by Daen Dorazio
The year 1966 saw a number of major events and happenings around the world. Indira Gandhi was elected Prime Minister of India,Harold Holt became Prime Minister of Australia, the unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft made the first controlled landing on the moon, the Australian dollar was introduced, the World Cup Trophy (the ‘ Jules Rimet’ for Association Football) was stolen at an exhibition but later found by a dog named Pickles and subsequently won by England at Wembley, the Beatles released the Revolver album and ended their US tour with a concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, the first episode of Star Trek was aired and the first OK Interdominion Championship between Australia and New Zealand was held.
Roger Blasse chased by the Kiwis
In 2011 45 OK Dinghies will compete for the Interdominion Championship at Black Rock Yacht Club in Melbourne, marking a resurgence of interest in this event.
Racing commences on Good Friday and will be keenly contested, just like any other encounter between these two nations no matter what the sport. The New Zealand team of twelve has great depth and will make it very hard for the Australian team, which includes sailors from New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
Off the water, social events and local hospitality play a major part in making this regatta something special. Rivalry aside, hosting competitors still pick up their NZ opponents from the airport and accommodate them in their homes during the event. There are several social events planned which have always been an important part of any regatta where the Kiwis and Aussies get together.
Many OK sailors competing in Melbourne have been part of the Interdominions for a long time. Former long serving Australian OK Association President Bill Tyler had this to say about the coming event:
‘Back to the 1970s! Good to see. This is how the event always used to be run. Borrowing boats and billeting for accommodation was how we developed our trans Tasman friendships at that time. When the NSW Association sent me to New Plymouth for my first Interdominions it was a great experience that I never forgot. Over the next few years all through the 1970s when we had events in Sydney we often had Kiwis stay with us over the Easter period. The enjoyment of these events is one of the main reasons I became so involved with the OK Dinghy class from way back then.’
The series comprises seven races run over the four days of Easter, finishing on Anzac Day.