World Championship 2011
Largs, Scotland, Great Britain
July 22nd - 29th
practice race and Worlds further down this page
Practice Race and Opening Ceremony – Sunday 24th July
by Mary Reddyhoff:
Sixty-six sailors from three continents have converged on Largs Sailing Club on the west coast of Scotland to participate in the 49th ‘Scotty Brand’ World Championship.
The practice race was scheduled to commence at 1400, but a flat sea and limp flags was the view from the balcony of Largs Sailing Club at 1300. However the wind was filling in at the race area north of Cumbrae Island and fifty-five competitors launched in anticipation of some good racing in the building breeze and glorious sunshine. A general recall was the outcome of the first start, but in minutes the race was restarted with all away and favouring the port side of the course. First to the windward mark was Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) world champion in 2009, with Simon Hoult (GBR) 2nd and Greg Wilcox (NZL) world champion in 2002, in 3rd place. As a premature starter, Hoult left the race area as the fleet continued to the wing mark, with Thomasz Gaj (POL) moving up the 3rd place. These places were maintained to the leeward mark, with 15 seconds separating each of the top three sailors. The wind was beginning to build for the second beat, whipping up a short chop causing the fleet to spread out. Although the majority repeated the beat on the port side of the course, Martin von Zimmerman (GER) hit the starboard corner to arrive at the windward mark just behind Hansson-Mild and Wilcox. Nick Craig (GBR), three times world champion this century, also made big gains to round in 4th place, with Alistair Deaves (NZL) close behind. The run to the leeward mark was uneventful with Hansson-Mild rounding first for the final beat. He sailing the middle course as Wilcox went hard left and von Zimmerman repeated his successful tactic going hard right. Hansson-Mild took the bullet, Wilcox was a clear 2nd as this time the port side of the course paid and von Zimmerman was 3rd. Gaj had a good last beat to finish 4th and Craig 5th.
Thomas Hansson-Mild was pleased with his win commenting ‘the practice race is not always finished and I had considered quitting at the bottom of the run, but as Largs is a tricky place to sail I decided to take what I can get!’ Hansson-Mild also won the Sven Lehn Memorial Saver for the practice race last year in the Wellington, New Zealand World Championships, sharing none of the superstitions that some sailors hold for winning the practice race.
The Opening ceremony followed shortly after. The competitors and their families were led by the Boys Brigade Pipe Band from The Pencil Monument (commemorating the last Viking battle in the UK and won by the Scots). A nominated member from each country carried their national flag and led their team back to the Largs Sailing Club where the Commodore, John Ridley welcomed everyone to the event. John Kent, Chair of the Scottish Sailing Institute and the Deputy Provost also extended warm welcomes to the competitors. Andre Blasse, President of OKDIA, responded by thanking all the organisers for their commitment in the creation of this event.
Championship Race Day 1 – Monday 25th July
After a wonderful Opening Ceremony at which the Boys Brigade pipe band welcomed us to Largs, the sailors again were able to listen to the sound of the pipes played by 14 year old Christopher who is a member of Largs Sailing Club as they launched their boats. Adding to the joy of sailing in these waters was the sight of a lone porpoise which kept our company for most of the day.
Race 1 (Falmouth Trophy)
After a short postponement whilst the Principal Race Officer Chris Hadden held the fleet ashore for the wind to build, sixty-five competitors headed for the race area north of Great Cumbrae Island. With light airs in the channel, the decision was made to tow the boats to the start line, in preparation for a midday start. With a 9 knot wind from 310°, the fleet got away on the third (black flag) start, with the majority choosing the left side of the course. The wind died temporarily, leaving those in the middle of the course in the best position to benefit from the backing breeze. First to the windward mark was Gunther Arndt (GER), with Hans Elkjaer (SWE) 2nd and Martin von Zimmerman (GER) 3rd. By the gybe mark Arndt had extended his lead and Rudiger Prinz (GER) was having a battle with von Zimmerman for 3rd. Places changed again at the leeward mark, with Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE), the practice race winner, climbing to 4th place. With the breeze picking up from astern, the predicted bunching of the mid-fleet around the leeward mark occurred, accompanied by angry comments from some of the participants. Hansson-Mild found a bit more wind, overtaking the leaders to leeward and giving himself a cushion of some 20 seconds at the windward mark. The wind was again recording 9 knots, enabling the fleet to return swiftly to the leeward mark on starboard gybe. By the finish Hansson-Mild had increased his lead, taking the first bullet at this championship.
