the dragon story

the boat

the sailors


the boat

The Dragon is the pre-eminent one design keelboat in the world. There are Class Associations in 31 countries across the globe and more than 1,300 boats registered as actively sailing. Sailors range from Olympic medallists to enthusiastic club sailors, and aged from 8 to 85, but all find that in different ways the Dragon provides a type of sailing that they enjoy. The Dragon has held this position almost from the moment it was first conceived in 1929. Ninety years of success and no sign of it coming to an end.

The Dragon embodies all the qualities that have made day-racing keelboats the preferred form of competition for many of the best helmsmen from dinghy sailors to America’s Cup competitors.  Beautiful, seaworthy, fast and always fashionable, the dragon seduces the most demanding.  

dragon linesplan

World Sailing Status




No. of Crew

285 kg max / 4 person max


Johan Anker

Hull Material

GRP and/or Wood

Hull Length

8.9 m

Beam Length

1.95 m

Draught Length

1.2 m

Mainsail Area

16 m2

Headsail Area

11.05 m2

Spinnaker Area

33.2 m2

Boat Weight

1700 kg

Hull Weight

1650 kg

the sailors

The Dragon spread very rapidly and widely from its beginnings in Scandinavia. Club fleets were established in several European countries, Australia, North America and Asia.  More recently Russian helmsmen have become a force in the class. Among the names that have been prominent are such as Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen, Ole Berntsen, Aage Birch and Borge Borresen from Denmark, Thor Thorvaldsen from Norway, Markus Wieser, Vincent Hoesch and Tommy Muller from Germany, Fred Imhoff from the Netherlands and Lowell North, Bob Mosbacher and Buddy Friedrichs from the US. In addition more than a dozen Olympic medallists from other classes have subsequently enjoyed much success in the Dragon, a testimony to its wide appeal.

Below the elite level, dominated by ex-Olympic and professional sailors, there is a vast range of opportunity offered by the class. A glance at the IDA’s list of fixtures shows regattas at varying levels throughout the year and the world. These range from local club events or weekly points races through to national and regional championships. The typical competitors are amateurs with strong sailing backgrounds, with perhaps a bit of help sometimes from a professional friend. The range of venues is great, from peaceful central European lakes to the more arduous locations of coastal northern Europe and Australia. Wherever it is, there is the certainty of meeting many very friendly, slightly obsessive sailors.

In Belgium the Belgian Dragon Association unites and regroups all the dragon sailors. This small group of enthousiast dragon sailors is organising this Dragon Gold Cup in cooperation with the Royal North Sea Yacht Club.  Are you interested in trying a dragon or in joining the Belgian Dragon Association of one of its activities?  Find the contact details on the contact page of this website.

05/08/2019 - Ostend (BEL) - Brugse Zot Cup 2019 - Day 3
04/08/2019 - Ostend (BEL) - Brugse Zot Cup 2019 - Day 2
04/08/2019 - Ostend (BEL) - Brugse Zot Cup 2019 - Day 2
04/08/2019 - Ostend (BEL) - Brugse Zot Cup 2019 - Day 2

The dragon class has been considered to be a the royal sailing class, as several European royalties have been active over different generations in the class. 

It was in 1960 that HRH King Constantine of Greece became Olympic Champion in Naples, and he has been President of the International Dragon Class since then.  Also HRH Prince Henrik from Denmark has been an active dragon sailor during his live, and his son H.R.H. Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark succeeded him as Vice President of the International Dragon Association. 

King Juan Carlos of Spain used to be a regular participant in dragon races.  He competed in the 1972 Olympics in Kiel, finishing in fifteenth place. In the UK the Royal Dragon was named “Blue Bottle”, and was sailed by The Duke of Edinburgh and his son Crown Prince Charles.   

Even the royal courts of Norway and Sweden were very active in the international dragon scene.  In Belgium Elan (Bel 20) was the royal dragon, which was presented to King Baudoin I in 1951.   The dream of owning a yacht identical to those of royalty became a reality.

In Belgium the RNSYC in Ostend offered and presented Elan (Bel 20) as the royal dragon to King Baudoin I in 1951.