World Championship 2005
July 23th - 30th
Reports by Robert Deaves
Day 1, Monday 25 July
'Very, very tricky day'
The 2005 OK Dinghy World Championship opened in Skælskør in Denmark today with two testing races in a range of conditions and frequent use of the black flag. Overnight leader Nick Craig (GBR) described the day as 'very,very tricky' with a strong current flowing up the course causing a large number of general recalls and the many windshifts causing postponments while the course was reset.
Yesterday's pactice race was sailed in all together different conditions. Only 17 boats finished the long course with most of the leaders dropping out before the finish. The windy and rough conditions proved ideal for Ulf Brandt (DEN) who won from Greg Wilcox (NZL) and Roger Blasse (AUS).
With the imposing eastern section of the Storebælt Bridge dominating the horizon to the north, the race area was set in the Agerso Sund, between the island of Egholm and Skælskør Fjord.
Today, the morning conditions were more sedate with a gentle 6 knots blowing and scatterd showers which reduced visibility. However the fleet had to wait for well over an hour before getting away for the first start after a number of general recalls and several changes in wind direction. When the fleet finally started the wind had increased to a good Force 3-4. Five boats were black flagged including Andre Blasse (AUS) who had scored a pair of them before the day was out.
The port biased start line proved very tricky with Jon Fish (GBR) coming out from the pin with speed to lead round the top mark. The strong current favoured those on the left and Fish led from Nick Craig (GBR) and Steve McDowell (NZL). Craig and McDowell moved passed Fish on the reaches, opened up a good lead and started a tacking duel on the next beat. McDowell was ahead at the final leeward mark but Craig realed him in to take the first win of the week. The chasing Pack was led by Roger Blasse (AUS) and Jonas Quist (SWE). Andre Blasse finished fifth but was scored BFD.
The second race of the day was started in less wind, again after a number of general recalls and changes in wind direction. Again the black flag had its victims, again Andre Blasse, but also Jonas Quist and two others. Also again there was a port biased line with a port tack biased beat. Mogens Johansen used his light weather boatspeed to great effect to round the top mark first ahead of Nick Craig and Steve McDowell. There followed two very long offwind legs against the current which saw large place changes as sailors misjudged it and were swept off the layline.
On the second beat the 2002 World Champion Greg Wilcox (NZL), who had moved up to third on the reaches, tacked off to the left first to find a 40 degree shift. Taking the lead he led to the finish followed by Johensen, Craig and Sönke Behrens (GER). However, on the final beat Behrens moved up to second to be followed by Craig and Johansen. Pawel Pawlaczyk (POL) sailed a good race to finish fifth while Roger Blasse got out of jail on the 40 degree shift to finished sixth.
After the long day at sea - the sailors were on the water for some seven and a half hours for just two races, Wilcox commented, "Today was hard, and one thing is for sure, this is going to be a high scoring regatta. However Danish hospitality is living up to expectations." The sailors are all located at the local school with the boatpark on the grass in front of the rooms. Free beer is provided when coming ashore and the nice town of Skælskør is just a short walk down the road.
Day 2, Tuesday 26 July
Nick Craig (GBR) extends his lead
Conditions once again proved tricky for day 2 of the OK Dinghy World Championship in Skælskør, Denmark with wins for Jonas Quist (SWE) and Nick Craig (GBR).
With another change in the weather, the fleet was greeted by warm sunshine and a light north-westerly wind from the direction of the Storebælt Bridge. The fleet got away first time with most sailors favouring the left hand side of the course where the stronger current and greater pressure allowed Nick Craig (GBR) to round first followed by Jonas Quist (SWE) and Jesper Petersen (DEN).
On the reaches Craig sailed low and was rolled by both Quist and Petersen, but these three broke away from the pack. On the next beat the pressure died even more to leave a very patchy and fitful wind. Oliver Gronholtz (GER) banged in a right hand corner to lead briefly and at the next mark it was Quist followed by Gronholtz and Craig.
The final beat was even worse with barely enough wind to fill the sails. Quist extended his lead to win, but Craig just failed to overtake Gronholtz near to the line. Petersen sailed hard right and nearly got to the front, but just missed the bus.
