Classic UK Dragons

BDA Classic and Vintage Dragon representative Patrick Gifford gives us a brief run down on who, how and where the first International Dragons came to sail in the UK. And how the fleets grew over the years.

“AH Ball cruised Norway & Sweden in 1933. He was a R Clyde yacht club member and was killed in the war. He bought the Dragon designs home.

“In 1934 J Howden Hume & GF Paisley bought Anita.

“McGruers of Clynder built the first 6 Dragons in the UK, in 1935/6. The early numbers are confusing and I assume that they all numbered slightly after the first few had been built or imported. By the end of the first year on the Clyde, there were 25 Dragons sailing.

“In 1938 25 boats raced on the Clyde. By 1939 there were 120 dragons registered in UK & Ireland, with fleets in Clyde, Belfast lough, Burnham & Solent.

“Dragons were built at Robertson’s Yard on the Clyde and launched in 1937, a year before the ‘Anita’.

“Over the past few years I have been researching the history of Alexander Robertson’s boatyard at Sandbank, Argyll. Alexander Robertson was my great-grandfather, hence the interest. According to an old yard build-book register three Dragons were built in 1937, which means they would have been launched at the start of the season, in April or May 1937.

“In 1948 the Dragon was awarded Olympic status. 1957 there were 169 registered UK Dragons in Solent, Medway, Clyde, Burnham, Torbay, Lowestoft, Granton, Scarborough, Aldburgh, Belfast, Cork & Dublin.”

Patrick is a passionate classic Dragon sailor and also takes great care to log and collate details of known classic Dragons across the UK and the globe. If you would like to see the full list of classic Dragons, who made them, who owned them and where they could be now, click here >>>