Boats gather at Hornbaek harbour, Denmark for the Dragon World Championships which begin at 12 noon today.
Stiff competition but UK sailors are optimistic. UK sailors are in with a chance of good positions at the 2001 Dragon World Championships due to begin Sunday in the waters off the northern Danish marina of Hornbaek.
Although the long-term weather forecast suggested light to moderate winds and quite heavy rain for the first days of the regatta, Jeremy Jordan of Britain's Yeah Baby was optimistic.
"Of course the weather makes a lot of difference, the rain won't worry us but naturally the direction and speed of the wind is an important factor, so we're hoping for some good forecasts" said Jordan from his position on the foredeck.
The championships are to take place from the small northern Danish harbour of Hornbæk - the smallest marina ever to have held the Dragon Worlds - as they are also known. On the northern edge of the Danish capital island of Zealand, close to the regional centre of Elsinore (Helsingør), the area is blessed with some of the best racing conditions.
"We have open water, there's normally always wind and good current conditions," said Race Officer Henrik Paulsen, Chairman of the Hornbæk Boat Club which is hosting the event.
"Yeah Baby" was built in the UK by Petticrow, Burnham-on-Crouch and is skippered by Rory Bowman with Chris Pank as tactician. It is one of three British Dragons taking part in the event - the other two are skippered by Patrick Gifford and Martin Payne.
Jordan has been sailing for forty years since the age of six and is a member of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch, England. "I've sailed Dragons for several years and in a number of competitions and among other successes, recently won the National Championship in Falmouth and the Easter Regatta in Burnham-on-Crouch", Jordan said.
Most of the Seventy-eight boats from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Estonia, Sweden, Germany, Britain, America, France, Ireland, Holland, Norway, Japan and Denmark have now arrived in Hornbaek for the Worlds.
The regatta is under the protection of Denmark's Royal Consort Prince Henrik, who is also taking part in the event. Crown Prince Frederik, another avid Nordic royal sailor, will also be taking part in the championships in a new boat due to be christened on Sunday.
Boats will be taking part in a tuning-up event on Saturday prior to the first official race on Sunday at noon. Contrary to normal practice there was only to be a single race each day over the 8-day period, with Thursday as a lay-over and rest day