Great Britain, OK open meeting at Brightlingsea 2014
by Alex Scoles
Hunt back in the groove!
It’s nearly 10 years since Jim Hunt became the first Brit to ever win an International OK Dinghy World Championships and he’s now back! Having dominated a class international field at the Spring Cup in Medemblik, Holland two weeks ago, Jim was hoping to continue that form as the class arrived at Brightlingsea.
The British fleet were keen to go racing again. With a notable absence from some of the local boats, 23 OK’s rigged up on a warm sunny morning, all hopeful that the weather forecast of 1 -2 knots would prove to be inaccurate!
Race one started in light wind, at least enough to sit on the side deck. The windward mark was positioned to the right of the main channel with the wind in the same direction as the tide. Those that had sailed here before knew it was a race to the right-hand corner, followed by a well judged tack on the lay line. Hunt showed good speed and judgment to round in first, followed by Alex Scoles, with Lee Child and Will Turner in hot pursuit. Hunt opened up a small gap on Scoles and maintained it for a comfortable win, with Child 3rd and Turner 4th.
Race two started in similar conditions, with another pin end bias start and then head off to the right hand side. Hunt again rounded the top mark 1st with Scoles close behind hotly pursued by Julian Burnham and Dave Bourne occupying the next places. Hunt and Scoles opened up a gap on the fleet until the last beat, by which time the tide had turned and the left worked well for Bourne as he gained significantly. However, the race finished with Hunt taking the bullet, from Scoles, Bourne and Burnham comfortably 4th. Battling for 5th place were Turner and Child having passed the lay line to the leeward mark, they gybed onto starboard and Turner using some of his team racing skill to sail Child past the mark. Child gybed back only for Turner to force a penalty, reducing Child to 9th as he did his turns on the short leg to the finish!
A cold beer (or 2) was then enjoyed by most, followed by food laid on by the club, or into town for a (disappointing) curry as some opted for. The usual banter after a few beers with Jim and Dave talking of some unfinished business, as Tom Lonsdale sat uncomfortably between them and something about an ice cream van!
Sunday morning dawned with a clear sky and the chance of a sea breeze building.
Race 3 started with Hunt and Child first to the top mark followed by Turner and then Terry Curtis back at the sharp end. Positions did not change much with Hunt taking another win with Child going well again to take 2nd. Curtis finished in 3rd with new to the fleet Charlie Chandler showing good speed to take 4th. Also showing good speed was Toby Ramsey in 5th.
Race 4 with the wind increasing, was led to the 1st mark by Turner, but it unfortunatley turned out he was OCS and Hunt took the lead, with Child close behind. Positions remained unchanged with Curtis 3rd and John Ball, working well up the beats to take 4th. Scoles just managing to sail over Tony Woods and Bourne on the last leg to take 5th.
Race 5 Hunt did start race 5 but pulled out to let the rest fight it out for a win, which Child happily took, followed by Bourne then Curtis. Scoles held on for 4th and sailing very well Charlie took 5th.
So, at the end of a great weekend Jim Hunt had won another OK event with a race to spare with championship winning form. Asked if he was finding it a bit boring Jim replied that he was really enjoying it!
It has been another great event, with Jim showing he is the man to beat this season. Could he win his first OK European Chamionships in Germany in July? We will have to wait and see. Lee Child finished a well deserved 2nd, Scoles 3rd, closely followed by Curtis then Bourne, with a good 6th for newcomer Charlie.
Thank you to Brightlingsea Sailing Club for once again hosting such an enjoyable event
DNC, DNS, DNF, OCS ... etc 24