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Optimist World Championships Day 4, Dominican Republic, 19 Jul 2012

by John Adair on 21 Jul 2012
Tim Adair reaching in R4, Day 4 2012 Optimist Worlds John Adair

John Adair reports from Day 4 of the World Optimist Championships being sailed in the Dominican Republic.


If someone had told us that Thor was in town we might have been more prepared for the noise. The thunder continued to crackle and roar overhead today and the inevitable downpour that eventually followed called a premature halt to the day’s racing.

The four flights were reallocated overnight (as they are each day) and as usual Yellow launched first, rather promptly at 9.20am for a target start time of 10.30am. There was an optimistic attempt to start at 10.30am but the AP went up to signal a further delay during the countdown. As we waited for the wind to settle, a Dominican Navy frigate could be seen against the dark, menacing skyline patrolling the area beyond the top mark.

After what seemed an interminable wait, at 12.15pm our friend Thor switched the wind on and the first race of the day got under way. A general recall led to a re-start under a black flag - good to see the race committee being decisive given the considerable delays and setbacks we’ve had to the schedule. The second flight also had a general recall and reverted to a black flag start.

The water depth in the sailing area is considerable and has been challenging the mark laying at times. Today the top mark started to drift downwind, not causing too much problem for the first flight but the second (blue) flight were considerably affected. What ensued was not exactly textbook as a large mark boat took hold of the mark for too long drifting well downwind and then motoring up (before being relieved of the mark by another RC rib) and finally flying the M flag. By this stage the first of the second flight were upon the boat now displaying the temporary top mark and many sailors were caught out having massively overlaid. It is no doubt the cause of much protesting which is protracted this evening.

Kiwi William McKenzie was the unfortunate subject of the race committee’s wrath at the end of sailing today - along with a number of others from the same (green) flight. The allegation is that he and others left their station before their flight was called to go afloat. As I write this is currently the subject of a multiple hearing for those accused, although it is highly unclear what constitutes a 'station' and the 'appropriate signal to go' as there are no boat ranks marked with a boat number.

Also there are handlers on the boat ramp who take and launch each boat so one wonders who is responsible for 'permitting' a sailor to go afloat.

Breaking news is that this has led to a two-point penalty for William and each affected sailor, dropping him from 13th to 17th place overall at the end of Day 4. The other Kiwi sailors had relatively good results in their races today given the light and choppy conditions: William posting a fifth (+2 point penalty) in R4, Isaac McHardie a 10th, Cameron Moss 11th, Tim Adair a 12th, Leonard a 25th.

Singapore continues to dominate with the top 3 shuffling places today. Yukie Yokohama tops the leaderboard.

On a lighter vein, the IODA AGM is scheduled during this event and the committee and country reps will meet to discuss various issues, top of the agenda being the vote for the 2014 Optimist World Championship venue. Candidates are: Argentina, Poland and Thailand. We will keep you posted on the outcome.

Despite having sailed only four races in as many days, the sailors take a break from fleet racing tomorrow which sees the start of the two-day Teams Racing event. It won’t be dull so stay posted. As we write at 8pm, we await the organisers to issue sailing instructions and a start time for tomorrow.

You can follow the race tracking live or on replay here... ~website

You can also follow the link to the daily highlights video here... website

John Adair protects his gear at the OptiWorlds with Lowepro from TA Macalister




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