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Symonite OK Worlds: Slater consolidates lead on Day 3

by Richard Gladwell 12 Feb 2019 20:09 PST 13 February 2019
Dan Slater wins Race 4 - Day 3, Symonix OK World Championship, Wakatere Boating Club, February12, 2019 © Richard Gladwell

The General Recall signal again stayed unused in the flag locker on Day 3 of the Symonite OK Dinghy World Championships being staged by the Wakatere Boating Club, and sailed in the Rangitoto Channel off Takapuna, on Auckland's North Shore.

That was not because the fleet had been given an starting etiquette lesson, but because the wind and tide were running largely in the same direction, and again the fleet got underway to clean starts in both races.

That is quite an achievement for the 113 boats racing as a single fleet.

The breeze blew again from the offshore direction but was more shifty and unstable than the second day of racing. Running hot and cold, as they say.

The top ten overall continues to be dominated by New Zealanders, but less so that before - with two Swedish and one British sailor now featuring.

Former Youth World Champion, and triple Olympic representative in the Finn and 49er classes, Dan Slater strengthened his grip on the title, by consistently finishing second and blotted his copybook with a win in R.ace 5.

"In the first race I had a really clean start, I was able to tack when I wanted to and go wherever I wanted to go,' he told Sail-World after the race. "I wasn't influenced by any other boats", he added. "It worked out. I got to the top mark, got passed down the reach and then regained the lead."

"It was Takapuna", he laughed response to a question as to how shifty it was for the racing. "I don't think it was any different from the other thousand or so times I have been up and down there!

"Yes it was shifty but nothing unusual."

A feature of the start of the second race was a big wind swing just a minute or so before the start which was not picked up by most of the fleet, save for a couple. Sweden's Thomas Hansson-Mild, timed it perfectly crossing at full speed on port tack with the rest of the fleet lined up 50 metres to leeward on the other tack.

He went on to have his best race of the series to date finishing fifth, after being run down by the points table leaders.

"There was a big left-handed shift coming in, with most of the title contenders being on the right. The port-tack was potentially on, but I wasn't at all sure that you could get out of there on a port-tack," Slater said later.

"I just set up to leeward of our group, so when we tacked, I was in a controlling position from [triple Olympic medalist] Freddie Loof (SWE) and [four times America's Cup winner] Mattie Mason (NZL) and Andrew "Lightning" Philips."

"That pretty well set up the race from there - give or take a place or two."

Slater says he felt the second race was sailed in lighter conditions than the first for the first lap, before strengthening for the remainder of the race.

Despite going on a fitness program for three months for three months before the Worlds, it was interrupted by a small injury and a coaching trip to the Sailing World Cup Miami, where he coached a Chinese sailor to a 14pt win in the Laser Radial class.

"I shook it off, and I am in better shape than I was six months ago, but this series is still hard on the body," he said.

The forecasts for the next two days (Thursday and Friday) are for light winds. Racing starts early on Friday at 1100hrs.

Behind Slater on the points table, current World Youth Champion, Josh Armit sits nine points behind on 16pts, with Loof and Phillips tied on 18pts.

While all is OK on the water, that is not generally the case ashore when the matter of the OK Dinghy's big sister the Finn being excluded, but more of that later.

For full results 2019.okworlds.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Provisional-Results-Race-5.html

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