Copied from North Sails News 19 October 2019
Andy Beadsworth is the reigning Dragon World Champion, and a well known name among the International Dragon Class fleet, he has multiple national and international titles under his belt. We spoke to Andy about his top tips for going around the race course and how he sets up his boat for a day on the water.
What are you looking for whilst setting up your mast on a race day?
The most important thing is to make sure the sail plan looks the same on both tacks. Although that sounds fairly obvious, it takes a massive amount of effort and work to achieve that and is one of the big things. We put a lot of time and effort into is making sure the rig is symmetrical on port and starboard tacks and basically every race day we go through the rig and check our base settings that we record. We are quite diligent in checking a length as well as a tension so that we have got a good record (of our settings) and that also something that we can check on the water.
What do you use to tune your boat on a race day?
On a daily basis we would look at the rig and the sails and adjust what we felt is necessary in order to achieve what we want on the day and to achieve the characteristic of the boat that we are experiencing. We constantly make the adjustments to achieve what we are looking for.
As you round the windward mark, what’s the most important adjustment to make?
The most important thing is to get the spinnaker up and set and the jib furled and then making sure all the sails are working as efficiently as possible, then getting the rig forward and remembering to let the ram off before the runners. Spinnaker up, sails set and pulling efficiently before all the small stuff. Generally we let the ram off down the offset leg to make sure it isn’t forgotten and make sure the mainsail tack go down the run.
And the same question for a leeward mark rounding, what are the important adjustments you make?
Make sure mainsail tack is on, the rig goes back and ram comes on preferably before rounding, so that for the exit of the mark you are sailing the boat as well as possible, especially as most people aren’t so there are big gains to be made. This is especially important when not doing as well as you should be, the leeward mark rounding is one where you can make big gains just by being set-up precisely with the boat going as well as it can go.
With 2 more events left in the Cascais winter series, what advice can you give to the Dragon sailors competing at the event?
Set-up for waves, it’s a wavy venue! Have a set up that gives a powerful, twisted sail . It’s generally a windy, bumpy venue unlike some of the venues that we sail at in the Med so expect waves.
Copied from North Sail News 19 October 2019
What does North Sails contribute to the Dragon class? “Our class experts go above and beyond for client support,” says North Expert Jens Christensen, who was the overall winner at the 90th Anniversary Regatta in San Remo, Italy. “Theis Palm and Ruairidh Scott do an outstanding job supporting the class and clients with their knowledge and expertise. We all compete regularly at events, and really do everything we can to help keep the class special yet competitive.”
Jens is already looking forward to the 2020 racing season—even as he credits his team, new boat, and new sails for their most recent victory. To win the 90th Anniversary Regatta, he used the North Sails all-purpose A-14 mainsail, which is a crosscut sail with a radial head that allows the sail to twist open and de-power when needed. The design evolved out of the 2015 main used by 2017 and 2019 World Champions Provezza Sailing Team.
“The new mainsail sets up easy and is simple to trim,” Jens explains. “It is smooth and a little flatter than our A-7+. This sail is a strong choice in light to medium wind conditions.” For tuning, “We follow the North Sails tuning guide, which helps put us right where we want to be.” They also used the V-6M Genoa and BR-9 Spinnaker. “Having a good team and a new boat may have something to do with it too!”
Two qualifying races over the first two days divided the 163-boat fleet into Silver and Gold divisions, which each sailed three more races to determine a champion. Jens’ team won the first gold series race but posted a 24th in race two. Trusting both his team and their boatspeed, Jens rounded the top mark of the final race in fourth place. “We knew all we had to do was finish without making any big mistakes.”
Jens has been involved in the Dragon Class for fourteen years, and he says the great competition is what keeps him coming back. “There were something like 22 Olympic medalists at this event, and we are all well-matched at the top. The Dragon Class always brings the best of the best in small boat one design sailing.” He also enjoys the boat itself, because “ it is technical and there are things you’d only know if you sailed one. It is a fun yet difficult boat to sail, and what makes it special is that the boat design has not changed over the years.”
Another special feature of the 90th Anniversary event was the location. “San Remo hosted a fantastic event,” Jens concludes. “It is a traditional venue and the racing was top notch—as expected.”