A very different Aldeburgh Race Week for the Dragons

It seems strange in 2020 to be writing a regatta report after months of enforced inactivity. However, five Dragons competed in the shrunken Aldeburgh Regatta, renamed Race Week and lacking the traditional trophies. Otherwise it seemed quite familiar. The five were composed of one new(ish) GRP boat, Naiad, sailed by Mike Hayles, two vintage boats, Basilisk and Panther, sailed by Patrick Gifford and James Hunt and two Classics, Harkaway and Inditine, sailed by Tim Hannon and Hugh Rich. Inditine is new to the Alde and probably better known as Fenrir. She is a very pretty Borresen boat.

We had four days racing in excellent conditions. A fifth day was lost to Storm Ellen. The fleet turned out to have match racing at the front between Mike and Patrick and close racing between Inditine and Panther. Harkaway was in the middle-close enough to challenge the first two but never capable of staying ahead of either of them. The racing was largely determined by decisions taken at the start or very shortly after it. Patrick won the first start with a neat start at the port/starter’s box end and was never seriously challenged by Mike. For the second race Mike started well and Patrick fluffed it and then went quite hard aground in a desperate attempt to escape Mike’s cover. He then had to struggle to get up to second place. Patrick and Mike started on opposite sides of the river for the third race and Mike got it right by about two lengths when they came together. In the last race Patrick got a very early lead and covered relentlessly until Mike dropped back. So Patrick won on countback because of the final race result.

It was great fun to be on the water in a Dragon event again. The racing took place on excellent courses with very few other boats around. If the combination of post-Brexit rules and Covid-19 means that travel to grander regattas becomes much more difficult, do consider Aldeburgh Week. We would really love to see any visitors.

Patrick Gifford 25.08.2020