After a cold but mercifully short race on Saturday 20th November, the Dragon fleet dusted down their dinner jackets for the annual Dragon Dinner, the key social engagement of the season, eagerly anticipated on so many levels.
No sooner had the pudding been downed than we got started on the important part of the evening. Woodcock gave a classic performance of wit, sense and sensibility before asking for assistance with the prize giving. Now usually this takes a very long time, but Woody had arranged a conveyor belt of immense efficiency and we galloped through, the modest winners kissing as many ladies as they could.
The generosity of North sails was acknowledged by a large contribution from all gathered and Mary Crabb emerged the lucky winner of a brand new spinnaker: we eagerly anticipate the first race of next season to see if David is successful in getting permission to use the spinny on Seafire.
It was shortly after that the rather extraordinary sight of three Dragon sailors serenading the gathered throng was to be captured on high definition camera and thus transmitted to the BBC for consideration as the British entry for the next Eurovision song contest.
However this was merely a warm up for the main act of the evening – the annual award of the Clanger Ceremony. The duty had befallen to Mike Holmes, Hand of Fortune, and he and Isabel set up a Mastermind stage. Four protagonists were called to the renowned black chair: Mark Wade, Avalanche, Ian Gray, Scorpio, Dick Rycroft, Logie and Rob Cambell, Quicksilver/Beauty & The Beast.
In a reversal of the norm, the general knowledge questions were asked first. The highest score was 4, the lowest 1, such was the excellence of the gathered rabbits caught in the headlights. The specialist subject round inevitably scored much higher, as each skipper was able to admit in great detail to the errors of their ways during the season. As we waited happily for the winner to be announced, a rank outsider in the absent form of Tim Tavinor, Various Unpronounceable Names, came galloping past the four contestants to win by a country mile, according to Magnus Holmes.
Not content with providing so much merriment, Woody’s final act as class skipper was the offering of a most entertaining and expert Bavarian Oompah Band, which got most of us onto the floor at one time or another, even if it was not to dance. Hugely enjoyed by all the Dragon sailors and their guests, this annual dinner was certainly another one to remember!