Poul Richard (Centre) with Harriet and Noddy in Antigua.
Great to know our President is honing his Dragon skills in Antigua, as he prepares to re-join the International Dragon Circuit this season. So far Poul-Richard has committed to participate in La Baule, Deauville and Kinsale. We also hope he can join us in Abersoch and Dublin. Here is a full report of his recent success out in the Caribbean, by his crew Noddy Norden:
If anyone wonders what IDA President Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen (aka ‘The Man‘) gets up to when he is not in Europe racing his Dragon, he races a variety of amazing yachts at home in Antigua. Most recently, racing a Dragon (one of eight available for charter in Antigua) in the 35th Antigua Classic Regatta, 17-22 April, out of the historic Nelson’s Dockyard with UK crew Noddy and Harriet Norden.
Forty-three entrants were split over seven fleets, and whilst there were a number of 30-40′ boats, the Dragon was the smallest, dwarfed by two Klaus Roder 157′ Tall Ships. With a requirement of entry being a genuine classic or a modern vessel with classic styling, the 1929 designed Dragon did not look out of place against ‘Eros’, a 1939 Staysail Schooner, and ‘Chloe Giselle’, a 2014 70′ Spirit Yacht.
The regatta is a celebration of sailing, and at the Skippers’ Briefing emphasis was placed on fair sailing, zero contact, and a significant amount of fun over four days of racing. The first two races were held in unusually light breezes, blazing sunshine and a little current. Perseverance and innovation were key skills in Race One. After decades of competition, Poul’s focus during a race is still rarely matched and this helped guide Dragon ‘Jabberwock’ to a race win, while ‘Chloe Giselle’ dropped her huge mainsail downwind, running under spinnaker only, to take line honours. Race Two produced a second win for Poul and crew.
The “Man” at full concentration with Harriet trimming….
Standard Antiguan conditions returned for Races Three and Four, with a very warm 15-18 knot breeze. The first mark of Race Three was described by the Race Committee as being “at 4 miles and 195-ish degrees”. Boats sailed for 25 minutes before those with the keenest eyesight sighted the buoy at a bearing closer to 180! In this race, the nimble Dragon was able to make up position on boats that benefited from the first leg reach, bringing up a hat-trick of race wins. Race Four, a mere 26 mile course, started with a six mile first leg reach, again not favouring the diminutive Dragon. Poul’s understanding of the wind trends around the South of the Island were influential in outsmarting the competition in ‘Modern Classics Division B’ leading to a fourth win, and with it the overall regatta victory.
On completion of Race Four the regatta fleet paraded into Nelson’s Dockyard in a vibrant display of team kit, music, coordinated dancing and horns. Daily, rum-based happy-hours had been well attended with fun games, competitions and steel bands. At the prize-giving, the Dragon team stood proud in the spotlight picking up a barrel of rum for the class win, and a salver for the overall regatta win. A great bit of PR for our beloved class.
Well done President!  See you soon in La Baule…..     🙂     Stavros.