Jonas Quist has returned to competitive sailing after nearly 10 years doing other things. After following the Optimist, Europe, Laser route - and getting into the top five Lasers in Sweden - he turned to coaching, but is really enjoying sailing the OK, with this championship being only his third regatta in the class. He started with a "not very good" result at the first Swedish qualifier in April, returned to win the Nodic Championships in May and now has won a race at the World Championship. He says, " My rig was a bit too stiff in the breeze today, as I have lost some weight since starting. However if the wind stays at around 4-6 metres per second, then I think I can do OK. I am happy with my downwind technique but am having some upwind boatspeed problems. Also I was having trouble getting a good start, and yesterday's black flag did not help, but today was better. Otherwise I am pretty pleased with my perfromance so far." Quite! Not bad after just 6 months in the class and not sailing competitively since 1996.
After a wait of over an hour for the wind to fill it the fleet started race 4 on a heavily port biased line that made the pin end boat crew wished they had brought some artillery along to repel boarders! However Jørgen Lindhardtsen, Craig, Quist and Jon Fish (GBR) tacked out of the carnage to lead up the first beat into a large shift. Craig just led from Lindhardtsen round the top mark followed by Quist and Fish. Craig again sailed some first class offwind legs to let both Quist and Lindhardtsen through.
By now the breeze had increased to force 3 and was still building. Craig pased Lindhardtsen and set off in pursuit of Quist. However on the run, Quist showed his potential by pulling away with Craig fending off Lindhardtsen. Meanwhile Hans Elkjær (SWE) had an amazing leg to move up to fourth.
The final beat proved decisive for Craig as the breeze increased to force 4 he overtook Quist with a combination of superior boatspeed and correctly nailing the final few shifts to take his second race win of the week. Lindhardtsen finsihed third with Fish recovering well to fourth - but a later disqualification gave fourth place to Elkjær.
After four races, Craig is the clear leader, although with the discard taking effect after race 5 race tomorrow, his lead may not be so large. Tonight the local organisers have arranged a match racing competition inside the fjord with a prize of half the winner's weight in beer. Needless to say, each country has ensured its heaviest sailor represents them!
Day 3, Wednesday 27 July
"One of the best day's racing I've ever had."
Greg Wilcox (NZL) moves up to third position with two first places today, although two second places for Nick Craig (GBR) has extended his lead after 6 races. With the discard kicking in today, Jonas Quist (SWE) moves up to second after dropping his black flag disqualification on day 1.
A north-westerly breeze and brilliant sunshine greeted the fleet for day 3 of the OK Dinghy World Championship at Skælskør in Denmark with another day of patchy, testing winds that saw many high profile casualities picking up high scores.
Race 5 got underway in a force 2-3 with most of the favourites sailing up the left side of the course. Steve McDowell (NZL) led round the first mark followed by Roger Blasse (AUS), Greg Wilcox (NZL) and Nick Craig (GBR). The left was favoured again on the second beat with Craig and Wilcox pulling ahead and building a gap on the fleet. Craig briefly moved into the lead on the run but round the last leeward mark Wilcox tacked for the left again while Craig covered the majority up the middle. Wilcox proved right and won the race by some 20 seconds from Craig and Blasse. The final beat saw a 30 degree shift to the left, leaving many boats on the right and middle counting more boats than expected.
After being DSQ'd by the jury for hitting a mark yesterday and picking up an OCS in the second race today, Jon Fish (GBR) is still celebrating his win at last night's unofficial �OK World Match Racing Championship', sailed in the enclosed waters off the school where the regatta has been hosted and just across from the Harboe brewery which has kindly sponsored the OK Worlds and generously provided the match racing prize of half the winner's body weight in beer. Four windward-leeward races were sailed with two countries eliminated at each round. The final saw Fish against Janusz Stobinski (POL), with Fish inflicting two penalities before the start. However it was all over by the first leeward as the Pole capsized to leave Fish the proud winner of over 120 cans of Harbroe beer - a small consolation.
Race 6 was sailed in similar conditions to race 5, with the wind continually flicking left and several corner bangers making massive gains. Craig started mid line and came out on the first shift to lead up the middle. He rounded the top mark just ahead of Jonus Quist (SWE) and Wilcox. At the bottom mark Quist was right behind Craig and these two sailed to the left while Wilcox caught up some distance finding pressure to the right. On the run Quist again showed devastating speed to close right up on Craig and the two became inseparable up the final beat.
