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Interdominion and Australian Championship 2014

Black Rock Yacht Club, Melbourne, Australia

December 29th 2013 - 4th January 2014

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World No 1, Greg Wilcox, wins OK Dinghy Interdominions

By Andy Baker, with Bill Tyler.

In December 2014, Black Yacht Yacht Club in Melbourne, Australia will be the host for the OK Dinghy World Championship. Over the New Year period just passed, 57 sailors took to the waters of Port Philip Bay to test the waters and challenge for the 2013 OK Dinghy Interdomininon and Australian Championships. World Number 1, Greg Wilcox (NZL) having travelled all the way from Germany took the title for the fourth time, having first won the coveted trophy back in 1983. After a late recovery, Mark Jackson (AUS) ended up on equal points to finish as runner-up, with a consolation of his second consecutive Australian title, while Luke O'Connell (NZL) was a clear third.

The 12 Kiwis and 45 Aussies produced some great racing and the sort of hospitality that the class has become famous for. Nine races were sailed in a wide variety of conditions with only the tenth race being abandoned due to strong winds. It was great to see some new faces in the OK class such as top Finn sailors Anthony Nossiter (AUS) and Rob McMillan (AUS), Impulse National Champion Michael Brown (AUS) as well as some old faces coming back such as former World Champion Peter Milne (AUS).

Day 1

Luke O'Connell Luke O'Connel, Day 1

The event started with light winds with a breeze of 6-8 knots for the first start and, as would become the standard for the entire regatta, the whole fleet were over the line for the first start. PRO Mark Taylor (AUS) went for the U Flag and everyone away without a problem. Following on from his good win in the invitation race Luke O’Connell (NZL) sailed a very good race to lead all the way and went on to take victory. Defending Australian Champion Mark Jackson was the first Aussie coming home second followed by Nigel Mannering )(NZL) in third. Bruce Ashton (AUS) who won the Australian title in 1977 and 1978 showed that he still has what it takes coming fourth ahead of the always consistent Greg Wilcox (NZL) in fifth.

The second race was sailed in slightly more breeze which continued to build throughout the day. O’Connell made an early statement by sailing a near perfect race to take the gun again. Former World Champion Wilcox, sailing in the current world champion Roger Blasse’s boat, rounded first with a comfortable lead. Down the run Wilcox stayed in front, but chose the port gate, where O'Connell chose starboard. This ended up being an error for Wilcox, as O'Connell was on the favoured side of the next shift. To win. Wilcox placed second with 1999 World Champion Peter Milne (AUS) getting up to third in the boat he used in the 1999 Worlds. One of the pre regatta favourites, Mike Williams (AUS), from Black Rock, who finished third at the worlds in the Thailand, was finding the conditions tough, with a sixth and 13th for the day.

Day 2

The fleet headed out in very light winds and after an hour’s postponement race 3 got under way with the U Flag up. Wilcox led the way and showed that he can be fast in any conditions. He took the win from Brent Williams (AUS) with Jackson in third.

Race 4 was sailed in slightly more breeze but still light and shifty with no more than about 8 knots for the whole race. Ashton turned back the clock and showed that he was going to be a serious contender for the Australian title if the conditions stayed like this. He led at the top mark from Wilcox and never looked back going on to win, with Wilcox second, and another old face making a comeback Phil Dubbin (NZL) sailing a near perfect race in Andre Blasse’s boat to take third. O'Connell continued to make his presence felt in the light winds with a fourth.

Day 3

After a lay day on New Year’s Day racing was postponed until 2.30pm, when there was a steady, and building, 8 knots. With a bit of tide running for the first time in the series the start was bit harder to judge. With no luck getting the fleet away under a U Flag the PRO pulled out the Black flag for the third attempt. Stechmann got the time wrong and headed off on the one minute gun. He was joined by another eight boats recording a BFD on the scoresheet. A big shift to the left up the first beat sorted the fleet out and again it was Wilcox who made the best of it and went on to take another win. Ashton, who knows Black Rock better than most, sailed another brilliant race to get second ahead of Jackson.

Race 6 started under the U flag in near perfect conditions. The breeze was around 12 knots and the sea breeze was settling in. It would be up to 15 knots by the last beat. Anthony Nossiter (AUS) was starting to show why he has been to the last three Olympics and started well from the middle of the line to be right up there in the lead bunch at the top mark. Russell Wood (NZL) hit the left hard along with Ben Morrison (NZL) and both were right in the mix too. Jackson sailed well down the reaches to get in front by the bottom mark ahead of Wilcox. These two played the shifts well up the second beat extending their lead on the fleet. Jackson went on to take his first win for the series followed by Wilcox and Morrison.

