Interdominion Championships 2000
Black Rock Yacht Club / Melbourne / Australia
Report from New-Zealand
you could find the Australian Report below.
The 2000 OK Interdominions were always going to be a real test for the New Zealand team. The Australians showed superior boat speed and proficiency just two years ago when the World Championship was held at Adelaide, with their Gale & Rimington sails proving superior to anything the Kiwis had and 4 Australians featuring in the top 5 (including World Champion Roger Blasse) compared with the top Kiwi coming in 9th. At the following Worlds held last August in Germany Peter Milne of Australia was crowned Champion continuing Australiaís dominance of the world OK scene. Both Milne and Blasse would be among the Australians at Black Rock along with several other highly rated names in OKs including Andre Blasse, John Gibson and former World Champion Mark Fisher. For our side the NZ fleet have put in a lot of time since Adelaide both in terms of sailing and equipment development with a view to producing a Kiwi Champion at the Worlds to be held in Napier, NZ in January 2002. These efforts have resulted in the use of NZ produced sails (North, Port Nicholson, Sobstad) and several new boats being built. So it was a much more prepared team consisting of 11 boats that travelled to this yearís Interdominions at Black Rock, Melbourne.
Race 1 turned out to be a real shake up for the fleet, blowing on-shore 20-30 knots with big steep Melbourne waves making for some exciting rides. Andre Blasse found a good shift just off the start and used his weight, stiff rig and heavy air skills to power away for a big win. Roger Blasse was second, and New Zealanders Russell Wood, Paul Rhodes, Joe Porebski and Ben Morrison came in 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th respectively. With only 17 finishers and substantial damage having already occurred the next race was abandoned as the breeze showed no sign of abating. The Kiwis didnít escape the carnage; the junior Chris Fenwick suffered a dislocated shoulder ending his regatta, and Morrison while trying to shoot the gap in the reef outside Black Rock YC in a big breeze was rolled leaving him with a broken mast and a red face.
Moderate SW winds would prove to be a good test of the Kiwisí preparation. The oscillating shifts demanded skilful upwind sailing and the races were to be close and hard-fought affairs.
Race 2 having been led for the first triangle by Morrison was eventually dominated by the Australians with Mark Jackson, R Blasse, Gibson and Matt Johnson taking out the top 4 spots with New Zealanders Morrison, Rhodes, Porebski and Wood taking 5th to 8th.
Race 3 was somewhat lighter, and was led from start to finish by Milne of Australia who had shown similar pace and skill, especially downwind, to take the World title in similar airs last year. Porebski was close behind in 2nd, Rob Davis of Australia 3rd with Kiwis Wood, Greg Wilcox and Morrison coming in 4th, 5th and 10th.
A very similar breeze for Race 4 saw Roger Blasse show his well-known class to take the race over a strong challenge from compatriot Milne, followed by Morrison in 3rd. Rhodes, Porebski and Wood took 5th, 6th and 8th and the New Zealanders were beginning to show the consistency that a hard seasonís sailing has produced. After 4 races Blasse was 1st followed by Porebski, Wood, Morrison and Rhodes in 2nd, 3rd and 4th-equal. The talk in the clubhouse on Saturday night suggested the Aussies were starting to doubt their dominance of this event.
Races 5 and 6 were held in slightly breezier conditions than the day before with the wind showing a tendency to swing left, although coming back at entirely unpredictable times as several corner huggers were to discover.
Rhodes managed the ellusive dream in Race 5 of picking the correct side of the course on all three beats to sail away to a big win, while Wilcox showed his familiar skill in shifty weather to take second and Gibson came in 3rd. Dave Hoogenboom of NZ featured in 6th with Wood 9th.
Race 6 was a race of two halves, with a light first triangle followed by 16-18 knots favouring those able to change gears as the breeze altered. Wood sailed extremely well to win, Porebski was second and Wilcox 3rd while Morrison and Hoogenboom took 5th and 8th in a good race for the Kiwi team.
