The Australasian Dragon Championship for the Prince Philip Cup will be a super competitive regatta this year because the fleet of 21 Australian Dragons will be joined by another 15 International teams using the regatta as practice for the Dragon World Championship held on the same waters off Fremantle in Western Australia in just over a weeks time.
The regatta runs from Saturday 29 December to Wednesday 2 January, 2019 with a lay-day scheduled for Tuesday 1 January. The regatta is hosted by the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club held on the ocean waters using the facilities of Fremantle Sailing Club.
Eight races are scheduled using the courses that will be used for the Dragon World Championships. The race track is just off Fremantle Sailing Club and the same part of the ocean that was used for the 1987 Americas Cup and the Perth 2011 Olympic Classes World Championships.
Both local teams and some early arrivals from overseas have been out training in spectacular sailing conditions that Fremantle enjoys at this time of year. The sky is blue, the waters aquamarine and the infamous ‘Fremantle Doctor’ has been blowing regularly on most afternoons. The waters are quite shallow creating a steep chop across much of the race course providing a good test for local and international sailors alike.
The current world champions, Andy Beadsworth, Ali Tezdiker and Simon Fry, sailing Provezza and representing Turkey, have been practising off Fremantle with Peter Gilmour’s Yanmar Racing Team representing Japan, for a couple of weeks. Most of the other international teams have just started to arrive from as far away as Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Russia and Hong Kong.
They are joined by Australian teams that have made the long journey from one end of the continent to the other. These include a previous Prince Philip Cup winner, Nick Rogers from Tasmania. This is about a 4,200 km trip which takes several days by road. There are also teams from Victoria and Sydney, NSW.
16 local teams from the regatta host club Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club are racing the Australasian Championship. One of the local favourites Willy Packer is racing with Julian Harding and his son, Jock Packer in Scoundrel. Willy is also a previous winner of the Prince Philip Cup and also came 3rd on the same waters off Fremantle when the Dragon Worlds were last held there in 1995.
by Jonny Fullerton on behalf of the Dragon Worlds Fremantle