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OK World Championship at Warnemunde, Germany - Preview

by Karen Robertson 8 Jul 2018 00:13 PDT 10-14 July 2018
OK dinghies at Warnemunde © Robert Deaves

As over 140 OK dinghies from ten different countries gather in Warnemunde, Germany for the 2018 OK World Championship (10th – 14th July) an influx of talent is promising an exciting championship with previous winners from Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Germany and Britain facing the new challengers including the legendary six time Olympian and multiple World Champion in Finn and Star, Freddy Loof (SWE).

Britain have 18 entries registered (or 19 if we count UK based Kiwi and current UK National Champion Luke Gower) and are presenting a bid to hopefully bring the OK Worlds back to the UK again in the next few years. That such a strong sailing nation like Britain who have taken the last two World Champions only makes up an eighth of the fleet indicates just how much the class has expanded in recent years in other countries and the depth of the field is astonishing for a non-Olympic class. Indeed, that Loof has chosen to sail the OK it's clear that the resurgence in the class internationally is beginning to present a worthy challenge for top sailors around the world. Indeed, in New Zealand rumour has it that America's Cup great, Rod Davis, is working up to the 2019 World Championship which is to be held in NZ in February at Wakatere While Loof recently won the Nordic Championship in his first outing in the class, there is no shortage of sailors hoping to give him a run for his money. These include his fellow Swedes Mats Caap (OK World Champion and Olympian) and Thomas Hansson-Mild (OK World Champion), Danes and previous European Champions, Bo Petersen and Jorgen Svendsen, Britain's own Jim Hunt who has won the OK worlds twice, New Zealand's Greg Wilcox (OK World Champion and #1 on the OK ranking list) and reigning European Champion Lars Johan Brodtkorb from Norway. It is a shame that our own Nick Craig, current OK World Champion and who has won more OK World Championships than any other sailor cannot defend his title, but he's promised to be back soon!

One of the new guns, Germany's Jan Kurfeld was one of the German squad sailors in the Finn and had Olympic ambitions but after trying the OK last year is targeting the World Championship on his home patch this year and set out his stall in dramatic fashion by winning Keil Week recently. "For the World Cup I want to sail for a medal" says Kurfeld. "It's going to be a hot class and a high level (of competition). In any case, I want to sail for the medals. The OK dinghy is a nice boat and has a lot to offer for many, it is a kind of combination of Laser and Finn. Also technically a lot has happened - both in the masts and in the sails. And....the class is very different than in the Olympic class, much more relaxed and sociable. At the moment, it is actually booming in the class," says Kurfeld.

Part of the reason the class is expanding internationally is the reasonable initial cost of the boats, the long competitive life of boats, sails and rigs and in some areas the newly developed laser cut flat pack kits have shown that home built boats can once again be as fast as any from the established manufacturers. In Britain we are blessed in having three world class OK builders in the form of Idol Composites, Ovington and Synergy Marine and sails being actively developed and campaigned by North's Charlie Cumbley and HD's Jim Hunt.

With so much talent being present whoever wins the Championship over the course of the next week will be truly worthy of the title of World Champion.

If sailing the OK interests you, the UK Class association has a demo boat that can be tried out or a trial sail organised in many areas of the UK. Please contact the class association at

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