Locked in a tack for tack battle, Craig never let up, but Wilcox, allowed to sail his own race, went right, although he initially looked in a poor position,100 metres down on the leaders. However a last minute shift from the right brought him back between Craig and Quist to tack for the line and win his second race of the day by less than half a boatlength.
Before this regatta, Wilcox had only ever won one OK World Championship race, and that was the clinching race in the 2002 World Championship, which won him the world title. This week, Wilcox has already notched up three race wins, and is ready for more. He said, "After the race win in Napier 3 years ago, this is the best day's racing I have ever had. You can't ask for better than winning two World Championship races on the same day."
Taking about the racing so far he continues, "However, it's like a minefield out there with holes and shifts and pressure coming in from all directions. But I think I'm doing well because I am being allowed to sail my own race and haven't got sucked into playing games with other boats. Nick is proving very consistent with top 3 every race so far which is incredible in conditions like these."
With six races down, there are still four to go and in the challenging winds off Skælskør Fjord, there is still a long way to go.
Day 4, Thursday 28 July
Danish charge on day five of the OK Worlds
The seventh race for the 2005 OK World Championship was a Danish benefit with four home boats leading the fleet home. Series leader Nick Craig (GBR) finished fifth just ahead of his main rivals Jonus Quist (SWE) and Greg Wilcox (NZL).
Sailors were today greeted by a complete change of scenery with the wind having clocked 180 degrees overnight to come off the shore, bringing with it the pleasant smell of the uncovered rocks and seaweed.
With the most consistent breeze of the week so far, the fleet got away first time. Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) started at the pin end with Peter Wibro (DEN) and Mogens Johansen (DEN). Half way up the first beat it was clear that the left hand side was favoured with Johansen sailing the furthest left before tacking.
Those who did sail to the left hand corner had a fine view of the Danish Crown Prince's yacht, which was in attendence for the Dragon invitational trophy being sailed just downwind of the OK course area.
At the first mark Johansen lead from Wibro, Lindhardtsen and Robert Deaves (GBR). The chasing pack was led by Ulf Brandt (DEN). The series leaders were all buried in the mid teens. Nothing much happened on the offwind legs and the following beat was much the same with the four leading boats exchanging places until the top mark again. Wibro just slipped round ahead, with Brandt still in fifth.
Again the run was uneventful, except that Nick Craig (GBR) and Jonus Quist (SWE) were pulling ever closer to the front. Round the bottom mark Brandt carried on to the right while the rest tacked off to the left again. When the fleet met, he was well ahead but tried it again and fell foul of a big left shift which left all four Danes within metres of each other just 200 metres from the finish. Deaves dropped three places when he caught some weed, which let Craig and Quist through.
At the finish Johansen pipped Lindhardtsen by a few metres as they both had to bear away having overstood the finish. Lindhardtsen related, "I should have tacked earlier and then I might have won, but my body didn't do what my brain was telling it to!" Two seconds later Wibro and Brandt finished, with Craig, Quist and Deaves just a few second behind them.
For Johansen this is is a dream come true. This 55 year old has been sailing OKs for 25 years and has never really proved himself. Earlier this year he bought himself a new Hylander hull and got some winter coaching with AC sailor Michael Hestbæk. In Denmark the Mogens phenomenon, as it has become known, has inspired other to copy his boat setup but no one can match his light weather downwind speed, although at just 81 kg, in a breeze he admits to having problems keeping up with the leaders.
With two of the top four having high scoring races today, Craig's position at the top is extended to 12 points on Quist and 26 on Wilcox in third. Tomorrow's forecast is for thunderstorms and torrential rain, which could add something different to the mix.
Day 5, Friday 29 July
No racing at the OK Worlds
We all know that sailors love to talk about the weather, but today in Skælskør, Denmark at the OK Dinghy World Championships, that was all they could do.
And they had plenty of material. Waiting on the sound for over four hours for a race to start, first there was a light north-easterly and mist, then this cleared to leave flat calm, brilliant sunshine and soaring temperatures, then it some wind came from the south-east and died, then it cooled down and some more built again from the west...and died.
Finally a breeze appeared from the north-west and a course was set. But as the sailors checked the shifts and prepared for the race an enormous thunderstorm approached and with winds reaching 25 knots and torrential rain, racing was postponed and the sailors were sent home, only to find no wind inside the fjord and most had to be towed the few miles back to the sailing centre.
