Friday 19 January 2024 saw members of the British Dragon Association (BDA) and their guests come together at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge, London, for the BDA’s Annual General Meeting and Dinner.

The evening kicked off with the AGM, where outgoing Chairman Simon Barter was delighted to report that participation in UK based Dragon racing has seen a strong resurgence, with numbers regularly racing in club and regional events at the highest levels for some years. The meeting then elected its new Class Chairman Andy Moss, of the Burnham on Crouch Dragon fleet. Andy, owner of Hands Off GBR 760, has been racing Dragons for 20 years and has been a regular traveller to the regional and national events, Oostende and France.

“The Dragon is one of the most exciting boats I have sailed, this is a refrain you will hear from the many professional and amateur sailors who race or have raced in the class. I hear many sailors at the various yacht clubs I visit, comment; ‘they would love the opportunity to sail a Dragon’. I hope my tenure as Chairman of the BDA will see more sailors fulfil that desire and join those whose passion and pleasure is racing Dragons.”

Also confirmed at the meeting were the dates and venues for the 2024 British Championship events, which are:

1-2 June South Coast Championship – Cowes, IOW
22-23 June Classic/Vintage Championship – Aldeburgh
7-8 July Northern Area Championship – Abersoch, Gwynedd
9-12 July Edinburgh Cup (Open British Championship) – Abersoch, Gwynedd
21-23 September East Coast Championship – Medway, Kent
28-29 September Scottish Championship – Edinburgh, Scotland

After the AGM pre-dinner drinks were served in the bar, and then guests were called through to the Royal Thames’ delightful dining room, which overlooks Hyde Park. With some 50 Dragon sailors and guests in attendance, including visitors from the Irish Dragon fleet, the highlights of the evening were a delicious three course meal followed by the presentation of the prestigious Citron Trophy, and the premier of an exciting new video.

The Citron Trophy is awarded to the Dragon which has achieved the best cumulative results in the combined British championship events during the past season. The winner for the 2023 season was Gavia Wilkinson-Cox of the Cowes fleet and her team racing GBR831 Jerboa. A member of the British fleet for almost 50 years, this is the second time that Gavia has engraved her name on this prestigious award.

After the trophy presentation Gavia then switched hats from award winning sailor to Chair of the organising committee for the 75th Dragon Edinburgh Cup and British Grand Prix, which was run from the Royal Yacht Squadron in August 2023. This special celebration regatta attracted an exceptional entry and brought together sailors from across the 75-year history of the British Open Dragon Championship. As one of only four International Dragon Grand Prix events in 2023, it also attracted some of the best sailors from around the world to compete, and Gavia and her media team took the opportunity to create a very special video to mark the occasion.

In introducing the premier of the video Gavia explained, “A key part to promoting the British Dragon Class, in perpetuity, has been the production of a film of the regatta. Whilst of course being a record of the 75thEdinburgh Cup – the aim has been to highlight and profile the diversity of the class: young, not so young, male, female! I am grateful to Rick and James Tomlinson for the production of this film. I hope the BDA and our fleets can make constructive use of this film – which will live for posterity on Youtube and other social media sites. Tonight marks the premier of the film. Not quite the BAFTA’s, but important non the less! Enjoy!”