Day 4

Greg Wilcox Greg Wilcox, Day 5

By race 7, it was time for the big boys to shine. It was a perfect Black Rock day, with 12-15 knots blowing from the south-west, plenty of chop and great waves for surfing. Nossiter again started well in the middle of the line and sailed in clear air towards the right of the course with O’Connell. The breeze shifted about 15 degrees to the south and the boats out to the left did well with guys like Stechmann, Michael Horvath (AUS) and Tim Davies (AUS) right amongst the leaders at the top mark. Wilcox recovered from a bad start only to pull the reaching strap out of the boat and fall in backwards at the hitch mark. Nossiter took the lead up the second beat and went on to extend his lead and take his first heat win in the OKs. Williams, sailing in his favourite conditions, returned to the front of the pack finishing second ahead of Jackson. Wilcox recovered to finish eighth, and retain his overall lead. He was now on 13 points after a drop ahead of Jackson on 18 points and O’Connell on 20.

Race 8 was started in a steady 15 knots with the Port Phillip Bay seas building to around 1 metre. Nossiter was revelling in the conditions and led well at the top mark with Williams challenging him all the way. Wood, Stechmann, Morrison and O’Connell were all up in the mix sailing well downwind to keep the pressure on the lead Aussies. Wilcox was well back in the fleet at the top mark but sailed two brilliant reaches to put him back in contention. Nossiter went on to take a convincing win from Williams and Stechmann. Jackson closed the gap on Wilcox by finishing fifth, with Wilcox in ninth, which would end up being his drop. There was now only two points separating the two leaders while Jackson held a strong lead in the Australian Championships and would be almost impossible to beat from here.

Day 5

The wind was blowing hard out of the west and the swell was huge. The breeze was around 18 knots gusting to around 22-23 knots and white caps covered Port Phillip Bay. Into Race 9 and the PRO wasn’t mucking around. It was straight up with the U Flag on the first start. Everyone was playing it safe with a huge sag in the line. Boats at the pin end got the best of the start with a nice 10 degree shift to the south just after the gun. Morrison started well down at the pin along with Williams and Wood. The breeze was building and a lot of the fleet were finding it tough going in the big seas. Nossiter sailed brilliantly in the heavy conditions and opened up a handy lead at the top mark. The breeze was gusting well over 20 knots up the second beat and the run would prove to be exciting in some of the biggest seas seen on the bay for a long time. There were plenty of capsizes down the run and at the bottom gate. By the last beat the wind was pushing the upper limit and while the tail-enders were in survival mode, Nossiter was powering away for his third win a row. Morrison displayed excellent boat handling to cross in second ahead of Williams. But it was all on behind them for overall honours. Jackson sailed well up the last beat to pass Mannering and get fifth, two places ahead of Wilcox in seventh. They were now tied on 28 points. The AP flag went up on the start boat with the wind gusting well over 25 knots and the seas huge. The fleet headed to shore and waited to see what would happen next. The breeze kept building and around 2.30 pm the last race was abandoned.

Anthony Nossiter Anthony Nossiter, Day 5

So Greg Wilcox took a well deserved win on a count back from Mark Jackson for the Interdominions Championship, while Jackson took back to back Australian titles. Luke O’Connell sailed a very consistent regatta to finish third just six points behind the leaders.

Anthony Nossiter finished the regatta brilliantly winning the last three races as did Mike Williams with two seconds and a third in the last three. Bruce Ashton found the going tough in the windy conditions on the last two days and slipped out of the top ten but received a rousing applause and standing ovation when he went up to collect his Masters trophy on presentation night.

The Australians regained the Interdominions Trophy after being thumped by the New Zealanders last time in Auckland. There was only two points in it with the top eight from each country counting towards the final score.

What a great event this proved to be. Such consistency from Greg Wilcox and Mark Jackson throughout the week again demonstrating that in the OK Dinghy, time on the water is everything. Boats and gear have reached a very high standard and there is now have a level playing field available to all competitors. As always the Kiwi competitors provided great competition for the Interdominion Teams event. Local favourite Mike Williams found the going tough in the early light weather races but finished the week strongly for his place in the top six. It was great to see the 1999 World Champion, Peter Milne and his crew from the Flying 15, Phil Dubbin, back in the OKs once again. Anthony Nossiter's performance in the final race of the series with wind and sea conditions approaching maximum sailing conditions was very impressive. Current World Champion Roger Blasse is expected to defend his title on his home waters in December and with a strong team from Europe joining the Australasian fleet, the class is looking forward to a great 2014 Worlds at Black Rock Yacht Club.

