Perrow wins 2009 OK Dinghy National and Inter-Dominion Championships

Mark Perrow (Wakatere BC) sailing at the 2005 World Championships
Jens Jensen
The 2009 New Zealand Nationals and Inter-dominion Champs were hosted by Worser Bay Sailing Club in Wellington over the weekend of 6-8 February. Seven Australians turned up including former World Champion Roger Blasse and previous Australian Champion Rob Davis, both from Black Rock YC, Melbourne. They were joined by 28 Kiwis, including Current World Champion Karl Purdie from the host club.

The racing also formed a test event for the 2010 World Championship being held on the same waters.

Seven races were scheduled this year, a format seemingly preferred by most NZ sailors. With generally windy conditions, those who attended will remember the regatta for two reasons: the epic first day and Mark Perrow’s charge to the title over the back half of the regatta.

Friday morning dawned bright and sunny and for once the weather man was on the money. The northerly had settled in the previous evening and was already puffing over 20 knots at 8.00am when the 35 sailors starting arriving at the Worser Bay Boating Club. By the time Race 1 kicked off at 10.30am, the breeze was over 25 knots with puffs into the 30s, and with three full length courses scheduled for the day the scene was set for a marathon effort!

Star performer on day one was current World Champion Karl Purdie who was totally dominant in the heavy breeze. Karl’s 1,2,1 score card in this quality fleet could easily have been a 1,1,1 clean sweep had it not been for a swim nearing the end of the run in Race 2 while enjoying a huge lead and Russell Wood hitting the shift of the day out of the right hand corner in the final beat of that race. Despite his capsize, Karl chased down Roger Blasse to take second.

Other good performances on day one come from Mark Perrow with a 2,5,2 and Roger Blasse with a 3,3,5. Blasse’s effort was especially impressive since he hadn’t been in the boat for 13 months.

The heavy Wellington breeze took its toll on a number of sailors, many failing to finish all three races – some through damage and some through fear. Ben Morrison had two sails blow apart one after another and missed races 2 and 3, showing the power of the Wellington northerly – or perhaps the state of his sails.

For those that survived the day the sail back to the WBBC will be remembered for a very long time as the conditions by now were extreme.

Day two appeared to be groundhog day, as the weather from shore looked very much like the previous morning, however the wind gods smiled on the weary fleet and only delivered a gentle 12 to 18 knots, a mere zephyr compared to the previous day.

Race 4 kicked off in a perfect 12-14 knot northerly and it was evident that the conditions suited Perrow as he extended his lead all the way round to win by a sizeable margin. Purdie sailed a clean consistent race as always for second, and third home was Steve McDowell.

Race 5 was an action replay, with Perrow sailing off and leaving the battle to rage behind him, which Purdie managed to win and secure another 2nd, with Blasse continuing his consistent form for another 3rd and McDowell 4th.

By the time race 6 kicked off the contest was a two horse race: Purdie had 1,2,1,2,2 and Perrow 2,5,2,1,1.These two now had a clear break on the field and race 6 would decide who had the momentum going into the final heat. It should be noted that between heats the slug on the clew of Perrow’s sail had broken, which he repaired on the water with a piece of Dynex provided by Purdie – sportsmanship like this wouldn’t happen at a Laser regatta.

After a general recall race 6 got under way and it was business as usual as Perrow turned on the power sailing again and jumped out to an early lead. The breeze dropped for the second beat and started moving round allowing a few placing changes and some large separation. Perrow out front called the tune taking the shifts while keeping an eye on both sides, which now had plenty of players willing to throw the dice looking for the shift to get them home, but at the line the usual suspects had come to the fore, with Perrow 1st, Purdie 2nd and McDowell who had climbed through to 3rd.

So as many cold Heinekens were consumed on the deck watching the skiff racing the score card showed that Perrow had taken the lead after the drop kicked in, meaning she was all on in the final race the next morning for the title.

Once again the wind gods smiled on the fleet and race 7 got underway in a 15 knot northerly and blue skies. Some had anticipated a match race scenario between the two contenders but both opted for a conservative start mid line. Despite average starts, within minutes of the gun going the same players were moving to the front, and at the first mark Perrow held a slight lead over Morrison, Purdie, McDowell and Paul Rhodes. Still leading at the leeward mark, it was Perrow's race to lose.

On the second beat Purdie moved into 2nd, but once again Perrow held his nerve. By the final leeward mark, as the chasing bunch of 6 boats scattered up the final work, Purdie, at the last chance saloon, hit the left corner, trying to drag Perrow there and hope for a right hand shift to allow enough boats past, so as to bring the drops into play, but the line loomed up and Mark Perrow had claimed his second New Zealand title, and first Inter-dominion title with another bullet; the title his by 2 points.

It is notable that Mark is the first person to win a two NZ OK titles in the last 12 years, and he had to defeat the current World Champion to do it, which all goes to show the high quality of the New Zealand fleet.

The results also meant that Karl Purdie was now placed first on the World Rankings while Mark Perrow moved up to second. Hopefully these two can make it to the World Championships in Sweden in July and continue their good form.

All in all the contest was a fantastic event, with debts of gratitude owed to Burty and his team for getting the racing away, the WBBC for a great show as always and the Ozzies for making the trip and enabling us to hold a true Interdominions.

Final Results
Pos Sailno Name Pts-1 R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7
1 527 Mark Perrow 8 2 5 2 1 1 1 1
2 531 Karl Purdie 10 1 2 1 2 2 2 2
3 678 Roger Blasse 23 3 3 5 4 3 5 9
4 517 Paul Rhodes 28 7 8 4 5 5 4 3
5 526 Russel Wood 35 8 1 3 9 7 8 8
6 504 Adrian Mannering 41 5 10 6 8 16.5 6 6
7 524 Mathew Stetchman 47 10 4 7 12 9 10 7
8 511 Luke O'Connell 58 9 7 10 19 12 9 11
9 530 Ben Morrison 70 4 36 36 10 8 7 5
10 469 Owen Anderson 70 12 6 17 7 14 15 16
11 478 Daniel Bush 73 36 12 14 13 6 11 17
12 523 Joe Porebski 74 13 36 9 15 11 14 12
13 535 Mike Wilde 77.5 18 14 11 14 16.5 12 10
14 502 Trent Pryce 85 11 9 8 17 19 21 23
15 525 Steve McDowell 86 36 36 36 3 4 3 4
16 500 Nigel Mannering 90 6 16 36 16 15 16 21
17 735 Rob Davis 92 14 36 36 6 10 13 13
18 475 Greg