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European Championship 2014
Steinhuder Meer, Germany
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Reports by Robert Deaves
21.7. Beautiful setting in Steinhude for OK Dinghy Europeans opening ceremony
The 2014 OK Dinghy European Championship was officially opened in Steinhude, Germany, Monday evening after 117 entries had been received. Racing is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
The championship is being held at two clubs, Segler-Verein Großenheidorn and Yachtclub Steinhuder Meer, standing side by side in an idyllic location overlooking the Steinhuder Meer. There are OK Dinghies everywhere, with sailors making final preparations for the start of racing. The weather has been unusually hot, with Monday's 28 degrees a welcome relief from the 37 degrees recorded at the weekend. However both Sunday and Monday suffered through lack of wind, though a sailable wind is forecast for most of the coming week.
As the sun set behind the Steinhuder Meer, the opening ceremony, took place right beside the lake with more than 250 sailors, families, officials and volunteers present. The welcome received by the sailors so far has been phenomenal, with the clubs, the sponsors and the local dignitaries genuinely pleased that so many OK Dinghy sailors from so many countries had travelled to this championship. There was a great feeling of welcome, camaraderie and friendship throughout the opening ceremony. The vast number of sponsors, both local companies and OK Dinghy suppliers, were thanked and in particular Ralf Tietje (GER) was thanked for his outstanding work in bringing it all together and he received a standing ovation. The sailors were welcomed by both clubs and each nation was fanfared to the applause of the other competitors. Finally, Dr. Burmeister of Lotto SportStiftung, the event's major sponsor, declared the championship open, and the sailors and guests tucked into a massive pasta buffet before relocating to the lawn to enjoy the cold beer and the sunset.
The prizegiving also took place for the pre-Europeans-regatta, which was sailed over the weekend. Jørgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) won from Bo Reker Andersen (DEN) and Martin von Zimmerman (GER) after only three races were possible. Three races were sailed on Saturday in 10-12 knots and an incredible 37 degrees. On Sunday racing was cancelled as there was no wind, but it allowed the organisers to start measurement earlier than scheduled. All boats received a thorough check under the watchful eyes of the class Chief Measurer, Dick Batt (GBR).
On Saturday the class held a Measurement Symposium which attracted 10 builders, measurers and others from five nations to discuss current Rules and measurement matters. As well as updating those present on current trends, recent rulings and the latest rule changes, the meeting was encouraged by the recent growth in the class and the number of new manufacturers, which highlighted the need for continued good practice by both builders and measurers. The symposium also looked at ways to develop better communication between these stakeholders worldwide to enable increased transparency and rules compliance.
Ten races are scheduled for the European Championship from Tuesday 22 July to Saturday 26 July. On the first day, the fleets will be split into two starts based on the latest OK Dinghy World Ranking list, and adjusted each day thereafter based on the overall positions at the end of the previous day. On the fourth and fifth days, the fleet will be split into gold and silver fleets. The warning signal for racing is scheduled for 12.00 each day.
25.7. Correct forecast for no racing on fourth day at OK Dinghy Europeans
The forecast for Day 4 at the OK Dinghy European Championship on Steinhuder Meer in Germany was for rain and a reducing wind. Soon after the Gold fleet set off, the rain stopped and the wind died. The fleet waited afloat for two hours and ashore for three hours but racing was finally abandoned for the day just before 1800.
For the record, Bo Petersen (DEN) was leading on the right and Martin von Zimmermann (GER) on the left but the wind had dropped from 7-8 knots just before the start to 1-2 knots and was swinging wildly when the race officer decided to abandon half way up the first beat. Soon after the abandonedment was signalled the wind dropped out completely and the fleet was towed back to the harbour.
On Saturday, the last day of racing, the first start has been brought forward to 10.00, to make the best of the forecast wind, which even then is only 5-6 knots. A maximum of two races will be sailed, though to get even one in is being considered ambitious. The fleet will have to see what the new day brings.
Someone once said that the OK Dinghy fleet has a social competence far exceeding any other class. The 110 sailors here in Steinhude have been proving that statement right all week. Most of the fleet have drunk more free beer and eaten more free food than was covered by the entry fee alone. Of course it is not free but thanks to the huge number of sponsors that have got on board to support this fabulous week by a beautiful German lake.
At the dinner on Thursday evening, every sailor was given a tombola prize, donated by sponsors, including toestraps, bags, ropes, buoyancy aids, etc. Following that, the band, which induced sailor Peter Stephan (GER), entertained the sailors late into the night. Earlier, on the camp site, Rod Andrew (BEL) had entranced the sailors with his superb renditions of modern classics with his guitar and blues voice. Every day, breakfast is provided in the tent, beer and snacks are consumed on the grass after sailing and a dinner is served in the evening in the tent. All this has been included in the EUR 200 entry fee. The OK Dinghy class is famous for this kind of social responsibility.
26.7. Jørgen Svendsen wins OK Dinghy Europeans in Steinhude after no wind on final day
Jørgen Svendsen (DEN) is the new OK Dinghy European Champion after all racing was cancelled on the final day as the find failed to appear for the second day in a row. André Budzien (GER) took the silver while defending champion Bo Petersen (DEN) had to settle for the bronze.
