Great Britain, Dabchicks 2003
Dabchicks Sailing Club
12th / 13th April 2003
The first qualifier for the 2004 OK World Championships took place at Dabchicks Sailing Club on West Mersea over the weekend of 12t/13th April and attracted a good turnout of 28 boats. Competition for the limited places in 2004 was expected to be high and this resulted in excellent racing throughout the fleet, with first class race management from the Dabchicks race team.
Race one saw a pin end bias with only three boats at the correct end. Will Turner led out followed by brother Pete and Robert Deaves. The rest of the fleet was led out of the starboard end by Jim Hunt. W. Turner held onto the lead until the final lap when Hunt's superior speed nudged him into the front to take the gun. Deaves fought off challenges from David Carroll and Gavin Waldron to finish third. The second race was much the same with 8-10 knots of wind and a strong ebb tide. This time Hunt got cleanly away and led throughout to take the win. Carroll and David Rose had a battle for second, finishing in that order with Tony Thresher sailing the 30 year old K1774 into fourth place.
Sunday brought fresher winds and some more fantastic racing. The racing was starting to form something of a pattern with Jim Hunt again leading both races from start to finish. Taking a conservative mid-line start, he had the speed to take a march on the fleet early on and then choose his shifts to lead from the front. Carroll scored two more second places, just overcoming Rose in race three and challenging Hunt in the final race. Third place in the final race went to Terry Curtis.
In the end Hunt showed his superior ability and speed, dominating the event. Carroll, in his fantastically coloured pink boat (he can be seen a mile off so expect some OCSs soon!) showed good pace at times while third placed Rose was showing some of the form that won him two national championships a decade ago. As expected, the competition at the front was extremely close with often seconds between boats. This was also the first event where carbon masts were allowed. Hunt used a Proctor mast to good effect, and the only other two in the fleet showed good speed at times but didn't figure high in the final results.
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