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Great Britain, British National Championships 2013

Brixham YC, Devon

5th - 8th September

Preview by Mike Edwards

On Thursday this week OK sailors from far and wide will arrive in Brixham, Devon for the start of the 2013 International OK Dinghy National Championships.

Brixham is one of the best sailing venues in the country situated on the beautiful English Riviera, with racing taking place in Torbay. Brixham YC is a very welcoming and well organised club, very experienced in running national and international championships. The weekend also sees Brixham hosting 'Fishstock', the English Riviera's renowned urban music and seafood festival, so the town promises to be buzzing.

Racing starts on Thursday afternoon with eight races to count over the four days. From the entries so far there are three ex National Champions competing, Robert Deaves, Terry Curtis and Nick Craig. Last year’s surprise Champion Lee Child will not be defending his title due to his wife giving birth very recently. This is a shame as Child has showed great form again this year finishing in eighth place at the OK European Championships in Carnac, France in July, one place behind Craig.

Others in the running will be Jon Fish who has been knocking on the door for a number of years, with bad luck probably being the reason why he has not won the title yet, but he will be one to watch. Young Ed Bradburn could produce the goods having posted some great results over the last couple of years, but will his lack of Championship experience be a factor? Richard “Burt” Burton is another young guy capable of winning races and having a good week, but will the free beer be his downfall?


We have a number of sponsors supporting the event and these include Hook Norton Brewery. Competitors will enjoy free beer when coming ashore after a hard days racing and will each receive a Hook Norton pint glass and Championship polo shirt.

Other sponsors include HD Sails who have been working with Nick Craig over a number of years to develop an OK championship winning design. HD has generously supported the class with an excellent prize. Jim Hunt of HD sails is an ex OK World Champion and has stepped back into an OK at this year’s European Championships where he finished in a credible eleventh place. Not bad considering he was in a borrowed boat and had very little time in the boat beforehand. Jim has a new OK on order and will be sharing it with Andy Davis the other half of HD Sails. Jim and Andy are unable to compete this week however, but it will be interesting to see how they get on over the next couple of years.

The third sponsor is P&B who have helped the class out with prizes. P&B make championship winning OK sails for Terry Curtis and have provided sponsorship for the OK Class on a number of occasions.

Regatta Report

“What a wonderful place to go sailing”

Ok sailors from all four corners arrived in sunny and hot Brixham for the 2013 National Championships. A warm welcome from the race team, briefing and the scene was set.

Race 1 - At the start the fleet formed two groups with those at the pin end carrying on starboard out to sea, whilst those at the committee boat tacking early and taking the inshore route. At the windward mark the leader of the right Dave Bourne just managed to round first ahead of Tony Woods the leader of the left group. New Zealand’s Finn Gheury and Neil Goodhead were chasing hard. The positions remained the same around the Wing mark. At the leeward mark Goodhead just squeezed ahead of Woods into second.

The leading pack of three moved away from the rest of the fleet and thanks to some strong covering on the final leg Bourne, Goodhead, and Woods finished in that order.

Race 2 – Terry Curtis sailed off the pin end of the line, tacked and crossed the fleet and led for the first three laps until the third beat when Robert Deaves favoured the right had side while Curtis covered Dave Bourne out to the left. The wind went right and Deaves led round the final triangle to win. Bourne rounded the final mark in second but failed to cover Curtis on the line and lost second place, while a fast approaching Gavin Waldron took fourth.

Results after day 1
  1. Dave Bourne, 1, 3, 4pts
  2. Robert Deaves, 6, 1, 7pts
  3. Terry Curtis, 7, 2, 9pts
  4. Neil Goodhead, 2, 8, 10pts
  5. Mike Edwards, 5, 9, 14pts

Day two of the OK Nationals started with sunshine and very little wind. However, the committee boat with its excellent group of volunteers left the harbour on time at 10.00am. The fleet launched and struggled to get beyond the harbour walls. Everyone hung around in the sun until 1.30pm when signs of wind appeared. The course set quickly by the slick Brixham team and the first gun sounded. The fleet got away cleanly but unfortunately the wind soon disappeared again. The fleet sat around again and reached the point of no return when from nowhere the breeze filled in.

Race 3 - started in a steady force 2 from the south. Benefitting from the late port lift and rounding first was Tony Woods followed by Chris Perry in unchartered waters and a trailing group of boats. The wind held relatively steady down the first reach with Tony Woods rounding 1st again ahead of Robert Deaves and Ed Bradburn. The second reach proved interesting with Deaves managing to sail underneath Woods as the wind shifted 180 degrees and died to virtually nothing. The PRO decided to shorten at what was originally the leeward mark. This left Deaves taking first from Woods second and Bradburn third despite the calls for abandonment from those who had not benefitted from the shifty final leg.

