Please select your home edition
Edition
North Sails 3Di 60 - 728x90

Symonite OK Worlds: Practice race in the beautiful seabreeze

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/NZ 9 Feb 04:38 PST 10 February 2019
Dan Slater - 2019 Symonite Int OK Dinghy World Championships, February 2019 © Robert Deaves

The 111 boat fleet assembled for the 2019 Symonite World Championships had a final practice race today in champagne sailing conditions, off Takapuna Beach.

Half of the fleet pulled out after the first triangle and headed for the beach.

After two days of measuring, without any apparent drama, the competitors attended the opening ceremony and dinner at Wakatere Boating Club.

The big fleet for the single-handed class - designed initially as a trainer for the Olympic Finn - comes at a time when World Sailing has turned its back on single-handed sailing. The point was not lost on the sailors at the opening ceremony with references to the fact that the 2024 Olympic Regatta will contain only one singlehanded class - and one that most competitors at this World Championship would be too heavy to sail.

Ironically the OK has attracted a fleet of 111 at these Worlds, the Finn had 380 entries for the 2018 Masters Worlds, and had a full house on limited entry fleet of 90 places at the 2019 Finn World Championships.

The competitors cover a range of ages from teens to seventy plus, and from multiple Olympic medalists and four-time America's Cup champions to club racing regulars.

It's an eclectic group.

This is the first world championship ever staged at Wakatere Boating Club, which was founded in 1926, by a group of sailors designing and building sailing canoes. Wakatere is Maori for "fast canoe".

The first world championship for the class was held in 1970 off Takapuna and won by Swede Kent Carlsson. That was the first ever world championship sailed in New Zealand.

The regatta was also the launchpad for Peter Montgomery's broadcasting career when he covered the series live for radio. He went on to completely reshape the way yachting was commentated and reported, turn the sport into a compelling broadcast be it radio or TV.

The championships returned to Takapuna in 1977 as a memorial to 1973 World Champion, Clive Roberts - who had become unbeatable in New Zealand and was the dominant figure in the class an indeed New Zealand yachting. Roberts was sadly killed in a car crash in May 2005.

That world championship was won by New Zealand's Peter Lester, and was the Kiwis' first world championship win in home waters.

Two competitors in that World Championship, Bill Bell (AUS) and Dick Batt (GBR) have returned to Auckland serving on the International Jury and as Measurer for the 2019 World Championships.

The 1977 Worlds were also notable for the development of the class measuring jig by Alf Lock, which both speeded up the hull measurement process considerably, and found out several boats which did not conform to the strict class measurements, but which had been passed in their own country.

A beautiful varnished OK belonging to Jim Ley (Australia) was picked up in the measurement jig and rejected by the measurers, triggering a diplomatic incident with the Australian Ambassador being called on to intervene.

The 1970 World OK Dinghy Championships were a first for New Zealand with big fleets of OK Dinghies being sailed at various clubs, requiring the selection of a New Zealand to contain numbers within manageable bounds. Once selected the team trained together with a beach work out session before sailing.

One member of that squad is competing in the 2019 World Championships.

Olympic Finn class representative, Jonty Farmer was the top placed New Zealander finishing third overall. However, the regatta highlighted how New Zealand had to lift its standard through a changed more thinking approach, and by sailors working together and information sharing through a development program.

Clive Roberts became the first New Zealander to win an OK World Championship in 1973 at Falmouth, England sailing a hull designed by Alf Lock and built by Bruce Farr, who was working as a boatbuilder in Devonport the time.

Since then New Zealand sailors have won another 12 World OK titles - it is New Zealand's most successful sailing class. The class was also the first to send teams away regularly each year to compete in Europe and Scandinavia

As Clive Roberts noted in a piece he penned in 1974: "in 10 years 400 boats have been built, and a total of $60,000 raised [at a time when a house and land cost $25,000] which has enabled 250 positions for NZ OK sailors to compete in international yachting."

Although the 2019 Symonite World Championship is based at Wakatere BC, the racing will be held off Takapuna starting at 1300hrs on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (1100hrs start).

Related Articles

Big Symonite OK Worlds fleet in NZ bodes well
The renaissance in the OK Dinghy looks to be assured after the Symonite OK Worlds in Auckland Three times Olympian, and now a top sailing coach, Dan Slater stepped into the OK Dinghy for the 2019 Symonite World Championships, and never dropped out of the top two places overall during the five-day regatta. Posted on 17 Feb
Slater under pressure for Symonite OK Worlds win
Dan Slater learned to sail on the North Shore venue for the 2019 Symonite OK Worlds Dan Slater learned to sail off the waters of Auckland's East Coast Bays and that was a big reason why he won the OK Dinghy world championships on Friday. Posted on 17 Feb
North Sails Weekly Debrief
OK Dinghy World Champ, See you there, J/24 Class Leader, Headstay Sag Dan Slater has won the 2019 OK Dinghy Worlds in Auckland, NZL hosted by Wakatere Boating Club. Posted on 16 Feb
Symonite OK Dinghy Worlds in Auckland overall
Dan Slater secures the World OK Dinghy title for New Zealand Dan Slater has won the 2019 Symonite OK Dinghy World Championship at Wakatere Boating Club after a challenging final day of racing with at first light winds, then breezy conditions, but always difficult and shifty. Posted on 15 Feb
Symonite OK Dinghy Worlds in Auckland day 4
Dan Slater has extended his lead to 11 points on the penultimate day The day started as expected with a postponement onshore, but after two hours the fleet was rewarded with a building sea breeze and two great races into the early evening. Posted on 14 Feb
Symonite OK Worlds: Seven Kiwis in Top Ten - Day 4
"Make a call then execute" was the strategy for success on Day 4 of the OK Worlds "Make a call then execute" was how series leader and top coach, Dan Slater, described the best race strategy for Day 4 of the Symonite 2019 OK Dinghy World Championship sailed from the Wakatere Boating Club, on Auckland's North Shore. Posted on 14 Feb
Kiwi extends points lead in Symonite OK Worlds
Two races were sailed on Day 3 of the Symonite OK Worlds in the typical Takapuna offshore breeze The General Recall signal again stayed unused in the flag locker on Day 3 of the Symonite OK Dinghy World Championships. Posted on 13 Feb
Symonite OK Dinghy Worlds in Auckland day 3
Early morning showers gave way to a beautiful, hot and sunny day by race time Olympians Dan Slater and Fredrik Lööf took the race wins on the third day of the 2019 Symonite OK Dinghy World Championship at Wakatere Boating Club, in Auckland, after two more races in a very shifty offshore breeze. Posted on 12 Feb
Symonite OK Worlds: Three way tie for lead - Day 2
After a two hour postponement, the classic Takapuna offshore breeze arrived for Day 2 of the Symonit After a two hour postponement, the classic Takapuna offshore breeze arrived for Day 2 of the Symonite OK World Championships. Posted on 11 Feb
Symonite OK Worlds day 2: Armit takes joint lead
Joining day one leader, Andrew Phillips in the fleet of 111 sailors Seventeen year old Josh Armit has taken the joint lead at the 2019 Symonite OK Dinghy World Championship at Wakatere Boating Club in Auckland after emerging from the second day of racing with the lowest points of any of the 111 competitors. Posted on 11 Feb
Zhik 2018 Kollition 728x90 BOTTOMMarine Resources BOTTOMMelges 14 2019 Footer