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OK Dinghy North Sails Traveller Series Round 1 at the Burghfield Sprint Races

by Andrew Dalby 4 Mar 22:43 PST 2 March 2024
OK Sprint Races at Burghfield © Peter Blackman / Burghfield SC

Saturday, 2nd March, brought many sailors together from across the country at Burghfield Sailing Club (by Reading on the M4) for round one of the 'OK North Sails Traveller Series', the first of many scheduled events for the OKs in 2024.

Given the resurgence in the class since the Worlds at Lyme Regis in 2023, with many new boats commissioned and serious practising happening all over the UK, this event promised to be keenly contested.

Burghfield Sprints are always an intense series of 8+ short races aiming to sharpen skills at the start of the season with each race lasting approximately 20 minutes. OOD Peter Blackman, ably assisted by a good team, all braved a long day in a cold weather snap. Peter and the team worked around a challenging wind direction and tight schedule, hosting both the UK Finns and OKs. The team smoothly managed 16 races in total with lots of line changes given the constant variation in the breeze, throwing pretty much everything at the competitors. A trapezoid course was set.

It was great to see many new debuts in the OK. New faces included Oliver Davenport having sneaked out Tom Lonsdale's OK from the P&B garage - and Simon Potts sailing a highly modified and well-sorted Synergy Mk1 prototype.

Race 1: Oliver Davenport made a good start leading away from Simon Potts and Simon Rushworth with the first local, Rob Starling, chasing hard. All sailors picked their way through the shifts well. A big pack of boats always finished just behind.

Race 2: Again, Davenport made a cracking start leading Dalby chased hard by Poullion, breathing down their necks to the finish. No room allowed for error, with Poulloin in his newly acquired OK classic.

Race 3: Yet again, Davenport made the best of the start and the first beat to lead Potts and Poulloin around the track.

Race 4: Oliver Davenport made it look too easy again, leading Dalby and Starling around to the finish.

At lunch, competitors pondered who the potential event winner might be while refuelling on welcome pasties and chips.

Race 5: Rob Starling finally found his A-game, making a cracking start and maintaining a lead from Davenport, Rushworth, and Lovegrove. Finally, cracks were appearing with Davenport, with the fleet realizing he was a mere mortal after all!

Race 6: The breeze was up, and Davenport regained his composure. He picked his way down the first beat with Dalby and Burt in pursuit. Burt sailed the last reach at incredible pace, almost getting through sailing low and fast.

The real competition at this point was for second place overall, with a handful of boats in contention and all eyes on the Starling Vs. Potts showdown.

Race 7: Davenport took an early lead with Potts and Starling in pursuit. Starling, however, made a slight error under pressure from Peter Norman, letting boats through on the final beat to the finishing line and finishing 4th.

This left the race for second all the last race with Potts a few points ahead.

Race 8: Tricky, shifty conditions; however, Andy Rushworth just got it right to lead at the windward mark, safely extending to the finish unchallenged. Meanwhile, a pack of boats fought furiously behind with Starling just ahead and Davenport working well down the run with Potts there too. A big line of pressure formed behind, catching Potts off guard, capsizing to windward with a mighty bang and letting Starling take second overall. Potts took a long and chilly swim but had done enough to secure a very well-deserved third place in the event.

Special mentions must also go to Mary Reddyhoff as the first lady, braving some hard racing and kindly sharing the latest OK magazines, warmly welcoming all new competitors to the class.

At the prize-giving, the Finn competitors kindly complimented Burghfield's very own Nick Craig on having won his sixth World Championship in the OKs in Australia that very morning.

Overall Results:

PosHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1Oliver Davenport1111‑211‑36
2Rob Starling44‑631‑84218
3Simon Potts2524‑642‑1119
4Andrew Rushworth374‑836‑8124
5Andrew Dalby‑92‑102923624
6Deryck Lovegrove‑765545‑12429
7Gavin Poulloin‑123395‑106733
8Peter Norman8‑11‑136795540
9James Dyas10‑12778‑117948
10Tony Rich588‑1210‑12101051
11Richard Burton610‑1110113115 DN51
12Nigel King‑14‑1312111279859
13Mary Reddyhoff1114913RESDN5DN5DN77
14Steve Townsend1391414DN5DN5DN5DN80

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