The OK Dinghy Nationals are underway at Black Rock Yacht Club in Melbourne and have attracted thirty two entries from NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania and includes two young women and several juniors.
by Richard Furneaux
After the first four races Roger Blasse, seeking his 10th title, is narrowly leading from his brother Andre. Right behind them in third and fourth positions respectively are Tim Davies and 'Super' Bruce Ashton.
There were two races held on the first day starting in a freshening sea breeze of 15 to 20 knots. The first race honours went to Roger Blasse, followed by Tim Davies and then Andre Blasse. Andre had narrowly held the lead for the whole race until he brushed the last mark in the rounding and the subsequent 360 degree turn dropped him back to third.
The wind had built to 25 knots for race two, the upper limit for the OK's, causing several retirements as the race progressed. This race saw the same three boats fighting for the lead but this time there were no mistakes from Andre and he sailed to a 30 second win over Roger.
Meanwhile Tim Davies fell in on the square run allowing David Clancy to collect third place. This was a good result for David who has just returned to the class after several seasons away and has just launched a brand new boat.
Day two saw racing scheduled earlier in the day and race 3 got underway in very light shifting conditions. Those that went left chose very badly and trailed a long way behind the right hand side boats.
Among the trailing boats was Bruce Ashton, known in worldwide in the OK class as Super Bruce because of his amazing abilities in light shifting breezes. Bruce did not disappoint and worked his way from the back of the fleet to finish second.
The winner of race 3 was Peter Wallace from the Drummoyne Sailing club, taking out his first ever heat win at a nationals. Third was Tom Guthormsen who hails from Norway followed by Tim Davies in fourth. Roger Blasse was sixth while Andre was 12th.
Race 4 started in a much fresher sea breeze of around 20 knots and after one false start the fleet got away well from the start line. The lead boats worked the shifts up the middle of the course with Roger arriving at the top mark just ahead of Andre, David Clancy and Tim Davies. These four battled it out with Roger and Andre opening up a significant lead where they continued their good natured sibling rivalry.
R4 Roger Blasse leads brother Andre at the 2008 OK Dinghy Nationals - Richard Furneaux
Roger took it out narrowly from Andre and Tim came third ahead of David after a strenuous tacking duel to the finish.
There is a rest day with the last three races scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The staring times have been brought forward to take advantage of the hot northerly breezes that are forecast for the mornings.
Overall standings after four races:
AUS678 - Roger Blasse BRYC 10pts
AUS729 Andre Blasse BRYC 18pts
AUS732 Tim Davies Wangi SC 19pts
AUS728 Bruce Ashton BRYC 22pts
AUS703 Mick McQueen Wangi SC 26pts
AUS733 David Clancy BRYC 31pts
AUS724 Glen Yates Wangi SC 31pts
AUS713 Peter Lynch Wangi SC 41pts
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5:27 AM Fri 11 Jan 2008 GMT
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