Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

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.

Festival of Sails 2017 660x82Harken and Fosters -  Harken WinchesYamaha Motor NZ

Related Articles

Images from Tuesday's Etchells Invitational Series
Images from last night's Etchells Invitational Series staged by the Auckland Etchells fleet. Images from last night's Etchells Invitational Series staged by the Auckland Etchells fleet. The event was well attended by 14 boats sailing three and four-up in a 12-15kt breeze on the inner Waitemata Harbour
Posted on 30 Nov
Sydney supermaxi sets monohull record in White Island Race
The Sydney based supermaxi CQS has set a new record for monohulls in the 320nm White Island Race. The Sydney based supermaxi CQS has set a new record for monohulls, but missed the allcomers record by less than an hour, in the 320nm White Island Race. After the race start just after 10.00am on Friday, CQS reported she was about to round White Island around 6.30pm having taken 8hrs 30 minutes for the 160nm leg or an average speed of around 19kts.
Posted on 26 Nov
Sailor of the Year - Burling and Tuke claim top award for fourth time
In a league of their own; Peter Burling and Blair Tuke claim Yachting’s top award once more Gold medalists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have again stamped a firm mark in New Zealand’s sailing history books, being honored with the sport’s top award for the fourth consecutive year. The acclaimed 49er skiff team were named the winners of the 2016 HRG Sailor of the Year at the Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards last night.
Posted on 25 Nov
Strong turn-out for North Harbour Laser Masters
Sunday 13th November saw the the 25th edition of the North Harbour Masters held on Lake Pupuke. The first Laser Masters regatta of the 2016/17 season saw a strong turnout of 35 sailors starting their work up to next years World Masters at Torbay in April 2017. There was a healthy mix of the old guard, returning names of old and some new faces resulting in strong fleets in both the Standard and Radial.
Posted on 22 Nov
Bay of Islands RW - New IRC Nationals format to attract smaller boats
Changes to the format of the 2017 IRC Nationals at Bay of Islands Sailing Week make it appealing for smaller keelboats Organisers say a change to the format of the 2017 IRC Nationals at Bay of Islands Sailing Week will make it more appealing than ever for smaller keelboats to take part. Bay of Islands Sailing Week will host the IRC Nationals again in 2017, enabling boats with endorsed IRC certificates to compete for the prestigious Nationals trophies alongside the usual Bay Week honours.
Posted on 21 Nov
Images of radical supermaxi CQS sailing on the Waitemata
Ludde Ingvall’s revamped supermaxi, CQS, was trialling on the Waitemata Harbour today Ludde Ingvall’s revamped supermaxi, CQS, was trialling on the Waitemata Harbour today in a moderate south westerly breeze and sunshine - a welcome break from the strong winds that have plagued Auckland for the past few days. The supermaxi which started life as the 90ft Nicorette has been stretched to 98ft in a design project led by Bakewell-White Yacht Design
Posted on 18 Nov
PIC Coastal Classic - Images from the finish in Bay of Islands
Although the record was under threat for the the first half of the 119nm PIC Coastal Classic Although the record was under threat for the the first half of the 119nm PIC Coastal Classic, in the end light winds prevented a new mark being set and the five hour barrier being broken. Bay of Islands photographer, Steve Western was on hand to catch the action on the finish line as Frank Racing (formerly TeamVodafoneSailing) crossed the finish line flying her main hull. Bay of Islands phot
Posted on 25 Oct
PIC Coastal Classic - More images from the start
Second gallery of images from the start of the 2016 PIC Coastal Classic which got underway on Friday morning Second gallery of images from the start of the 2016 PIC Coastal Classic which got underway on Friday morning with a fleet of 141 boats facing the starter.
Posted on 25 Oct
PIC Coastal Classic - Images from the Waitemata
Sail-World was with NZ Sailing Trust on board Whistleblower for the start of the PIC Coastal Classic. Sail-World was with NZ Sailing Trust on board Whistleblower for the start of the PIC Coastal Classic. Here's the first gallery of images from the start on Friday as the fleet got underway on a 15kt Southerly breeze.
Posted on 25 Oct
YDL NZ Match Racing - Chris Steele defends title
Chris Steele and his crew of Harry Hull, Josh Salthouse and Harry Thurston retain their title for the second year Chris Steele and his crew of Harry Hull, Josh Salthouse and Harry Thurston retain their title for the second year after defeating Graeme Sutherland and crew in three straight matches. The action all kicked off at 10am with the start of the Semi Finals. The top ranked Graeme Sutherland chose to sail Sam Meech whom he beat 3 – nil.
Posted on 16 Oct