Please select your home edition

A natural fit: Henri-Lloyd's support of the Dragon Gold Cup

by Mark Jardine 21 Jul 08:00 PDT
Hans Eckerström and his team training ahead of the Dragon Gold Cup © Mikael Britschgi

The Dragon Gold Cup is an event steeped in history, presented by members of the Clyde Yacht's Conference in 1937 and won by Sweden's Rolf Billner that same year. It is one of the most prestigious trophies in yachting and this year is being hosted at the stunning location of Marstrand, Sweden in August.

Henri-Lloyd's association and sponsorship of the event and class is a natural fit. Marstrand is the home port of Chairman Hans Eckerström, and the Dragon's timeless, elegant design, coupled with the latest technology, mirrors that of the marine clothing brand.

A regular sailor in many small keelboat classes, Hans wasn't going to let an opportunity such as the Gold Cup being hosted in Sweden pass him by, and as with so many of his projects, he has immersed himself fully in the class, buying a Dragon and naturally calling her Maverick, as all his yachts are named.

I spoke to Hans to find out more about the event, the sponsorship, and his sailing so far in the class:

"I'm a rookie in the class, having bought a second-hand boat last summer as I saw that the interest here in Marstrand was picking up and I thought it would be a fun complement to the other boats that I sail. The Gold Cup is a special event with only one race per day, with quite long races. It's going to be exciting!"

Hans is used to the J70s, with short, sharp races on much tighter courses, but is relishing the challenge:

"I am sailing both the J70 and Dragon in parallel, and while they are quite different, they are equally challenging in different ways and I'm quite surprised as to how physical the Dragon is. If you really want to push it, you need to be quite fit and work hard. Also, with no toe-straps you need to hike out in quite an exciting way."

Hans is very aware of the history of the class and believes this is an important part of the Dragon's enduring appeal:

"The Dragon was designed by a Norwegian yacht designer Johan Anker in a competition run by the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club in 1927 which had the aim of producing a less expensive boat for younger people than the metre classes which were predominantly raced at the time. With this heritage I'm hoping there will be some Swedish sailors who are competing at the very top of the fleet in Marstrand; as there are some crews practicing hard it will be interesting to see how well they perform at the event."

Naturally, Hans is excited on both a personal and professional level as the event date comes closer on the horizon:

"Having the Dragon Gold Cup here in Marstrand resonates with the ambition we have with Henri-Lloyd, to promote sailing in different shapes and forms. It is going to be fun to show the world Marstrand at its best; our fingers are crossed for sunshine and good winds! Normally in August it is very nice weather so I'm looking forward to it. We also have the Swedish Championship just two weeks beforehand, so we're hoping for a big line-up of international boats competing as well as a tune-up regatta ahead of the main event. We will give every competitor the warmest Swedish welcome."

Recently Henri-Lloyd have released items from their range in exclusive new colour combinations, which has appealed to those teams looks for a particular style. Henri-Lloyd's sponsorship of the Dragon Gold Cup gives teams the opportunity to purchase event clothing for both on and off the water:

"Henri-Lloyd have produced a line of branded clothing specifically for the event, including the iconic Consort and Consort 2 jackets. We've had a number of teams buying kit, in the Dragon class as well as many other classes, and I think it's picking up nicely. The new colourways are a great way of providing a distinct look for your crew."

Sustainability is at the core of everything that Henri-Lloyd does, from sourcing sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials, using recycled materials and, new for 2021, the REPAIR-REWEAR service, bringing the philosophy of never throwing away a quality product to technical marine clothing. The Dragon Gold Cup organisers are also embracing this philosophy, with the approach of minimising the impact the event.

Marstrand is a natural amphitheatre for sailing with beautiful open sea conditions just outside the harbour, providing the perfect setting to show the Dragon class and Henri-Lloyd technical clothing in their natural element:

"It is a genuinely nice environment here with the old, historic town from the 17th century and then the long, rolling waves just outside the harbour. I think it will be very interesting with the long courses out to sea; judging the current as well will be important."

The Swedes are renowned for their hospitality, and Marstrand will be welcoming to all the visiting sailors from around the world:

"I think there will be a lot of energy at the event with so many people coming out of Covid lockdowns, hungry to get back out on the water in top-level competition. Hopefully, we will see more than 100 boats on the start line which will be an impressive sight. Also, in the harbour seeing these stunning boats next to each other on the docks will be spectacular. Marstrand is fantastic town for social activities, and I know that the organising committee has a lot of plans in place. I'm very much looking forward to showing Sweden at its best!"

You can find out more about the event at and view the Henri-Lloyd Dragon Gold Cup 2021 Collection at

Related Articles

Henri-Lloyd Ocean Bottle
The award-winning Ocean Bottle keeps cold drinks cold, and hot drinks hot We are proud to introduce a new collaboration with Ocean Bottle. The award-winning Ocean Bottle keeps cold drinks cold, and hot drinks hot. Made from double-wall vacuum-insulated stainless steel and recycled content. Posted on 24 Sep
Kids Mav Mid Hood From Henri-Lloyd
Quick-drying and made from 100% recycled polyester Quick-drying and made from 100% recycled polyester this Mav Mid Hood is high wicking and stretchy. Available in three colours for ages 8-14 years. Posted on 15 Sep
Elevated Organic Polo From Henri-Lloyd
A modern take on a timeless classic, and kinder on the planet A modern take on a timeless classic, the luxurious Elevated organic Pique Polo fills the void between the shirt and the t-shirt. It is kinder on the planet. Posted on 27 Aug
The Sea Jacket
All weather protection from Henri-Lloyd The Sea Jacket is inspired by Henri-Lloyd's heritage of producing the world's finest foul weather gear. Fully waterproof and breathable with taped seams and a Eco Bionic water repellent finish. Posted on 18 Aug
Introducing Henri-Lloyd's new Pioneer...
Welcome aboard Holly Manvell, founder of Clean Sailors Henri-Lloyd have searched far and wide for a select group of pioneers who share our vision and love for the ocean and are excited to welcome aboard Holly Manvell, founder of Clean Sailors. Posted on 14 Aug
Henri-Lloyd #BlueAugust
Turning the Tide on Ocean Plastics Together Our environment and the climate are featuring heavily in the news, and it's clear that the time for action is now with sustainability needing to be part of every step that we take in our lives. Posted on 11 Aug
Let's Turn the Tide on Ocean Plastics Together 10% to the Ocean. More than 8 million tons of plastic bottles are dumped into our ocean every year and it's estimated by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish. Posted on 2 Aug
The Technowool Drumone Zip Jacket
The perfect balance of sportswear, timeless style and sustainability Created using the innovative Technowool fabric by Italian fabric manufacturer Pontetorto, the Drumone Zip Jacket is the perfect balance of sportswear, timeless style and sustainability. Posted on 31 Jul
The Top Five Best-Sellers from Henri-Lloyd
Incredibly comfortable stretch polos to timeless swim shorts From incredibly comfortable stretch polos to timeless swim shorts, take a look at the top five best-sellers from the last seven days and get ready for the season ahead. Posted on 18 Jul