Great Britain, British National Championships 2009
Reports by Mike Edwards & Rebecca Jackson
Dabchicks to host Hyde Sails-sponsored championship over the August Bank Holiday
Dabchicks Sailing Club, West Mersea, is gearing up for a busy August bank holiday weekend as the club once again plays host to the International OK National Championship, which runs from August 28-31.
As always, the championship looks set to be hotly contested. 2008 champion Terry Curtis is hoping to defend his title and is feeling confident after finishing seventh in last month’s World Championship in Sweden. Competition is likely to come from local OK stalwart Robert Deaves, who was 2006 OK Champion and narrowly missed out on winning the light airs Nationals at Dabchicks in 2005. Fast in all conditions, with his local knowledge this could be Robert’s year. Jon Fish from Waldringfield has been knocking on the door in the OK class for a number of years. With a fourth at last year’s Nationals, plus a few top 20 finishes at recent worlds, if he can keep out of trouble and the right way up he will be in the running.
In addition to the usual familiar faces, the fleet is welcoming a selection of sailors from other singlehanded classes. Mersea local boy and Olympic Squad member Martin Evans looks set to swap his Laser for an OK for the event. Andy Couch, two times Phantom National Champion will be sailing Simon Childs’ boat, and if the breeze is on he may be hard to beat. Simon Cox from the Lark fleet will also be trying out this thoroughbred singlehander.
Several entrants normally seen in the Solo class will also be putting in appearances. 2007 Solo National Champion Andy Davis will be sailing the new Idol Composites OK, which is currently attracting a lot of attention throughout the dinghy world and could give Davis an edge. Robbie Wilson who recently placed third at the Solo Nationals will be sailing Nick Craig’s new boat, as Nick is away at the B14 Europeans.
Current OK class chairman Mike Edwards commented: ‘The association is hoping for a great Championship at Dabchicks SC. We have been coming here for many years and always look forward to excellent race management and a very warm welcome from the club. This year we have the added interest of numerous top sailors from other classes wanting to try the OK, attracted no doubt by the prospect of some of the best international competition in the amateur dinghy world. Some have threatened to have a go before, so it will be interesting to see how they get on, and they will be most welcome on the water and in the bar afterwards. We have a training day planned for the Thursday, so I am sure that some of the guys new to the boat will take full advantage of this.
Hyde Sails have generously offered to sponsor the regatta, with some fantastic prizes up for grabs. Hyde is a perfect sponsor as they are returning to OK sailmaking. For many years Hyde sails were the number one choice for OK sailors both home and abroad, so it’s good to see them back. They are also developing a range of OK accessories that I am sure will prove popular. The first placed junior sailor that owns an OK will win a voucher for a brand new made to measure Hyde OK sail. Other prizes include the innovative new Hyde OK undercover and mast bag.
I am sure many people will be watching to see what is happening over the four day Championship. We hope to provide daily reports, so watch this space!
First day of OK National Championship is worth the wait
The International OK National Championship at Dabchicks Sailing Club finally got underway today (Saturday). Strong winds put paid to the planned racing on Friday but the patience of the 35 competitors paid off as they were greeted this morning with champagne sailing conditions.
Defending champion Terry Curtis established an early lead easing round the first lap comfortably ahead of second placed Andy Crouch. Despite a final leg surge, Crouch, a two times Phantom national champion, could not stop Curtis from taking the first race in convincing style.
In growing breeze, Jon Fish built from his third place finish in race one to lead the fleet from the beginning to take the second race. The remaining places were more hotly contested with race one winner Curtis progressing through the fleet as the laps went on; he eventually took second place.
Curtis has the edge going into day two but with only a point between him and Fish there is everything to sail for. A solid performance from local sailor Robert Deaves sees him lying in third having notched up two fourth place finishes.
Curtis commented “After a successful Worlds campaign I am feeling confident about the UK Nationals. I will be keeping an eye on Andy Crouch: with the breeze on he could be hard to beat.”
The championship, kindly sponsored by Hyde Sails, continues tomorrow with conditions promising to be equally perfect.
Class newcomers shake up the OK National Championship
As predicted, the second day of the International OK National Championship was an exciting one, with several sailors usually seen in different classes successfully demonstrating their skills in an OK.