Interdominion and Australian Championship 2014 Results
RankNameSail NoYacht ClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9TotalNettAge Group
1Greg WilcoxNZL 749Potsdamer SC5212128973728Veterans
2Mark JacksonAUS 735Black Rock YC2638313553628Veterans
3Luke O'ConnellNZL 546Worser Bay BC11114644684534
4Ben MorrisonNZL 530Wakatere BC2071067310727252
5Michael WilliamsAUS 730Black Rock YC61327111072238154Veterans
6Matt StechmannNZL 549Naval Point Club74416BFD953911657
7Anthony NossiterAUS 765MHYC2496UFD13511111960Veterans
8Nigel ManneringNZL 512Napier SC35135BFD16611612465Veterans
9Brent WilliamsAUS 754Adelaide SC2317294101581310178Veterans
10Tim DaviesAUS 739WASC1611818867101610082Veterans
11Peter MilneAUS 694Black Rock YC113157BFD1311131514788Veterans
12Russell WoodNZL 526Wakatere BC19102313168144411188
13Philip DubbinAUS 729Lake Jindabyne SC171414351516251112095Veterans
14Bruce AshtonAUS 728Black Rock YC41651224OCS2924164105Masters
15Peter HorneAUS 764DSC31812142111OCS1417187128
16Peter RobinsonAUS 750DSC819912BFD12133329194135Veterans
17Edward O'DonnellAUS 734Wangi SC131539352219181712190151Veterans
18Rob McMillanNZL 522WSC221220291233OCS1810215156Masters
19Mike WildeNZL 535Worser Bay BC292616UFD12 DPI14123118217158Masters
20Rob HengstNZL 533Napier SC92421192028242425194166Veterans
21Michael BrownAUS 736Wangi SC152318242518272221193166Masters
22Donald WilliamsAUS 727Black Rock YC262528151723192732212180Veterans
23Mark RobertsAUS 762ASC251841371429201919222181Veterans
24Adrian CoulthardNZL 531Napier SC122730322421282023217185Veterans
25Chris VisickAUS 758Black Rock YC282931101530233520221186
26David KetteridgeAUS 725ASC10397171841373930238197Masters
27Andrew BakerAUS 761Black Rock YC303725202332222828245208Veterans
28Elizabeth WilliamsAUS 759Black Rock YC14331921113640DNF37270211Women
29Gary LokumAUS 741Black Rock YC443852443420171614279227Veterans
30Peter LynchAUS 726Wangi SC422224392717313236270228Veterans
31Joe PorebskiNZL 702Worser Bay BC322143263727362131274231Masters
32Folkert JanssenAUS 733Black Rock YC4328323329222123DNF290231Veterans
33Gareth WellsAUS 742WASC36 DPI4122363035301533278237Masters
34Craig MacaulayAUS 678Black Rock YC4135172235252936DNF299240Veterans
35Martin PikeNZL 536Napier SC373237311931323726282245Veterans
36Justin BarrAUS 721DSS2131292333343344DNC307248Veterans
37Stephen MooreAUS 755Black Rock YC1840343431442634DNF320261Masters
38Ronald FergussonAUS 618Albert SC2746262526393945DNF332273Veterans
39Tim SmithAUS 740Black Rock YC354440433238353022319275
40Brett GrahamRSA 32Wakatere BC403650404240252627326276
41Michael HorvathAUS 744Black Rock YC45304445BFD37912DNF340281Veterans
42Douglas ParkerAUS 752Black Rock YC395033303843424838361311Masters
43Glenn YatesAUS 684Wangi SC3451362841DNF444634373314Masters
44Samuel HainesAUS 674Black Rock YC504542413626OCS4235376317
45Chris HallAUS 757Ballarat YC3642352728DNFDNC41DNF386327
46Richard FurneauxAUS 737Black Rock YC46344942BFD423438DNF403344Masters
47Nik WallisAUS 720Black Rock YC47434849BFD46464340421362Masters
48Michael WalkerAUS 655Wangi SC4949465139453847DNF423364Veterans
49Luke CromieAUS 672Black Rock YC5248475040474140DNF424365Veterans
50Glenn WilliamsAUS 719Big River SC38203838DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC429370Veterans
51Mike FlavellAUS 543Black Rock YC54524546BFD50484939442383Masters
52Erik ThompsonAUS 706Black Rock YC53475547BFD4943DNF41453394Masters
53James CowmeadowAUS 562PESC4853515444524750DNC458399Veterans
54John HendersonAUS 715Black Rock YC5754535343534551DNF468409
55Mitchell WilsonAUS 751WASC51555452474849DNFDNC474415
56Slava UstovytskiAUS 760Black Rock YC555756484654DNCDNFDNC493434
57Terrence BenadeAUS 673Black Rock YC565657554551DNCDNFDNC497438
58Robert KempAUS 667WASCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC531472Veterans

Not started, not finished, disqualified: 59pts