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New Zealand OK Tour for 2011-2012 is announced

by Bob Smith, B.S. Sports Publishing on 29 Jun 2011
2010 OK Worlds Fleet ocean phtography

The New Zealand OK Dinghy Association has announced the 2011-2012 schedule for the world’s premiere OK class circuit, the NZOK Tour.

This season the Tour will take in six regattas around New Zealand with each sailor’s best four results to count towards overall Tour championship points. The Tour regattas will be as follows:

2011
Rum Bucket Auckland (Wakatere Boating Club) 22 - 23 October
Turangi International Open Turangi (Turangi Yacht Club) 19 - 20 November
Big Wave Classic New Plymouth (New Plymouth Yacht Club) 3 - 4 December

2012
Hurricane Classic Wellington (Worser Bay Boating Club) 28 - 29 January
East Coast OK Champs Napier (Napier Sailing Club) 11 - 12 February
New Zealand National Champs Lyttelton (Naval Point Yacht Club) 8 - 11 March

One of the changes to this year’s NZOK Tour is that the contests will be more evenly spread over a longer period than in previous years, so that there will be one event per month for the duration of the Tour. This will enable competitors to attend more events and maintain an even rate of progress towards the international events following the Tour’s conclusion.

Following the 2011-2012 Tour, the 2012 OK Interdominions will be held in April at Takapuna, Auckland and the 2012 OK Dinghy Worlds will be held in Denmark during July. The NZOK Tour offers the best possible preparation for those contests.

With 46 sailors contesting the 2010-2011 series, the upcoming NZOK Tour promises to be more competitive than ever.

About the NZOK Tour
One of the perennial problems for all New Zealand international-class sailors is that the best competition in the world is generally found in Europe, so that, to be the best, they must compete on the European circuit of regattas. In an amateur class like the OK, that presents a major hurdle. Although New Zealand has produced a number of OK World Champions and World Championship medalists, it was thought that greater consistency of international results could be achieved if New Zealand had its own championship tour. For that reason, in 2004 NZOKDA created a championship series based on points earned at particular OK contests over the course of the summer, and so the NZOK Tour was born.

The Tour’s objectives were ultimately achieved when Karl Purdie won the world title in Europe (Sweden) in 2008. In a wider sense the Tour has helped New Zealand to dominate the class internationally for the past 5 years, with New Zealand regularly taking multiple top 10 places in the OK World Championship.

NZ OK sailors catch up while awaiting some breeze (photograph courtesy of oceanphotography.co.nz)
While the Tour offers fierce competitive sailing on the water, as a true amateur class a high value is also placed on the social aspect of each contest. For many OK sailors in New Zealand, Tour events represent the only break from work and family commitments and that, coupled with the OK’s long tradition of success in New Zealand, means that many lifelong friendships exist within the fleet and OK social events are legendary in yachting circles. Nowhere is the phrase 'sail hard, play hard' more true.


About the OK Dinghy

The international OK Dinghy is a 4 metre single-handed racing yacht, which has enjoyed strong international competition for many years. Countries currently involved in the class are Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, Thailand, Canada and the United States.

The attraction of the OK is that it is a truly international class, providing high-level competition and the opportunity for yachtsmen to compete in an annual World Championship, in a different country each year. Because it is not an Olympic class, the competitors are amateurs in the truest sense – highly motivated, with world-class sailing ability, but also pursuing professional careers in other fields.

In this writer’s view, that true amateur ideal represents the very best of what yacht racing is (or should be) about.

Finally – a challenge and an invitation from NZOKDA

NZOKDA has released the following statement:

To New Zealand sailors: There are a lot of excellent amateur dinghy sailors in New Zealand, some of whom are struggling to keep up with the full-time Olympians in the Finn or Laser, and some of whom have given up in the absence of decent competition. If you are in either category, the OK offers a perfect solution for you, and our advice is this: Get out of the rut you are in with your sailing, buy or borrow an OK, and compete in a NZOK Tour event. Find out if you really are as good as you think you are.
To overseas OK sailors: NZOKDA challenges and invites all overseas OK sailors to come and compete on the NZOK Tour.

If you take up the challenge, you will
• See one of the most beautiful countries in the World
• Make some great friends
• Learn more about how to sail an OK than in any other competition

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

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