Race 2 (Örnskjöldsvik Trophy)
Race 2 was quickly started in a moderate breeze which continued to shift throughout the afternoon. Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) powered his way up the beat, chased by Nick Craig (GBR). They were ahead of the chasing pack of Andre Blasse (AUS), President of OKDIA, Bo Teglers (DEN), Bartek Rakocy (POL), Tomasz Gaj (POL) and Jens Makholm (NOR). Places changed little on the two reaches at the front of the fleet, though Christian Hedlund (DEN) and Martin von Zimmerman (GER) made some big gains. The second beat proved hard work for the British juniors Teddy Arrowsmith (GBR), Matthew Bates (GBR) and Adrian Walker (GBR) who were experiencing their first World Championship. All three, however, managed to complete both races on this first day. The wind continued to strengthen and back so the course was lengthened, giving Hansson-Mild and Craig more time to battle their way to the finish as they were neck and neck for much of this final beat. Hansson-Mild favoured the port side of the course, Craig remained on the starboard side, losing to Hansson-Mild by four boat lengths at the finish. Once over the line, both men congratulated their opponent’s sailing skills and, as is very common in the International OK Dinghy fleet, continued to chat together as they sailed back to Largs Sailing Club.
Martin von Zimmerman, lying second overall commented "race 1 favoured the Germans as they are lake sailors and I was pleased with my result. I enjoyed the mixed conditions today, but we have only had two races and a lot can happen before the championship finishes."
As sailors came ashore they were handed a free beer courtesy of Woodlands Brewery. Enjoying the beer sailors chatted about the day on the water. Later on nations will be forming teams for the mini Highland Games arranged by the Largs Sailing Club team. After that everyone will head back to the club for a traditional Scottish Balmoral Chicken super and Whisky tasting sponsored by ‘Old Pulteney’ distillery.
Championship Race Day 2 – Tuesday 26th July
We awoke to another day in paradise - blue skies bright sunshine and temperatures in the 20s. The thermals were building, promising wind for later in the day. Most of the participants commenting they were running out of their summer clothes as they had packed to prepare for cold and rain!
Last evening we had enjoyed the mini Highland Games, comprising toss the caber –won by Christian Olesen (DEN), toss the welly – won by Dirk Gericke (GER) and the ladies tug of war won by team GB ladies. A separate children’s contest was held in parallel and kids from all competing nations receiving prizes. Everyone then moved back to the clubhouse to enjoy a traditional Scottish super of Balmoral Chicken. With bellies full Commodore John Ridley opened the Whisky tasting with a snifter of Tobermory along with a full description of its manufacture, texture and taste. The peaty Talisker went down well, followed by the wonderfully smooth Old Pulteney.
