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100 days to 2019 OK Dinghy World Championship at Wakatere Boating Club, Auckland

by Bob Smith, BS Sports Publishing 1 Nov 2018 09:34 PDT 7-15 February 2019
Wakatere Boating Club, Auckland © OKDIA

The 2019 OK Dinghy World Championship is due to begin in just 100 days time in the iconic sailing area off Takapuna on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand. The championship will run from 7-15 February 2019 and will be based at Wakatere Boating Club and, with just over three months to go, preparation is in full swing.

The OK Dinghy worlds represents a big milestone for Wakatere, as it will be the first time the club has hosted a world championship, and every effort is being made to provide an event of the highest quality, both on and off the water.

In recent years, Wakatere has become the centre of OK Dinghy sailing in Auckland, and arguably New Zealand, with a club fleet that has grown to more than 45 boats and including sailors such as Rod Davis (multiple Olympic medallist, America's Cup sailor and coach), Dan Slater (multiple Olympian in the 49er and Finn), Matt Mason (multiple America's Cup campaigns), and several multiple national and international title winners in the OK class such as Ben Morrison (three New Zealand titles), Russell Wood (two New Zealand titles) and Mark Perrow (two New Zealand titles).

It was therefore the natural choice to host the championship, which comes to New Zealand on an eight-year cycle.

More recently, current World Youth Laser Champion Josh Armit, son of long-time OK Dinghy World Champion, Leith Armit, has joined the Wakatere OK Dinghy fleet and is training hard for the world championship – watch out for Josh downwind, blink and you'll miss him.

Wakatere BC Commodore, Simon Probert, says that the club is primarily, a family and community focussed dinghy sailing club. He makes the point that, while high-performance sailing is not the club's primary focus, it is notable that one outcome of the club's 'grassroots' ethos has been that Wakatere has now grown into one of New Zealand's powerhouse sailing clubs in terms of high-performance, with a strong and growing membership and an impressive record of producing champions at national and international level.

Free entry for selected junior New Zealand sailors

The junior OK Dinghy title will be on the line as part of the event, and New Zealand aims to put the strongest possible junior team on the water. To help facilitate that, the New Zealand OK Dinghy Association and Wakatere Boating Club, with the generous support of Victoria Cruising Club, are offering a number of free entries to junior sailors. As a starting point, two free entries are available to Wakatere members, one to another Auckland-based sailor (who does not need to be a Wakatere member), one to a Napier-based sailor, and one to a Wellington-based sailor. To be eligible to compete, a sailor must be under 21 years of age.

To apply for selection for one of the free entries, sailors should send an email setting out their case for selection, together with evidence of age, to Wakatere's Commodore Simon Probert at

Stellar fleet expected

All indications are for a fleet size of more than 100 at the championship, which would make it the biggest southern hemisphere OK Dinghy worlds in history. Full containers are already confirmed from the UK, Germany and Australia, with further entries expected from Denmark, Poland, Sweden, and the US.

The quality of the fleet looks to be very high as well – as well as the top Auckland-based contenders, other New Zealand sailors will include the likes of four-time New Zealand champion Luke O'Connell, and 2002 World Champion Greg Wilcox, who will travel from his current German abode. From the rest of the world comes a stellar line-up, including five-time OK Dinghy world champion, Nick Craig, sailing superstar Freddy Lööf, former World champion Thomas Hansson-Mild, and many other top-pedigree competitors.

Iconic race area

Racing will take place on the waters off the northern end of Takapuna Beach, the same waters as the famously televised 1977 OK Dinghy Worlds, the 2017 Finn Gold Cup, and many other sailing contests over many decades.

Conditions in February can usually be expected to be warm, and include a mixture of light to moderate offshore (north-west to south-west) breezes and moderate north-easterly sea breezes – although, as we all known, when there is a worlds on.... "it isn't usually like this."

All told, it looks like being a classic OK Dinghy worlds.

Sustainable OK Dinghy Worlds - Sailors for the Sea

Wakatere BC is pleased to announce that the 2019 OK Dinghy Worlds is a registered Sailors for the Sea event.

The Sailors for the Seas Clean Regattas programme is designed to assist events and local communities to adopt standards and practices that will mitigate the effects of unsightly and environmentally unsafe refuse. The programme defines 25 best practices with guidelines on how to run any water-based event in a sustainable way.

The club's goal is also to make this the most sustainable OK Dinghy World Championship to ever.

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