However it was not over yet. On arrival at the shore, the postponement was still up and a further wait of an hour ensued until the PRO finally admitted defeat and abandoned for the day.
Tomorrow is the final scheduled day and it is technically possible to run three races, so the final result is by no means certain. But by tomorrow night there will be a new OK Dinghy World Champion.
Day 6, Saturday 30 July
Craig is 'over the moon'!
The final day of the 2005 OK Dinghy World Championships began with rain, no wind and a 2 hour postponement. It ended with Nick Craig (GBR) becoming the new OK Dinghy World Champion after seven previous serious campaingns and describing the struggle as "one of the hardest things I have ever tried to win."
The sailors were held on shore for two hours while the rain battered doen and the wind failed to come. Even the frogs started to come indoors because outside was so wet. Finally at 11 am, the postponement Came down and the fleet was towed out to a glass like sea wondering what was going on.
However a breeze appeared and a course was set and race 8 commenced in barely enough wind to cross the start line. Nick Craig said afterwards, "It was shocker, they should have waited a bit longer. There was barely enough wind to sail with massive shifts from each side. Jonus Quist (SWE) sailed an excellent first beat though to win. I was doing OK until the wind dies and got buried in the middle. I rounded the top mark in about 20th. And caught up a few on the reaches. On the second beat I went right a bit caught a big shift and moved up to 3rd. Lost one on the final leg to finished 4th, but that was enough." With not enough time to run two races, Nick Craig had finally won the OK Worlds, after many medals but no wins. He said, "This is awesome. I am over the moon, and really happy to have won it finally. It has been the hardest thing I have ever tried to win. It is very satisfying."
For the start of race 9, a strong wind arrived for for once the sailors could stetch their legs in the force 4-5. Jon Fish rounded the top mark in first and would have done well apart from a spash down the run which dropped him to 20th. On the second beat Roger Blasse (AUS) and Mark Perrow (NZL) had banged right and found a good shift and more wind to take the lead and win the race in the fantastic sailing conditions.
|2||SWE 2762||Jonas Quist||32,0||4||bfd||1||2||8||3||6||1||7|
|3||NZL 522||Greg Wilcox||49,0||16||1||8||12||1||1||15||6||5|
|4||AUS 678||Roger Blasse||54,0||3||6||6||11||3||10||14||27||1|
|5||DEN 1280||Jørgen Lindhardtsen||62,0||7||18||12||3||43||6||2||11||3|
|6||DEN 1335||Mogens Johansen||70,0||5||4||15||10||34||7||1||19||9|
|7||DEN 1302||Ulf Brandt||86,0||8||12||25||8||5||30||4||8||16|
|8||NZL 525||Steve McDowell||89,0||2||17||18||23||6||4||9||21||12|
|9||GER 693||Martin Von Zimmermann||96,0||15||8||9||5||16||12||ocs||2||29|
|10||DEN 1344||Peter Wibro||99,0||19||25||22||9||11||8||3||16||11|
|11||SWE 2741||Thomas Hansson-Mild||113,0||14||15||11||19||20||29||18||3||13|
|12||NZL 472||Alistair Deaves||121,0||28||11||27||35||9||5||17||5||19|
|13||GER 717||Oliver Gronholz||122,0||24||23||2||17||22||13||19||9||17|
|14||POL 14||Pawel Pawlaczyk||127,0||12||5||19||21||32||15||28||13||14|
|15||GER 672||Gunter Arndt||130,0||22||bfd||14||28||21||11||13||15||6|
|16||NZL 521||Mark Perrow||148,0||10||16||44||16||10||25||31||38||2|
|17||SWE 99||Hans Elkjaer||158,0||11||27||21||4||25||42||32||20||18|
