built in glassfibre and it was Borge who stood behind this modernisation of the Dragon, securing the continuation of the class and its unique success the world over.

The Borresen yard also built other boats that were or became large one-design classes, such as the Knarr, the BB 10 Meter, the Soling, Yngling, Finn dinghy and BB dinghy.

But it was always the Dragon that remained his life's great interest.

Borge's results on the racing circuit and his stubborn fight for the survival of the Class in the difficult years after it lost its Olympic status have made him a legend in the Dragon Class.

Without attracting a great deal of attention, Borge and Inge drove to sailing regattas the length and breadth of Europe, often with the children, Ole, Anders and Lars, as crew. There were days of helping, repairing, clambering in masts and selling new boats. And sailing and winning: 51 Gold Cup starts, including four wins; several European and world championship victories; many National and International championships — the string of top results is endless.

For many years Borge was chairman of the Danish Dragon Club and later an honorary life member of the club, as he was of the Danish Sail Union and his home club, Neptun. In 1993 he became vice president of the International Dragon Club and was later honoured by the Queen of Denmark with a Cross of the Order of Dannebrog.

It was a well deserved honour for a sailor gentleman, who in his own quiet and determined way battled for a generation to extend and preserve the Dragon as the one-design boat it still is today. His life's work was dedicated to giving continued pleasure to the thousands of us sailors who do battle on the water, many in Dragons with a BB-stamp on the bow.

Jorgen Bonde, Chairman.
Danish Dragon Association.

Tribute by IDA Officers

The International Dragon Class Association, its sailors and enthusiasts have lost not only a Vice-President of the Association but also a friend. Without his contributions and his dedication to building Dragons, the Class would certainly not be in its current state. We owe Börge Börresen very much and we will have good memories of him.

Rupert Fischer, Chairman.
International Dragon Class Association.

I think it is important that Børge as Vice- President is given total credit for being the creator of the modern Dragon Class.

It is hard to overrate his contribution, which comes from a wide range of activities: boatbuilding, concept development, promotion of the Class, World Class racing, formal Organisational positions, networking

and Friendship. And from being a humble and sympathetic person.

Peter Warrer, Vice-Chairman .
International Dragon Class Association.

When good men apply wisdom, passion, skill and love to complex endeavours, excellence is often the result.

Börge Börresen is a fine example of such a man. He excelled as a boat builder, a sailor, and in the professional areas of his service to the Class. We are all the richer for his involvement, and the poorer for his passing. Rest in Peace, Mr Börresen, and Thank you!..

Robert Alpe, Vice-Chairman.
International Dragon Class Association.

For other tributes please see the General section of the IDA web forum