The International OK Dinghy World Championships 2011 are now underway in Largs, Scotland.
On the first day of the event, spectators were treated to an Opening Ceremony performance by the Boys Brigade in which the sailors again were able to listen to the sound of the pipes play by 14 year old Christopher who is a member of Largs Sailing Club as they launched their boats. Adding to the joy of sailing in these waters was the sight of a lone porpoise which kept our company for most of the day.
After a short postponement whilst the Principal Race Officer Chris Hadden held the fleet ashore for the wind to build, sixty-five competitors headed for the race area north of Great Cumbrae Island. With light airs in the channel, the decision was made to tow the boats to the start line, in preparation for a midday start. With a nine knot wind from 3100, the fleet got away on the third (black flag) start, with the majority choosing the left side of the course.
The wind died temporarily, leaving those in the middle of the course in the best position to benefit from the backing breeze. First to the windward mark was Gunther Arndt (GER), with Hans Elkjaer (SWE) second and Martin Von Zimmerman (GER) third. By the gybe mark Arndt had extended his lead and Rudiger Prinz (GER) was having a battle with Von Zimmerman for third. Places changed again at the leeward mark, with Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE), the practice race winner, climbing to fourth place. With the breeze picking up from astern, the predicted bunching of the mid-fleet around the leeward mark occurred, accompanied by angry comments from some of the participants.
Hansson-Mild found a bit more wind, overtaking the leaders to leeward and giving himself a cushion of some 20 seconds at the windward mark. The wind was again recording nine knots, enabling the fleet to return swiftly to the leeward mark on starboard gybe. By the finish Hansson-Mild had increased his lead, taking the first bullet at this championship. Results Race One for the Falmouth Trophy
1st Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE)
2nd Gunther Arndt (GER)
3rd Martin Von Zimmerman (GER)
4th Hans Elkjaer (SWE)
5th Tomasz Gaj (POL)
6th Greg Wilcox (NZL)
7th Stepan Myraif (DEN)
8th Soenke Behrens (DEN)
9th Bartek Rakocy (POL)
10th Ian Harris (GBR)
Race two was quickly started in a moderate breeze which continued to shift throughout the afternoon. Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) powered his way up the beat, chased by Nick Craig (GBR). They were ahead of the chasing pack of Andre Blasse (AUS), President of OKDIA, Bo Teglers (DEN), Bartek Rakocy (POL), Tomasz Gaj (POL) and Jens Makholm (NOR). Places changed little on the two reaches at the front of the fleet, though Christian Hedlund (DEN) and Martin Von Zimmerman (GER) made some big gains.
The second beat proved hard work for the British juniors Teddy Arrowsmith (GBR), Matthew Bates (GBR) and Adrian Walker (GBR) who were experiencing their first World Championship. All three, however, managed to complete both races on this first day. The wind continued to strengthen and back so the course was lengthened, giving Hansson-Mild and Craig more time to battle their way to the finish as they were neck and neck for much of this final beat.
Hansson-Mild favoured the port side of the course, Craig remained on the starboard side, losing to Hansson-Mild by four boat lengths at the finish. Once over the line, both men congratulated their opponent’s sailing skills and, as is very common in the International OK Dinghy fleet, continued to chat together as they sailed back to Largs Sailing Club.
Martin Von Zimmerman, lying second overall commented ‘race one favoured the Germans as they are lake sailors and I was pleased with my result. I enjoyed the mixed conditions today, but we have only had two races and a lot can happen before the championship finishes.’
As sailors came ashore they were handed a free beer courtesy of Woodlands Brewery. Enjoying the beer sailors chatted about the day on the water. Later on nations will be forming teams for the mini Highland Games arranged by the Largs Sailing Club team. After that everyone will head back to the club for a traditional Scottish Balmoral Chicken super and Whisky tasting sponsored by ‘Old Pulteney’ distillery. Results Race Two for the Örnskjöldsvik Trophy
1st Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE)
2nd Nick Craig (GBR)
3rd Bartek Rakocy (POL)
4th Tomasz Gaj (POL)
5th Greg Wilcox (NZL)
6th Martin Von Zimmerman (GER)
7th Roger Blasse (AUS)
8th Stepan Myraif (DEN)
9th Bo Teglers (DEN)
10th Gunther Arndt (GER) International OK Dinghy website