OK Dinghy World Championships - Action underway at Royal Varuna YC
by Robert Deaves on 30 Mar 2013
Could there be a more perfect venue for a world championship? The 75 OK Dinghy sailors who have entered for the Singha OK Dinghy World Championship at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, Thailand simply can't believe their good fortune.
2013 OK Dinghy World Championship training International OK Dinghy Association - copyright http://www.okdia.org/
The fabulous beachside club overlooking the Bay of Thailand was the setting for tonight's opening ceremony as the sun set over Ko Lan island in the distance. Friday was the first day of measurement and the last practice day and if the conditions continue (though we are perhaps tempting fate here) it is going to be a very memorable championship.
For each day over the last week the sun has shone uninterrupted on the sailors training and acclimatising, with temperatures in the low 30s and winds rising to 16-18 knots every day. Add to that a water temperature in the mid-20s, and with many sailors travelling from the harsh European winter, the smiles reach from ear to ear and from shore to shore.
Mike Wilde (NZL),Vice-President of OKDIA summed it up nicely when he began his welcome speech with, 'Are we in for a treat or not?'
'So many of us regretted missing the warm sailing of Goa in 2003 that an opportune crossing of paths with Rut [Subniran (THA)] during his time on the jury at the Wellington worlds and reflecting on the historical interest and involvement of the King of Thailand and OK Dinghy sailing in Thailand led us to this point. For this thanks must go to Rut and Andre [Blasse (AUS), President of OKDIA] for providing the impetus in getting us to what seems to me can only be described as a sailor's Nirvana.'
'You have a fabulous facility here at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club and as a class we are grateful for the opportunity to share it and for the kindness and support you have shown us thus far. No good event is complete without the support of a great sponsor. It would seem to me, and by now I say this with some authority, that we have on Singha an outstanding sponsor.'
'We look forward to a great week of sailing spirit and that special OK Dinghy camaraderie ahead.'
The championship was officially opened by Dave Littlejohn, Commodore of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club. He welcomed the fleet saying, 'ailing is a relatively small sport in Thailand but those that participate are passionate about it and this club plays a large part in encouraging sailing. The club dates back to 1957 and later received its royal charter from the HM the King of Thailand, who was a keen OK Dinghy sailor himself. Thank you all for coming and please make the most of this beautiful club.'
The flags of all nine countries competing were hoisted on the club veranda facing the racing area and then with the ringing of the club bell the regatta was declared open and the sailors enjoyed a sumptuous buffet served on the club lawn as darkness fell.
The practice race will be held tomorrow, on Saturday afternoon, with the series of 10 races beginning on Sunday and concluding next Friday. A week of fantastic sailing conditions and hospitality is surely in store for all.