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OK Dinghy Europeans - Defending champ leads after day 2

by Robert Deaves on 24 Jul 2014
2014 OK Dinghy European Championship Day 2 Ania Pawlaczyk
Steinhuder Meer produced its best for the second day of racing at the OK Dinghy European Championship with two races held in glorious sunshine, with wall to wall blue skies and 10-12 knots of warm wind. Defending champion Bo Petersen (DEN) has taken the lead from Andre Budzien (GER) and Greg Wilcox (NZL). Race wins went to Budzien, Jorgen Svendsen (DEN), Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) and Jim Hunt (GBR).

If the sailors take one lesson from racing on Steinhuder Meer, it would be that it's never over until it's over and that you can never be sure of your position until you cross the finish line. OK, so that's two lessons, but most of the sailors today learned many more lessons in the shifty, patchy winds that kept everyone guessing until the very end.

Overall leader this morning, Andre Budzien (GER) was in Yellow fleet and took the opening race from Frederik Svendsen (DEN) and Jorgen Svendsen (DEN). The father turned the tables on his son in the second race with Jorgen winning from Frederik. Pawel Pawlaczyk (POL) crossed in third, while Budzien could only finish tenth to lose the overall lead.

While the conditions were still challenging with major windshifts and pressure changes, Steinhude produced some great sailing conditions with temperatures in the high 20s and with winds gusting to 15 knots during the second race, though again there were times when the wind dropped out and it was a guessing game to pick the right side. There were always some substantial gains and losses to be made, but the favourites almost always made their way toward the front.

Simon Cox (GBR) provided the 'tween race entertainment. Trying to change his mast chocks he managed to fall over the bow as the wind caught the sail and the boat capsized on top of him. He then capsized at least three more times trying to regain his composure. Luckily the water here is so shallow he managed to walk round his boat each time to aid recovery.

In Blue fleet the first race was a battle between Oliver Gronholz (GER), Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) and Bo Petersen (DEN). It was tight but eventually Lindhardtsen took the bullet from Gronholz and Petersen. The left side was generally proving to be the best, but Jim Hunt (GBR) favoured the right on the first race of the second race to lead at top mark from Petersen and Greg Wilcox (NZL). Hunt and Petersen pulled away and had a tough fight for the whole race, but on the final beat Hunt made a few gains and Wilcox almost caught Petersen before they ran out of race track.

After one more race a discard will also come into effect, which will bring several sailors to the front and set the scene for the gold and silver fleets on Friday and Saturday. The top three are pretty consistent, but in the winds experienced so far with 40 degree shifts and 10 knots pressure variation across the course anything can happen.

On Wednesday evening the sailors were ferried in open boats to Wilhelmstein Island, a picturesque island in the middle of Steinhuder Meer that was formerly a fortress and a refuge for the citizens of Steinhude in times of seige. The sailors enjoyed a fabulous dinner with the lake lapping at the island's shores. Numerous sailors tried to circumnavigate the island on foot, perhaps encouraged by the copious volumes of free beer supplied by the event organisers. Most returned safely, though the walk only lasted about five minutes. It is not a large island.

Racing continues Thursday from 12.00, with a similar forecast to the past two days.

Ten races are scheduled for the European Championship from Tuesday 22 July to Saturday 26 July. On the first day, the fleets will be split into two starts based on the latest OK Dinghy World Ranking list, and adjusted each day thereafter based on the overall positions at the end of each day. On the fourth and fifth days, the fleet will be split into gold and silver fleets. The warning signal for racing is scheduled for 12.00 each Event website

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