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OK Dinghy Australia 2021

Summer Downunder 2021 (so far)

by Mark Jackson

With many OK Dinghy sailors around the world in the middle of the northern hemisphere winter and varying degrees of COVID related lockdowns, we thought we would share a little bit of life downunder.

The Australian Nationals were planned for the first week in January 2021 at Wangi on Lake Macquarie, about 150 kms north of Sydney in New South Wales (NSW). In mid December, Sydney had a COVID outbreak after many weeks of zero cases and state borders to Sydney and NSW began to shut. The Australian Association decided to make a late call and cancel the Nationals for the first time in 58 years. The event was shaping up as a big one with about 40 entries and more expected if things stayed safe. Both Victorians and South Australians were prevented from travelling to NSW, while Queensland remained open and monitoring the situation in Sydney.

The Wangi Sailing Club were able to quickly pivot and pressed ahead with the Not the Nationals regatta in honour to local long time OK Sailor and friend lost at sea in December, Glenn Yates. 28 boats enjoyed 4 days and 10 races of great OK Dinghy sailing. Tim Davies won on his home waters.
Results here

Meanwhile, stuck in Victoria, Black Rock Yacht Club ran a “Xmas Regatta” for classes and sailors unable to attend their usual National Championships. Three days of sailing were planned with 10 OK Dinghies entered. The sailing saw classic Black Rock Port Phillip Bay breezes with a moderate to strong on shore southerly on the first day, moderate sea breeze day two and moderate to strong sea breeze on day three. A total of 7 races were held, with Mark Jackson taking 6 out of 7 races, with ever young Bruce Ashton taking the other race win.

The dispersed alternatives to the nationals concluded with the South Australian (SA) “Summer of Sail” and the Sail Adelaide Regatta held at Adelaide Sailing Club. There were 9 entries, 7 locals, one from Victoria and one NSW. Unfortunately, the SA border to NSW closed on New Years Eve, locking Glenn Williams out and having to remain at home and watch from afar.

Adelaide did what Adelaide does and produced sublime sailing conditions with a mixture of SE to SW moderate to strong gradient breeze enhanced by the reliable sea breeze. Local Brent Williams won 6 of the 8 races, some by a substantial margin, proving that good gear and regular practice does actually work. Mark Jackson sailing the second summer regatta from Melbourne won the other two races, winning the first and the last heats sailed. The real battle however was taking place in the middle places, with David Ketteridge in his nice shiny Mackay Icebreaker taking third on a count back from Sean Homan in an equally as shiny Ovington.

Just thought we would share that with everyone and let you know what we having been up to downunder.