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
email@example.com Petticrows have a service facility there
too, with Vicente Pinheiro; email firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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 email@example.com 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,