The forecast was never that encouraging for the final day on Steinhuder Meer in Germany. It had rained almost non-stop for the previous 36 hours, and it finally abated early Saturday morning. As the sailors rose from their slumber the lake was shrouded in a low mist with barely a breath of wind breaking the surface. Breakfast started at 7.00 to allow a start to be made at 10.00. However, though the visibility improved, the wind did not and the hours ticked away with AP flying. Eventually the sun came out and the sailors could dry out, though some started on the beer rather early as there seemed little prospect of racing. Finally at 14.00 the race officer came ashore and put everyone out of their misery and the task of packing up could begin in earnest.
Svendsen's win, and Petersen's failure to retain it, continues the curse of the OK Dinghy European title. No one has ever successfully defended the European title in this class. In fact no sailor has ever won it twice. Svendsen has won several Danish titles, and was ranked No.1 in the world in the OK Dinghy last year, but this is his first major international title, and it was perhaps a long time coming. He won four out of the six race sailed, but ironically never sailed against the defending champion due to none of the gold/silver fleet races being sailed.
In contrast he did beat second placed Budzien several times, including the two important race wins on Thursday in what many sailors acknowledge was the best racing they have done all year. Budzien, of course is better known as a multiple Finn Masters World Champion, but also won the OK Dinghy World title in 2012.
Defending champion Petersen sailed an impressive series, and but for gear failure on Thursday would probably have taken silver. He has only been in the class for two years, but is always challenging the front of the fleet, especially in lighter winds.
It has been a memorable event, not least because of the hospitality of the two host clubs, Segler-Verein Großenheidorn and Yachtclub Steinhuder Meer and the organisational prowess of Ralf 'Ossi' Tietje (GER) who has worked tirelessly for the last two years to bring it all together and received a standing ovation at the closing ceremony tonight. The Germans are famous for their hospitality but this year it has far exceeded everyone's expectations. The 110 sailors who arrived in Steinhude have had a fabulous time, and leave with some great memories of close racing, great friendships, new and old, and probably far too much beer. The word is that 1,200 litres have been consumed this week.
However, not content with organising the perfect event, the hosts also organised the most lavish prizegiving probably ever seen in the fleet. Every sailor was given an embroidered towel and framed photo of themselves sailing. The top 20 received engraved glass decanters, and the top 3 were filled with whiskey.
Svendsen's summed up the feelings of the sailors after taking his first international title. “I feel that we had three good days racing. Light winds the first day, medium wind on the second and a lot of wind on the third. All kinds of conditions. I especially enjoyed day 2 when my son and I were best but the one I will remember the best was day 3. It was fantastic. I was in the fleet with all the favourites and it was so close we had a very good fight and all the top sailors were very friendly to each other and we actually spoke and joked when we turned marks and mostly it was 'good luck' on the next leg. I was also very glad to meet Jim Hunt. He is an amazing sailor but most of all he was a very good sportsman.”
“The arrangements here have just been fantastic, from the breakfasts, evening meals to the help getting off the water when we are all tired. Thanks to everyone for all the effort and the sailors for coming.”
There is now just six months to the next OK Dinghy major championship. The 2014 World Championship will take place in Melbourne, Australia just after Christmas.
|9||DEN-1393||René Sarabia Johannsen||VSK||8||30||5||4||9||4||30,00|
|13||GER-693||Martin von Zimmermann||SCOe||2||OCS||6||6||14||8||36,00|
|43||DEN-1315||Bo Reker Andersen||HS||25||26||18||15||20||DNC||104,00|
|44||SWE-2796||Bengt Larsson SS||Kaparen||29||RET||18||14||25||19||105,00|
|65||FRA-1823||Guillaume De Kervenoael||ABCV||20||50||44||12||37||28||141,00|
|108||GER-749||Jens Wehmeier||SGH 1978||54||51||48||48||DNF||DNC||261,00|
|1||Jørgen Svendsen||DEN 1427||Icebreaker||Icebreaker Boats (NZ)||C Tech||Green|
|2||André Budzien||GER 789||SOTA||Strandberg (DEN)||Pata||Green|
|3||Bo Petersen||DEN 1431||SOTA||Strandberg (DEN)||C Tech||Green|
|4||Oliver Gronholz||GER 772||Kraus||Kraus (GER)||C Tech||Green|
|5||Paweł Pawlowski||POL 14||Icebreaker||Bumblebee (POL)||C Tech||Green|
|6||Greg Wilcox||NZL 544||Icebreaker||Icebreaker Boats (NZ)||C Tech||Turtle|
|7||Jim Hunt||GBR 2162||Icebreaker||Idol (UK)||Aardspar||HD|
|8||Jørgen Lindhardsen||DEN 1420||SOTA||Hedlund (DEN)||C Tech||Green|
|9||René Sarabia Johansen||DEN 1393||Icebreaker||Icebreaker Boats NZ||C Tech||Green|
|10||Will Turner||GBR 2169||Icebreaker||Idol (UK)||C Tech||HD|