Wellington turned on more champagne sailing today for the Invitation Race of the OK Dinghy World Championships. The day dawned with glorious sunshine and unusually mill-pond-flat water, which was a perfect backdrop for the thousands of Rugby Sevens spectators making their way along the waterfront to the Westpac Stadium.
The most creative costumes past the Yacht Club were the young guys and gals dressed as 101 dalmatians, complete with leather dog collars and doggie identity discs – inspirational. Our own Yacht Club girls, dressed as pilots, entertained the sponsors boat (BMW and Eye Talent Management) before the former left for the rugby and the latter headed out on the water.
46 sailors left the shore in an 8 knot breeze, which built to 15 knots during the course of the race – perfect sailing conditions.
Reigning World Champion, Thomas Hansson-Mild from Sweden, led the race from the start, with Paul Rhodes (NZL) in second. When most of the fleet split, Hansson-Mild went up the middle, and led round every mark. With the breeze building Karl Purdie, who had crept up from fifth to third around the marks, hit the left hand side very hard and finished second just behind Hansson-Mild.
The competitors are now gathering in full team uniform for the official welcoming ceremony and powhiri at the Te Papa national museum marae this evening.
Full results can be found on the homepage of the OK Worlds website, where regular updates will be posted during the course of racing.