|18||GER 690||Sönke Behrens||160,0||bfd||2||37||34||12||27||30||10||8|
|19||DEN 1345||Frank Hansen||166,0||6||19||16||24||37||41||8||35||21|
|20||GBR 2110||Jon Fish||167,0||9||22||17||dsq||7||ocs||10||14||23|
|21||DEN 1340||Jesper Petersen||168,0||39||10||4||31||52||22||23||29||10|
|22||DEN 1330||Troels Lykke||174,0||35||7||33||14||14||31||12||28||dnc|
|23||NZL 518||Grant Pedersen||193,0||44||28||30||6||28||14||26||17||dsq|
|24||SWE 2750||Jonas Lindahl||197,5||29||20||26||15||13||39||33||22||dnc|
|25||GBR 2081||Robert Deaves||198,0||34||35||35||25||17||20||7||52||25|
|26||AUS 719||Andre Blasse||202,0||bfd||bfd||7||18||15||23||36||34||4|
|27||NZL 515||Mike Wilde||204,0||41||52||23||20||26||16||44||7||27|
|28||GER 624||Thomas Glas||214,0||25||34||20||7||33||24||55||40||31|
|29||NZL 508||Wayne Avery||215,0||49||26||5||39||18||28||60||12||38|
|30||GBR 2082||John Ball||224,0||26||14||38||55||19||35||25||23||44|
|31||DEN 1304||Christian Midtgård||227,0||17||29||39||27||49||19||52||32||15|
|32||GER 424||Rainer Rehbehn||229,0||30||44||41||38||23||17||16||46||20|
|33||POL 16||Marek Jarocki||234,0||48||32||29||29||53||18||22||24||32|
|34||NZL 490||Trent Pryce||241,0||36||24||50||33||4||21||47||51||26|
|35||GER 710||Christian Senst||243,0||bfd||9||43||45||30||36||21||26||33|
|36||POL 61||Janusz Stobinski||253,5||20||42||51||30||57||39||24||25||22|
|37||DEN 1324||Claus Deichgräber||255,0||40||39||42||13||36||37||11||37||dnc|
|38||DEN 1265||Bo Teglers||273,0||13||bfd||10||43||50||9||58||50||40|
|39||DEN 1322||Ivan Pedersen||273,0||21||41||13||22||58||33||46||39||dnc|
|40||POL 127||Jakob Kania||273,0||45||40||24||48||24||34||27||45||34|
|41||SWE 2752||Ingemar Janson||283,0||32||45||28||32||48||48||20||33||45|
|42||GBR 2021||Alex Scoles||287,0||31||13||59||36||27||dnf||35||44||42|
|43||AUS 723||Paul Richards||298,0||33||21||36||41||44||47||40||36||48|
|44||GER 688||Dirk Dame||305,0||50||33||40||46||56||32||37||31||36|
|45||GER 726||Jörg Sylvester||310,0||27||30||45||52||31||57||39||47||39|
|46||GER 720||Daniel Gröschl||317,0||46||51||34||49||41||43||57||18||35|
|47||GER 707||Thorsten Schmidt||325,0||18||55||31||26||38||50||42||dnf||dnc|
|48||GER 632||Fabian Gronholz||326,0||23||48||47||56||54||46||29||55||24|
|49||GBR 2085||Gavin Waldron||336,0||37||49||52||37||42||51||34||43||43|
|50||GER 695||Dirk Gericke||342,0||43||47||48||47||51||45||41||30||41|
|51||GER 607||Christian Heinze||346,0||42||31||32||44||45||44||43||dnc||dnc|
|52||AUS 706||Peter Nielsen||370,5||52||37||55||51||29||59||59||41||46|
|53||NZL 498||Darren Hunt||375,0||38||53||61||53||59||49||45||48||30|
|54||NZL 500||Philip Rzepecky||377,0||bfd||56||60||40||60||26||51||56||28|
|55||DEN 1317||Henrik Søgren||392,0||53||dsq||46||42||35||38||48||dnf||dnc|
|56||GER 665||Peter Stephan||395,0||54||38||49||50||46||55||38||dnc||dnc|
|57||DEN 1212||Jan Larsen||397,0||47||46||53||54||47||54||54||42||dnc|
|58||POL 24||Darek Kras||402,0||56||54||57||58||39||52||61||49||37|
|59||SWE 2746||Olle Heimersson||415,0||55||43||54||57||62||56||50||53||47|
|60||BEL 604||Mark Geboes||437,0||bfd||50||58||61||40||60||49||54||dnc|
|61||BEL 214||Paul Verrijdt||444,5||dsq||36||55||59||55||53||56||dnc||dnc|
|62||SWE 2721||Bertil Eliasson||467,0||51||57||62||60||61||58||53||dnc||dnc|
|63||DEN 1303||John Skjoldby||520,0||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc|
|63||GBR 2087||Juliane Burnham||520,0||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc||dnc|