The Classics scene continues to be active. Classics have raced in the East Coasts, Northerns and Edinburgh Cup. Both Harkaway, a veteran built by Nunn Bros in 1947, and Souwester, a youthful 1967 boat built by Borresen acquitted themselves with much credit. The latter in particular showed that it was possible to be highly competitive in a very hot fleet. There are a number of events still to be held this summer for classics. The British Classic Championship will be held within Aldeburgh Week from 12th to 17th August. Each start by the Classic competitors will count towards the separately scored Classic event, the Dragon class series and the Personal Handicap series in the Week. For those keen to try their skills against Continental European competition, the AEK Dragon Classics will be held in the same week on Lake Thun with its spectacular view of Bernese Oberland. On September 7th to 9th the Open de Morbihan will provide a separate start for Classics in a lovely setting in Brittany.
For those who want to participate in Classics with the best equipment possible, there are a number of Pedersen and Thuesen Dragons currently on the market. Some are in Britain, some in Estonia and some in Scandinavia. They have all been restored to a significant extent though some are waiting for further instructions on fitting out. Prices vary considerably depending on exact condition and recent record. It is a fanciful thought but a fleet of restored Pedersen and Thuesen Dragons would be a very unusual and glamorous development for a club or group of sailors.
Christian Boillot and the Fauroux Naval Architecture Group are launching a new development called the Dilong. This is a Dragon hull with a bowsprit and a gaff rig with a jackyard topsail. As well as potentially building new boats they hope that this will be of interest to those Classics that like to cruise on waters with light winds such as the European lakes and the South of France. The boats won’t be Dragons any longer if they are re-rigged but such a change may provide a new lease of life and interest for these boats
Worldwide, I continue to hear about restoration projects conducted with great enthusiasm. I also know, from a recent visit to Attersee, that there are many Classic Dragons still extant in a good state of repair. I hope that they get used since they can provide a source of attraction to the class even if they are no longer raced. There is no doubt that a well maintained Classic has a certain style that no GRP boat, however carefully built, can match.