Sunday, 7 February 2010
by Mandy Burt
Wellington turned on more champagne sailing Friday for the Invitation Race of the OK Dinghy World Championships. The day dawned with glorious sunshine and unusually mill-pond-flat water, which was a perfect backdrop for the thousands of Rugby Sevens spectators making their way along the waterfront to the Westpac Stadium.
46 sailors left the shore in an 8 knot breeze, which built to 15 knots during the course of the race – perfect sailing conditions.
Reigning World Champion, Thomas Hansson-Mild from Sweden, led the race from the start, with Paul Rhodes (NZL) in second. When most of the fleet split, Hansson-Mild went up the middle, and led round every mark. With the breeze building Karl Purdie, who had crept up from fifth to third around the marks, hit the left hand side very hard and finished second just behind Hansson-Mild.
The competitors then gathered in full team uniform for the official welcoming ceremony and powhiri at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The Tangata Whenua were impressed by 150 sailors and their whanau from around the world booming out the waiata Te Aroha!
OK Worlds 2010