Wednesday, 10 February 2010

OK Worlds: Duel on Day 4 in Wellington

Race start, OK Worlds Day 4. Image copyright Adrian Rumney.

by Mary Reddyhoff

After six races, the discard has now come into play – and the results are very tight at the top! So far we have had 5 different winners for the 8 races held so far. Even the top sailors are finding it difficult to maintain their form as the wind shifts during the racing.

Race 7

The day started with a northerly blowing over a grey and overcast Wellington Harbour. The sailors started launching at 09:30 for the hour’s broad reach to the start line, dodging container ships and tugs.

The forecast was for southerlies so the fleet had to wait for the breeze to creep slowly up the harbour to the race area, bringing with it colder air and a drizzle that reduced visibility and obscured the hill tops. At 13:30 the race was underway in 13 knots of breeze. After a clear start most of the 66 dinghies initially headed to the left side of the course, thereafter they were spread evnyars h aeae.

Leading the fleet to the windward mark was Thomas Hansson-Mild, with yesterday’s race leader, though regrettably not winner, Brad Douglas (NZL) a comfortable distance behind, who in turn was being chased by Andre Blasse (AUS) the president of OKDIA. Soenke Behrens (GER) rounded in 4th place, closely followed by Andrew Perdington (NZL). An impressive performance in downwind sailing by Hansson-Mild saw him increase his lead at the leeward mark.

The wind dropped a couple of knots as the fleet raced up the right hand side of the course to the windward mark for a second time. Karl Purdie (NZL), 2008 World Champion, had worked his way up from 8th to 3rd place, Behrens held 4th place and past World Champion Greg Wilcox (NZL) had gained 4 places to 5th.

Thomas Hansson-Mild, 2009 OK World Champion. Image copyright Will Calver.

Further down the fleet others had also made many places in the lighter conditions: Ben Morrison (NZL) moved from 33rd to 22nd, Terry Curtis (GBR) improved from 48th to 30th and local sailor Steve McDowell improved his position from 29th to 6th! After a safe run to the leeward mark, Hansson-Mild’s lead had been reduced by Purdie as the two raced for the line. Only seconds separated them at the finish, with Hansson-Mild taking the gun, Purdie 2nd and Douglas 3rd.


1st Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE)
2nd Karl Purdie (NZL)
3rd Brad Douglas (NZL)
4th Soenke Behrens (GER)
5th Andre Blasse (AUS)
6th Andrew Perdington (NZL)
7th Roger Blasse (AUS)
8th Greg Wilcox (NZL)
9th Steve McDowell (NZL)
10th Ben Lutz (NZL)

Race 8

Starting a race at the OK Worlds in Wellington. Image copyright Will Calver.

After waiting so long for the start of race 7, race 8 got underway very quickly in a southerly 12 knot breeze. The grey weather persisted, with Wellington totally obscured from the competitors. The right side of the course was favoured, this time seeing local sailor and President of the New Zealand Association, Paul Rhodes (NZL) leading the fleet with Terry Curtis (GBR) close behind. By the gybe mark these two had a substantial lead on the rest of the fleet, which they sustained to the leeward mark.

The fleet bunched but the leaders preserved their lead to the windward mark, with Curtis trailing Rhodes by 18 seconds and Karl Purdie (NZL) chasing hard, just 30 seconds behind. With just the run to go, there were plenty of competitors and spectators alike anxious to see how the sailors would finish this race. At the bottom mark the first three were clear ahead of the fleet in a dying wind. Leading the fleet up the right hand side of the course, Rhodes was covering Curtis all the way to the finish.

Mark Roberts (AUS). Image copyright Will Calver.

This is Rhodes’ second win of the series, but this result was not good enough to put him 1st overall. Purdie, finishing 3rd behind Curtis remains in the lead, just 8 points ahead in this high scoring regatta. Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE), who won race 7, came in 4th with Steve McDowell (NZL) 5th. Russell page-Wood (NZL), lying 4th overnight, came in 6th, with Joergen Svendsen (DEN) sailing an excellent race to finish 7th. Andrew Perdington (NZL) had another good race, finishing 8th with another 2 Kiwis, Ben Morrison (NZL) and Greg Wilcox (NZL) filling the top ten places.


1st Paul Rhodes (NZL)
2nd Terry Curtis (GBR)
3rd Karl Purdie (NZL)
4th Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE)
5th Steve McDowell (NZL)
6th Russell page-Wood (NZL)
7th Joergen Svendsen (DEN)
8th Andrew Perdington (NZL)
9th Ben Morrison (NZL)
10th Greg Wilcox (NZL)

The final day of racing will increase the pressure on the leaders as the results are far from predictable in this World Championship, where the New Zealand team have demonstrated they have a great depth of talent within the OK Dinghy fleet.

Provisional Top 5 Overall

1st NZL531 Karl Purdie – 35 points
2nd NZL517 Paul Rhodes – 43 points
3rd AUS730 Michael Williams – 46 points
4th NZL519 Matt Steven (Junior) – 47 points
5th NZL526 Russell Page-Wood – 53 points

OK Worlds 2010

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