by NZ OK Assoc
Karl Purdie, New Zealand Champion OK Dinghy Nationals, Wellington, New Zealand February, 2010
Worser Bay dealt a full range of conditions for this seasons Hurricane Classic which was the fourth regatta of the 2010/11 OK Dinghy summer series and the last before the Nationals.
Saturday race one saw a nice 8-10 knot northerly and it was to be a blue print for the rest of the regatta with the fleet tightly packed at each mark rounding, helped by the conditions but also the shifty breeze, it was a tight battle between the Worser Bay sailors, Paul Rhodes, Owen Anderson, Karl Purdie and Greg Wright with the top four finishing in that order.
By race two the breeze had dropped to less than 5 knots and all sailors were awaiting the forecasted southerly to come in, the race got underway in a 3 knot northerly, most of the fleet were expecting the wind to go through to the west as it usually does when a southerly is due however the breeze went through the east and this saw Luke O’Connell, Steve McDowell, and Chris Fenwick clear out from the fleet up the first beat, buy the time the leading bunch were on the reach the breeze died out completely before coming back in from the south where it continued to build to around 20knots, with the breeze back up O’Connell won from a fast charging Rhodes who was enjoying the freshening breeze closely followed by McDowell.
Race three and four got underway after a lunch break and the forecasted 30 knot southerly never eventuated with the breeze dropping to 8-12 knots with plenty of shifts and pressure lines to keep the fleet close, Rhodes despite winning a race and scoring a third on the water had two OCS results, O’Connell and McDowell who were first and second respectively in race four also were OCS. This resulted in Purdie having two wins with Anderson scoring two seconds, they were closely followed at the end of day one by Wright and Joe Porebski.
Sunday and the forecast was for ‘fresh to frightening’ 40knot northerlies, perfect Hurricane Classic conditions! Race one started in a building 22knot breeze with gust up to 25knots and Purdie, Rhodes and McDowell jumped out to a quick lead on the fleet, by the top mark for the second time it was still very close with McDowell stretching out a lead on the now very windy flat off closely followed by Purdie and Rhodes, with the top three finishing in that order.
Race six, and despite the wind now sitting around 27knots and consistent gust over 30 knots the racing was still very close, the top five boats being separated by seconds at the top mark, and it was the same at the bottom mark, all of the fleet showing great boat handling in the windy conditions. The race officer shortening the course at the bottom mark meant only a beat to the top mark for the finish and in the shifty (but windy breeze!) Rhodes sailed a very tactical beat to be closely followed by Purdie, Adrian Mannering and Anderson.
Overall the 2011 Hurricane classic was taken out by Purdie with Anderson coming in second and McDowell third; Rhodes despite carrying an OCS managed fourth and clearly had excellent speed and consistency across the range of conditions, it is just his starting that needs some work.
The next regatta this season is the New Zealand Nationals which are to be held in Gisborne from the 4-6 of March.