Two-time Phantom national champion Andy Crouch made the most of the breezy conditions to notch up firsts in both of today’s races and take the series lead. Overnight leader and defending national champion Terry Curtis could only manage a seventh place in the first race of the day but recovered his form to take second in this afternoon’s race – leaving him lying second overall. Jon Fish enjoyed another consistent day coming home second this morning and fourth this afternoon to leave him in third place going into the final day.
Local laser sailor and Olympic hopeful Martin Evans seemed to be getting to grips with the OK; the championship marks his debut in the class. Evans recovered from a disappointing OCS in the first race of the day to storm home third in the aptly named ‘Shooting Star’ in this afternoon’s race. He is sitting in a respectable seventh place in the series overall.
Tomorrow is the final day of the championship, hosted by Dabchicks Sailing Club, West Mersea, and with a single point separating Crouch and Curtis the championship is still wide open.
Final day of National Championship is more than OK
On the third and final day of the International OK National Championship the racing was the closest yet. In the first race of the day the race leader changed several times during the first lap before Terry Curtis, who was placed second after two days racing, finally distanced himself from the rest of the fleet on the downwind leg, rounding the leeward mark slightly ahead of Jon Fish.
Curtis increased his lead as the race continued whilst behind him positions changed constantly. Class novice Martin Evans enjoyed his best race of the series so far coming home an impressive second ahead of Alex Scoles. The OK Association, who are keen to attract younger sailors to the class, persuaded Olympic hopeful Evans to try out an OK for the first time at the Nationals and it seems that Evans had little difficulty transferring his skills to the OK.
After two general recalls the race officer was forced to resort to the black flag in order to get the final race of the series underway. Fortunately the threat of the black flag ensured the competitors were on their best behaviour and after a clean start yet more tightly fought racing continued. Overnight leader Andy Crouch, who came home a disappointing fifth in the first race of the day, was in the leading bunch at the windward mark behind early leader Robert Deaves. With gusts nudging twenty knots Crouch broke through to win, coming home just ahead of Curtis in second and Fish in third.
Nevertheless Curtis' consistent results throughout the championship meant that he was able to retain his title. Crouch, more at home in a Phantom, finished a highly credible second place, with Fish three points adrift in third. Local boy Evans placed fifth.
Race officer Peter Fitt of Dabchicks Sailing Club, West Mersea, praised all the competitors' efforts, 'after a slightly delayed start the OKs produced some fantastic racing in tough conditions. It was particularly exciting thanks to the appearance of sailors who are new to the class, several of whom provided some unexpected surprises.'
More pics at championmarinephotography.co.uk
For photographs please contact Nick Champion at Champion Marine Photography
|1||2118||Terry Curtis||Upper Thames||1||2||(7)||2||1||2||8|
|2||2133||Andy Couch||Blithfield SC||2||(7)||1||1||5||1||10|
|5||2115||Martin Evans||Dabchicks SC||12||6||(36)||3||2||6||29|
|7||2123||Andy Turner||Overy Staithe||(13)||5||6||9||9||8||37|
|8||2126||Mike Edwards||South Staffs Sailing Club||9||8||(14)||6||7||7||37|
|10||2117||Andy Davies||Chase SC||7||12||(20)||12||8||5||44|
|11||2135||Alex Scoles||Overy Staithe SC||14||13||3||13||3||(17)||46|
|12||2084||Keith Byers||Morecombe & Heysham||5||10||8||(16)||14||16||53|
|16||2125||Neil Goodhead||South Staffs||17||18||11||(21)||12||18||76|
|17||2045||Kevin Gibb||Largo Bay SC||21||15||(31)||22||17||11||86|
|19||1774||Richard Burton||West Oxford||18||22||17||10||(25)||20||87|
|21||2107||Daz Prior||South Windermere||19||23||22||14||16||(36)||94|
|26||2129||Alan Atkin||Burghfield S.C.||26||28||21||23||23||(36)||121|
|27||1966||Tim O'Leary||Felixstowe Ferry||25||(27)||23||26||26||23||123|
|28||2056||Andy Holmes||South Staffs||(35)||25||26||29||22||24||126|
|29||2031||Dave Cooper||Overy Staithe SC||24||(29)||24||28||27||25||128|
|30||2134||Robbie Wilson||Wormit BC||11||11||(36)||36||36||36||130|
|31||2108||Colin Slevin||South Staffs SC||(32)||30||29||31||28||26||144|
|34||2092||Sam Blocksidge||South Staffs||33||(36)||30||32||36||36||167|