Race 4 - there was a 180 degree change in wind direction for race 4 and an increase in strength to around 15 knots giving everyone a chance to stretch their legs apart from heavy weight Burt. The offshore shifty breeze made for an interesting first beat with all the championship leaders stranded on the left when a large cloud brought the ride side in strong. Richard Burton (Chairman of the Dave Bourne appreciation society) led round from Simon Davis and Ed Bradburn. The wind had already started to decrease by the leeward mark with Burton still holding a narrow lead, but on the very shifty next beat Davis took the lead, though Bradburn was ahead at the bottom of the run. Davis again took the lead on the following beat and lead round the next lap to win by less than a boat length from Bradburn. Meanwhile Robert Deaves, who had rounded the top mark in 15th had made gains each upwind and had moved to fifth at the final downwind mark before eventually passing Burton on the line as the wind returned to take an impressive third place and a seven point lead at the half way stage in the championship.

Results after day two
  1. Robert Deaves, 6, 1, 1, 3
  2. Simon Davis, 17, 6, 5, 1
  3. Ed Bradburn, 8, 10, 3, 2
  4. Terry Curtis, 7, 2, 4, 10
  5. Tony Woods, 3, 12, 2, 12

So, at the half way stage of the 2013 OK Dinghy National Championships Robert Deaves holds a commanding lead over the rest. Can anyone catch him?
Nick Craig had now appeared after missing the first two days having recently recovered from a severe bout of gastroenteritis, he could only hope to win a few races and show the fleet he was still boss. Did he manage it?

Race 5 - The fleet left the shore in a fickle northerly, but after a short postponement the wind built steadily to a solid but very shifty 15-20 knots. After a clean start at the first attempt Richard Burton came in from the right to lead at the windward mark by a couple of boat lengths from Robert Deaves, Simon Cox and Deryck Lovegrove producing his best start to a race for many a year. Burton played the shifts well on the second beat to lead by a significant margin with Tony Woods and Terry Curtis moving to second and third after picking up a shift from the left. Competition was tight off wind with battles going on throughout the fleet.
On the final beat Craig came through to take second from Curtis who was forced to cover Deaves on the right side of the course. Burton (Burt) took the bullet comfortably and in doing so won his first Nationals race. This was a popular win as Burt is one of a group of young OK sailors now challenging the more experienced guys.

Race 6 – Brixham del Garda delivered again in race 6 with racing in a glorious force 4 and sunshine in spite of the dreary weather forecast. In a crucial race for the National Title, Robert Deaves nailed every shift on the first beat to lead into the windward mark from Simon Cox again having another great first leg, then Dave Bourne with Terry Curtis in fourth. Curtis pushed hard all race closing in on Deaves downwind with great speed but Deaves covered tightly to hold on until the finish.  Craig made a late charge to get on the transoms of Deaves and Curtis but lost out on a split tack with Dave Bourne almost getting in on the act in fourth.
The fleet sailed home after another satisfying day on the water and again tucked into free pasties and another free barrel of Hook Norton Lion Beer which was part of the sponsorship for the week.
Everyone then moved onto the annual ‘Fishstock’ music and seafood festival just along the quay.

Race 7 – the fleet launched in 5knots which built very suddenly to around 15 knots +. The start got away first time and Nick Craig won the favoured pin end, but it was Dave Bourne again show great upwind pace to lead the fleet around the windward mark from Craig, Burt and Terry Curtis. After a blast downwind Craig was right on Bourne’s tail with Tony Woods in a close third, with Curtis and Burt not far behind. These positions remained for another lap then on the following upwind Craig finally got passed Bourne. Woods stayed constant in third and Burt had eased by Curtis to fourth.
As the wind increased in strength the next two reaches were screamers which allowed Curtis to show his off wind speed. By the bottom mark Curtis had passed both Burt and Woods to move into third. The last beat proved very tricky with the wind shifting often. Craig took the gun to finally win a race. Curtis and Burt picked up a big right shift allowing them both to move ahead of Bourne who held on for fourth.

“Going into race 9 I had to be no more than two boats behind Terry to win with a race to spare. It was really shifty upwind, and from 10-15 knots, and I rounded the top mark about seventh, just after Terry, but then he got a boat between us fairly fast while I got blanketed by a group going high. I made a real mess of the reach and dropped to around 15th while Terry moved up to fifth. It was looking pretty bad and I had a bit on to recover from there.”
Said Robert Deaves about this deciding 7th race;
“Then the wind picked up and became slightly more predictable with large black clouds coming through on the right making the decisions a little easier. On the second beat I took about 6-7 boats playing the right, a few more offwind and finally rounded the last top mark in sixth with Terry in fifth. I thought I was safe now but it wasn’t over yet. On the fast final two reaches, Terry gave it everything and took two more places to move to third, and then took another on the final beat. I was still a distant sixth and in trouble again.”
“Luckily there was a 30 degree right shift on the final beat that I got spot on, while one boat gambled on the left and lost. The shift lasted until I crossed him about 100 metres from the finish. I was up to fifth and Terry had run out of boats to overtake as Nick had a safe lead. I had won but it was a bit too close for comfort.”

