Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailutions - SeldenDeck

World Champions and Rookies contest Wakatere OK Dinghy Invitational

by Bob Smith on 28 Feb 2013
Dean Coleman wins the day - 2012 Wakatere OK Dinghy Invitational Alistair Deaves

On Sunday one of New Zealand’s leading OK Dinghy strongholds, Wakatere Boating Club held its inaugural OK Dinghy Invitational, where a number of former and prospective OK sailors were invited to compete in two races (in conjunction with normal Wakatere Sunday afternoon club racing) in OK Dinghies provided by current Wakatere OK sailors, who manned patrol boats and provided on-the-water support to their guests.

As usual, Auckland turned on a cracking day with blue skies and a 10 knot sea breeze, which built to around 12 knots during the afternoon.

Drawn by the reputation of the famous OK, an impressive line-up donned hiking pants and prepared to do battle. They included (along with several others) 1977 world OK Dinghy champion Peter Lester, who had not stepped into an OK since the last race of the 1977 worlds; 1984 World Laser champion Oscar Paulich, who has been regularly thrashing the other Wakatere Laser sailors and needs more of a challenge; and Wakatere stalwart and former Commodore Dean Coleman, usually seen folded up like a paper clip in a Sunburst these days but with an impressive yachting history to his name. Dean’s son Chis was there too, bravely taking on a man’s boat at just 13 years of age and 64kg.

Race 1 was underway in around 8-10 knots of NE breeze, and with a strengthening incoming tide the locals headed left, hugging the shoreline – none more so than big Dean Coleman, and it paid off handsomely when he crossed in front of Lester and Paulich to lead around the first mark.

However, the two former world champions didn’t come here to lie down, and both are known for their downwind prowess. Lester, in particular, was famous for it in his OK glory days and the old skill was still apparent as he quickly reeled Coleman in to claim buoy room at the wing mark and slide away to a nice lead by the bottom. Paulich, meanwhile, made his move early in the second beat, picking up a couple of nice shifts to take the lead halfway up – Lester kept a cool head though and was back in yellow jersey country at the top, extending down the run and the next windward-leeward to eventually take the race victory. 36 years since his last race and he’s still got it! Meanwhile, Coleman was fighting back, steaming in from the left to pip Paulich by about half an inch on the finish line and take silver.

For Race 2 the breeze built to a lovely 10-12 knots, there were a few 'sheep in the paddock' and the OK Invitation turned into a battle royale as a handful of tough competitors warmed to this wonderful boat and the challenge of racing it. Paulich set the scene 30 seconds from the start, coming up under Lester and luffing hard, looking to take the ’77 champ out of the game early. Lester responded, sliding around Paulich’s bow and escaping, but hitting the pin early and being forced to throw in two quick tacks (which were perhaps marginally slower than they had been in ’77).

Coleman, meanwhile, having benefited from some tuning tips from his boat’s owner between races, started mid-line at pace and shot out into an early lead, turning on the afterburners and straight-lining it for the left hand corner. Lester followed close behind, while Paulich was forced right and out into the ripping tide off the start, eventually rounding the top mark in fifth. Young Chris Coleman had his boat moving and was in fourth, with several others starting to get their boats really moving and competing strongly. Once again Lester’s downwind pace saved him and he passed Coleman to lead around the bottom mark. Paulich, meanwhile, was back into third.

With slightly more breeze, Coleman stretched out the long frame and powered past Lester upwind, only to be caught on the run and passed on the inside around the bottom mark – and the second windward-leeward followed exactly the same pattern. On the beat to the finish, it was hand-to-hand combat all the way, with Coleman once more showing superior upwind pace to take the race win. Meanwhile, Paulich finally found top gear and some good pressure on the right to steal second from Lester right on the line.

This meant that Coleman, with a 2-1 scorecard, won the day over two former world champions and took the glory!

Having completed two races, the guest fleet headed for shore, to be greeted with ice cold beers and their boats washed and de-rigged for them.

A great day all round, and a great initiative by the Wakatere BC fleet. With the OK Worlds scheduled to be held at Wakatere in 2018, this fleet is on the rise. Wakatere sailors totally dominated the NZ OK scene this summer, with Wakatere’s cabinet boasting the OK Dinghy NZ national title (Russell Page-Wood), Interdominion title (Ben Morrison), 2012-13 NZ tour title (Ben Morrison) and nearly every other regional trophy in the class. And numbers continue to grow.

The Wakatere OK Invitational follows the recent 2012 Sail Auckland regatta, a Grade 1 ISAF contest in which several non-Olympic classes participated for the first time, with the OK Dinghy fleet being the biggest. This quote from Rod Davis, one of Team OK Wakatere’s latest recruits, made as part of one of his Emirates Team New Zealand blogs, describes the OK Dinghy’s special niche perfectly:

'On the surface it seems strange that a non-Olympic class can attract more sailors than an Olympic class. However, the Olympic classes are an expensive proposition where, to be remotely competitive, you need to be a full-time sailor. That means lots more money, time and pressure and a lot less fun.
That is not to say the non-Olympic classes are easy pickings for ex-Olympians. Tom Dodson and I have the experience of six Games to call on. We tied mid-fleet in the OK Dinghy class. The same is true in all the classes…. the level of racing is high. First or last you would never want it any other way.
It’s great to see so many 'real' people racing their boats and having fun doing it. Without that, the top end of the sport, the Olympics, round the world racing, even the America’s Cup would just wither, die and then blow away.' - Rod Davis

The Wakatere OK Invitational is sure to become an annual event – any good sailors who want to try NZ’s most prestigious non-Olympic single-handed dinghy should come along. Watch this space!

For more information and NZOKDA contact details, see www.okdinghy.co.nz.

Related Articles

Kosinska to hit out against the Hyeres heavy metal in 2016 Olympic bid
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at Hyeres later this week. 2016 Olympic aspirant, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at the third round of the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Rio2016 - Winther hits ball firmly into Olympic selectors' court
2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team finishing 11th in the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico. Running a self-funded campaign which took in the Princesca Sofia Regatta in Palma, Spain followed by the World Championship on Banderas Bay, Mexico, Winther placed 11th overall and 10th country.
Posted on 21 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Kosinska flies out in RS-X Olympic bid
Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, in her final attempt to gain NZ Olympic selection. Kosinska has been training in her own program in New Zealand with the 2015 Women's World Champion, Chen Peina (CHN) in the RS:X Windsurfer, and Zhichao Zhang the Men's #4 at the 2015 Worlds in Oman
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther makes top three in final Qualifying race
2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds 2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds and has moved up the leaderboard to be in 12th place at the end of the shortened Qualifying Round. She placed third in the only race sailed today and continues to improve as the regatta progresses, and her confidence builds.
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther scores three single digit places - Day 3
New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table at the 2016 Laser radial Worlds being sailed in Mexico. She now lies in 15th place overall after three days of racing. She achieved single digit scores in the three races sailed today, despite hitting marks in two races and having to perform penalty turns.
Posted on 17 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Kiwis locked in Olympic selection fight - Day 2
The points gap has narrowed between the two elading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection The points gap has narrowed between the two lading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection in the Womens Singlehanded Laser Radial class.
Posted on 16 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther off to a handy start in light airs
Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. She is best placed of the three New Zealand competitors in the regatta, lying in 22nd overall after two races were sailing the Qualifying Round.
Posted on 15 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Pantaenius - Worldwide SupportInSunSport - NZNaiad/Oracle Supplier