The fabulous weather continued in Pattaya, Thailand as the practice race of the Singha OK Dinghy World Championships was held at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club today. Roger Blasse (AUS) the 1998 World Champion took the race win from Mike Williams (AUS) and Andre Budzien (GER).
After a thorough morning briefing by PRO Kevin Wilson (AUS), the sailors enjoyed a taster of the awesome week that hopefully lies ahead. But departing from tradition, the conditions were so good that most of the fleet completed the race. They came ashore exhausted but very happy they had made the decision to travel to Pattaya.
The principal sponsor Singha is not only providing evening refreshments, but also cold water bottles as the sailors go afloat, with further supplies available on race management boats. Stating hydrated is going to be crucial for success here.
Greg Wilcox (NZL), the 2002 World Champion who finished seventh said,'I think one of the key challenges here is going to be acclimatisation as you can dehydrate really quickly. Those who came out here early will have a clear advantage. It's taking about three days to just get used to the heat and there is respite on the water. A wave cools you down for about 10 seconds and then you are hot again.'
The practice race started in 15-16 knots with the fleet evenly spread over the course. At the top mark Andre Budzien (GER) led from Paul Rhodes (NZL), and Stefan Myralf (DEN), all from the left. The leading boat from the right was Roger Blasse (AUS) in fifth, though he was not far behind.
Blasse was the first to spot the wing mark on a fairly tight reach and rounded overlapped with Budzien. The overlap continued at the leeward mark but on the second upwind Budzien takd away early while Blasse and Williams took the advantage on the right. Positions stayed the same with Blasse winning by about 10 boatlengths at the finish.
Blasse said, 'It's pretty nice out there for us. The waves are good. It's a bit like sailing at Black Rock, but with tide.'
Budzien commented, 'It was beautiful sailing, perfect conditions, great winds, but I think you have to be fast here.'
Nick Craig (GBR), four time world champion placed eighth today, but was very enthusiastic about the venue. 'It couldn't be better, force 4 and sunny. It's as good as the best day anywhere, but it's like that every day here and I am thinking of cancelling of my return flight.'
Racing for real begins tomorrow with the course area a 20 minute sail from the club. Launching is made much easier by the club's boatmen who look after trolleys and even lift boats out of the surf on arrival back at the beach. Their helpful and enthusiastic attitude is typical of everyone in the club as they try to make sure the sailors every need is catered for, both on and off the water.
Racing gets under way on Sunday with two races each day from 13.00h, until Friday when it is from 11.00h.
Results of practice race (top 20 from 75)
1 AUS 749 Roger Blasse
2 AUS 730 Michael Williams
3 GER 782 Andre Budzien
4 NZL 517 Paul Rhodes
5 AUS 735 Mark Jackson
6 GBR 2151 Jonathan Fish
7 NZL 544 Greg Wilcox
8 GBR 2150 Nick Craig
9 GBR 2118 Terry Curtis
10 NZL 542 Alistair Deaves
11 AUS 734 Edward O’Donnell
12 DEN 1411 Jorgen Svendsen
13 DEN 1335 Mogens Johansen
14 GER 618 Peter Scheuerl
15 NZL 533 Rob Hengst
16 AUS 741 Gary Lokum
17 GER 778 Sonke Behrens
18 GBR 2152 Lee Child
19 GER 693 Martin von Zimmermann
20 AUS 750 Peter Robinson
Full results: http://varuna.org/practice-race-results/
by Robert Deaves, OKDIA
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4:18 PM Sat 30 Mar 2013GMT
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