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Spectacular practice race as OK Dinghy World Championship opens in sunny Lyme Regis

by Robert Deaves 25 Jun 2023 22:08 PDT 26-30 June 2023
Great conditions for the OK Dinghy Worlds practice race - Mikael Bjorndal, SWE © Robert Deaves / www.robertdeaves.uk

The Ovington Boats and Pro-Set Resins 2023 OK Dinghy World Championship was opened Sunday in Lyme Regis, UK, with 143 boats from 13 countries ready to start racing on Monday.

On Sunday the practice race was held in spectacular conditions on Lyme Bay with 15-18 knots and wall to wall sunshine. In the evening the opening ceremony was held at the club.

The fleet set out for the practice race in light winds, but after a short wait a strong sea breeze quickly built to provide fantastic sailing conditions. Around 130 boats took part. The early leaders in the two groups were Paul Childs and Andrew Mills, but as normal many dropped out through the race and at the finish former world champions, Greg Wilcox, from New Zealand, took the first gun while Jim Hunt, from Britain, eventually won the second group. Only around 30 boats completed the course.

The conditions were exactly sublime, with long rolling waves, blue skies, high temperatures and a lot of happy sailors. After weeks of very light winds and calm seas, finally the sailors could stretch their legs and let the boats fly on the waves. The forecast for the rest of the week is quite encouraging, with a few lighter days and a few windier days.

The opening ceremony began with a call from the town crier to the assembled crowd with a welcome to Lyme Regis with fierce competition and strong friendships. A buffet reception followed with many local dignitaries and sponsors present.

The OKDIA President Mark Jackson thanked all the organisers and volunteers from the club for the huge amount of work in putting the event together, as well as the British association which has been planned an event for more than seven years. He also noted the flexibility of the club in delaying the event due to the pandemic.

In Lyme Regis there are OK Dinghies everywhere. Three boat parking areas are being used around the marina and everywhere you look there are boats, masts, trailers. The event has taken over the town and the town has welcomed the event. On Monday the racing starts in earnest with the first two races of the ten-race series scheduled. Racing continues until Friday.

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