So with one race to go, R Blasse was still hanging on to the top spot with Wood and Porebski 2nd equal, Rhodes 4th, Jackson 5th and Morrison 6th equal with Gibson. The points were very close; with Blasse clear by just 6 points, and only 6 more points from 2nd to 6th, it was shaping up to be a nail-biting final race on Monday.
Race 7 was very light, and very shifty with the Port Phillip Bay slop making speed difficult to achieve. After a nervous general recall a start was achieved and it was soon apparent that this would be a race where some different names would take their opportunities. 50-plus Bruce Ashton of Australia used his years of experience to lead the whole way and won by a huge margin, while the 67kg lightweight Craig Pryce of New Zealand put in a big performance to be second with Jackson 3rd. Wood and Porebski were 5th and 10th. After one triangle, Wood, in second place with R Blasse in about 20th looked to have sewn up the Interdoms for NZ. But Blasse showed incredible skill to sail right up the fleet to finish 6th and take the Interdominions for Australia.
At the finish then Roger Blasse of Australia is OK Interdominion Champion for 2000, with Russell Wood of New Zealand 2nd and Mark Jackson 3rd. Joe Porebski, Ben Morrison and Paul Rhodes claimed 4th, 5th and 6th for New Zealand with Greg Wilcox coming in 9th. A strong performance by New Zealand and with 4 Kiwis in the top 6 in a contest which was very close right through the top 10 boats we certainly gave the Aussies something to think about.
While it looks unlikely that any serious campaigns will be launched from Down Under for this yearís Worlds at Poland except for ex-pat Brit Alistair Deaves who was the 1999 Interdominion Champ and who will represent NZ, there is significant interest in the 2001 Worlds to be held at Bastad in Sweden. In particular some of the younger Kiwis including Wood and Morrison are planning a tour of the Euro regattas as a lead up, returning from Sweden to prepare for the 2002 OK Worlds to be held just a few months later in Napier, New Zealand. The indications from around the world are that Napier will be a big event, and selection for the NZ team promises to be extremely tough with the existing OK fleet likely to be joined by some current Finn and Laser sailors looking to take advantage of an international single-handed regatta in home waters. The OK is a very affordable boat and NZ is producing top hulls, foils and sails which makes this a golden opportunity for some of our single-handed helmsmen, particularly those unlikely to have any international competition in Finns or Lasers in the near future. Finally, you can expect to have a good time in the OK fleet, as all present at the parties and other escapades which are such an integral part of OK culture will confirm.
Report from Mark Jackson (AUS)
Current Australian and former World Champion, Roger Blasse won the OK Dinghy Interdominion and South Pacific Championships sailed at Black Rock, Port Phillip Bay, Victoria over Easter. Blasse won comfortably from Auckland-based New Zealander Russell Wood. Blasse, who sails from Black Rock, showed great consistency in difficult and predominantly light to medium winds. Mark Jackson, also from Black Rock, was third with New Zealanders filling out the rest of the top 6 places.
New Zealand sailors are undergoing a resurgence in class, filling a 40í container with 12 boats. Many of the New Zealanders are young and new to the class and proving very competitive in the light to medium conditions.
The fleet also included current World Champion, Peter Milne and former World Champion Mark Fisher, both of whom were unable to place in the regatta. Milne was able to win the 3rd heat, but was unable to reproduce the form from the Worlds in Germany in 1999. The closeness of the racing was highlighted by the fact that each race had a different heat winner.
The winner of the Junior Trophy was current Australian Junior Champion, James McAllister from Lake Macquarie NSW. McAllister will also be competing in the OK Dinghy World Championships in Poland in August with the assistance of a grant from an OK Dinghy Trust set up to assist juniors in the class.
The winner of the Veterans Trophy for over 40's was Joe Porebski from Wellington, New Zealand. Porebski was also 4th overall. The winner of the Super Veterans (over 55ís) was Bruce Ashton from Melbourne. Ashton, who is a former Australian and Interdominion Champion (many years earlier), also won the last heat. Australia narrowly took the trophy for overall country result. The closest in living memory.