As the fleet congregated at the committee boat to prepare for the next race, the news around the course was that Robert Deaves had done enough to win the 2013 International OK National Championships for a second time and with a race to spare – well done Robert!
Curtis had also secured second overall with a race to spare.

Race 8 – The wind remained very shifty for the last race with clouds pulling the wind from side to side, but yet again it settled and built to a lovely force 4 and more sunshine. 
A big left shift up the first beat caught many out but Dave Bourne got it spot on to lead at the windward mark by a large margin, with Tony Woods and Simon Davies next to round. Bourne extended down the reaches to open up a large gap on the pack. Terry Curtis got in phase and found that left shift again on the second beat and was fast downwind to move through. On the final beat there were some sizeable shifts which must have put Bourne under pressure but he held on well for his second race win and with it secure third overall from rising star Richard (Burp/Burt) Burton who is also chairman of the ’Dave Bourne Appreciation Society’. Curtis sailed home in second, with Nick Craig coming through to take third from Woods on the finish line.
At the prize giving the wonderful array of OK silverware was handed out by Class Chairman Tony Rich, along with prizes from HD Sails and P&B.
Robert Deaves was last to come up to be presented with the trophy and prize and become the International OK Dinghy National Champion for 2013. Robert thanked his fellow competitors and everyone at the club for making this a championships to remember..
So, a really wonderful four days sailing and social was at an end. Two of the youth had managed to break into the top six for the first time in years, so well done to Burt and Ed Bradburn. A couple of veterans had also cut the mustard placing in the top ten and the title returned to a very worthy Champion.
Thanks must go Brixham’s excellent Race Officer Sean Semmens and his brilliant team of volunteers. With extremely difficult conditions to deal with Sean was calm, communicated well and made the right call practically every time using his knowledge of the area and his expertise. His team were slick, helpful and made everything easy and enjoyable.
The clubs catering and bar staff kept us fed and watered to a very high standard and nothing was too much trouble. If you want to know how to run a championship, go and see how Brixham Yacht Club does it.

PosSailno.Boat NameNameClubR1R2R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8Nett
12138iitooRobert DeavesWaldringfield SC6113415621
22118ContrabandTerry CurtisWeymouth/Upper Thames SC72410322222
32157Dyer MakerDave BourneUpriver SC131414644133
42136Bella IIRichard BurtonWest Oxfordshire SC12584193535
52145GertTony WoodsGlossop SC312212568440
62116TurtleheadEd BradburnSouth Staffs SC81032118132855
72141 Simon DavisUpper Thames SC1765116207759
82125Red DwarfNeil GoodheadSouth Staffs SC28716131310861
92126Thumping HomerMike EdwardsLeigh & Lowton SC59157147121165
102152Synergy MarineSimon CoxWaldringfield SC91112675282878
112100 Toby RamsayDabchicks SC11142851511161082
122084The FugitiveKeith ByersMorecambe & Heysham YC1371313171414983
132150Clarken/SandlineNick CraigFrensham Pond/Lee on Solent28282828231393
142163 Gavin WaldronMorecambe & Heysham YC1941782119111593
152121 Anthony RichWest Oxfordshire SC20189151010211799
162112Emily JaneJohn-Paul WilliamsWest Oxfordshire SC1420101723151513104
172028Beau GesteFinn GheuryDatchet Water SC42422918231712105
182130Midnight ExpressDeryck LovegroveBurghfield SC18196198171928106
192149IcandyMartin BowerBlithfield SC15232828912616109
202135Going For BrokeBill BradburnSouth Staffs SC1617181119222014115
212148 Chris PerryGlossop SC101311282828928127
22245MojoBen SteelSouth Staffs SC2116191820161828128
232031TumbleweedDave CooperOvery Staithe SC2226162824182219147
242007TantalusEdward CrichtonUpper Thames SC2515202125252420150
252104Yole de VivrePaul PikeCovenham SC2621232022242318151
262027Yellow WellieNick FramptonWeymouth SC2322242812212828158
272088WindfallRoland GadsbyUpper Thames SC2425212828282828182

OCS, DNC, DNF, DSQ etc: 28 Points