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Oct 2008 eNewsletter

Dear Dragon Sailors,

As the financial storm is raging around us, more or less every other sailor I meet on the dock asks: "how is your order book?" Just in case you are wondering too, let me give you the answer: "it is good". The reason I think is, that for over twenty years, Petticrows have delivered a good product, listened and supported its customers with good service, on and off the racecourse.

Due to the sudden rule changes to increase the buoyancy from 1700-2500L last November, we had to make hurried changes to our product. In boat production, there is always a price to pay when this happens, in higher labour costs for one. We invited Ian Howlett, the designer of our first Petticrow Dragon in 1987, to help us to look at the whole concept again in March of this year. He came up with several ideas; for hull changes also. Some of these have been "tested" on the water these past six months. Without exception, these prototypes performed well. As a result we have now made new hull moulds. Tim in his next newsletter will give you the details of all the changes involved. One reason for our healthy order book is that several customers have sold their Dragons and ordered new ones, "thank you for your continued confidence and support in our product".

We are also bringing out a new experimental mast section, I have to be a bit careful when I tell you about this. Normally, every time changes are made, I test the prototype to ensure the product is good enough to go out into the market place. However, this mast section is so different (an ellipse shape for better wind flow into the mainsail) that you will all spot it. I always like to use the same product as the customers, but for sure the early part of next season, I will use this section. Until we are sure, the many changes we introduce are working, this mast is experimental. Those of you brave enough to join the test programme, give me a call. Only a limited number of sections will be available and several have already been sold.

My season has been both busy and successful. Russian Championships sailing in the same boat as my "old" Olympic competitor, Boris Butnikov; we managed to win, not sure how! The Russian Dragon sailors from the Pirogovo Yacht Club are helping with the organisation (and maybe a bit more) of the European Championship in St. Petersburg next year. I can only urge you all to make a big effort and go there. This is for sure a most magical place to sail: and the organisation will be good. Twice I sailed the Russian Championships there; great place.

The Gold Cup this year in Portugal was a great success. Not just because I managed to win; all the competitors I spoke with told me how much they enjoyed sailing in Cascais. All due to the very large amount of work done by the Yacht Club/Jose Matoso and Mario Quina, just to name a few of many. It is really great to see how this Dragon fleet continues to grow, with so many young people joining the Class. Another "more or less" young Dragon sailor is returning to the fold; Carlos Ribeiro Ferreira with his son Miguel. It is a great pleasure for me to see Carlos making a come back. He told me that he still holds the record of number of times winning the Portuguese Dragon Championships!

There is a full winter training schedule for Dragons organized in Cascais; for details please contact Mario Quina; email mario.quina@yahoo.com Petticrows have a service facility there too, with Vicente Pinheiro; email vicente@marmasters.com One reason Sophia and I are always so happy to be in Cascais is the fantastic hospitality we receive from Arlette and Patrick de Barros. If 6 Star accommodation does exist, it is here at Casa des Palmeiras. The usual Cascais windy conditions did let us down for the Gold Cup. Both sides of the course were paying, and some of the best sailors had to "bite" some horrible results. I had Theis and Noddy with me, who did a great job. Gavia with "rock stars" Dr. John and Ron Rosenberg finished second, while our IDA Chairman, Rob Campbell finished third with an all Burnham team of Jonathan and Matt.

Next years Gold Cup is in Skagen, the most Northern tip of Denmark. Sophia and I went up there to inspect the "territory". Skagen is a holiday place, well known for its artist colony. The race area will be right outside the harbour, and I cannot see any reason why we should not have excellent racing. While looking for accommodation for ourselves, we found a very nice place. Within easy walking distance of the boats, best restaurants and a small beach. We negotiated preferential rates for all Dragon sailors, providing the bookings are made before the 1st January 2009. The complex has a Hotel, 4 Star plus 4 and 6 person self-catering apartments. All newly built and tastefully done (no, I have no shares in this project!). For bookings, mention my name and the Dragon Gold Cup, Annette is in charge, email info@lille-nord.dk There is a 5 Star Hotel also, but this means a car ride and the rooms are quite small.

My next race was Cannes. Unfortunately, things did not work out so well with the race committee and weather. Easily avoidable mistakes were made; I will not go into the details as others no doubt will. Suffice to say that we lost at least 3 races, which could have been avoided. Fellow Dragon sailors such as Jean-Pierre Gailles, Gerard Blanc and Philippe Leblic to name just a few, work so hard all year for the benefit of the Class; my sympathy goes out to them. They had to put up with a lot of flack this time. We all hope for better conditions next year. Ulli Libor won, Tommy Mueller second and Misha Mouratov third. Well done.

I will be sailing in St. Tropez next week, with my final race of the season the French Championships in Cazaux. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mick Cotter for once again lending me his boat for these races; my boats were sold and Tim couldn't produce another one in time! Early November we return to Antigua for a full programme of winter Dragon racing/training. If anyone is interested to join us, please let me know.

Stavros is organizing one to one winter training in Mallorca; I will be there next March to join him for the races in Calanova and Princess Sofia.

The link to our Winter Discount for the sails is www.petticrows.com Even though a large part of my sail inventory has been Norths this season, due to Theis sailing with me. I believe the current range of Hoj-Jensen Design sails are the best ever.

I wish you all a good winter; if your travels take you to Antigua, please look us up.

With best wishes,

Poul-Richard