Race 3 (Mark and Jenny Fisher Cup)
Day two of the ‘Scotty Brand’ OK World Championships commenced once the wind began to build the fleet set sail for the start area, their speed enhanced by a tow from the safety boats. Racing got underway on the second start, where the fleet were kept in check by the black flag. With a wind direction of 200° and 8 knots of breeze, the fleet of sixty-five headed south west from Mount Stuart buoy. The committee end starters were favoured with greater pressure and they sustained their advantage to the windward mark, especially Dirk Gericke (GER) who hit the starboard corner. At the windward mark Greg Wilcox (NZL) rounded first, with Alistair Deaves (NZL) hot on his heels. Just a short distance behind was Ed Bradburn (GBR) in 3rd place, Radoslaw Drozdzik (POL) 4th and Keith Byers (GBR) 5th. In the light airs there were few place changes on the reaches but Wilcox and Deaves did manage to extend their lead on the pack. Wilcox rounded first at the leeward mark, with Deaves still chasing hard. Drozdzik had moved up to 3rd and Roger Blasse (AUS), world champion in 1998, was in 5th place. The beat had been shortened in the failing breeze and many chose the starboard side of the course, although it did not pay as handsomely as on the first beat. Wilcox and Deaves had increased their lead at the windward mark, Drozdzik was still 3rd and Gunther Arndt (GER) had worked the shifts to round in 4th position in front of Bradburn. A slow run to the leeward mark in the evening sun surrounded by spectacular countryside was probably appreciated more by the safety crews than the sailors! There was sufficient breeze for the final beat with Wilcox taking the gun and topping the leader board after three races. With the competitors’ perks of a hotdog in one hand and a pint of beer in the other he commented ‘it was a tricky, shifty day, good for the lake sailors.
There are only 3 of us with all three results in the top ten, so a pleasing result for me today. Deaves and I started in clean air and used our boat speed to clear the fleet. We did not fight one another, instead concentrated on increasing our lead on the rest of the fleet. It was really nice to see some new faces at the front of the fleet, demonstrating we all have the boat speed and the ability to lead a World’s race.’
Day 3 - 27 July
The day started with a Northerly breeze of around 8-10 knots, after 2 general recalls and a postponement shortly before the third atttempt to start the breeze failed preventing any further attempts to start Race 4.
After a delay waiting for the new breeze to fill from the South a race began, after another recall, under the black flag. Sadly the wind failed as the fleet made the windward mark forcing the Race Officer to abandon the race. The fleet then returned to shore.
It was a disappointing day for the ‘Scotty Brand’ OK World Championships on Wednesday. Plagued with light winds that kept dying before a race could be completed, the Principal Race Officer, Chris Hadden, was forced to fly the N flag on the final attempt. This was particularly disappointing for Rudiger Prinz (GER), who having returned to the OK Dinghy fleet in his new bright orange boat after an eight year absence, had established a clear lead on the rest of the fleet.
Disappointments were forgotten later in the evening when the fleet tucked into a delicious BBQ, generously provided the sponsors, comprising their own brand baked potatoes with burgers, sausages, chicken and salad followed by their own brand of strawberries with cream.
Day 4 - 28 July
Race 5 (Sønderborg Cup)
Today, the fleet launched early under grey skies and a moderate breeze. However, by the time the fleet had reached the race area the wind has beginning to die in the start area. Swiftly the race officer moved the fleet nearer the Bute shore and a course was quickly laid. The fleet were off at the first start at 12:15, opting to remain on starboard tack and the port side of the course which was the favoured side yesterday. Some remained on the right side of the course which looked promising initially, but soon Rudiger Prinz (GER) and Soenke Behrens (GER) tacked to join the rest of the fleet. Those who remained on the right generally lost out. At the windward mark it was Tomasz Gaj (POL) who emerged the leader with Terry Curtis (GBR) on his transom. Andre and Roger Blasse (AUS) were 3rd and 4th, with Stepan Myraif (DEN) and Simon Davis (GBR) close behind. There were a few place changes on the reaches, so at the start of the second beat the order became Gaj 1st, Curtis 2nd, Roger Blasse 3rd and Myraif 4th. As the fleet beat up to the windward mark for the second time, Gaj and Curtis were able to extend their lead on Blasse, Bartek Rakocy (POL) and Myraif. The majority of the fleet started the run on starboard gybe, all reaching the leeward mark with no mishaps. The final beat was a closely fought battle between a number of competitors. Gaj was closely covering Curtis, whilst Rakocy covered Craig. In the meantime Blasse, Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) and Greg Wilcox (NZL) were creeping up on the leading group. The final result was a bullet for Gaj who won the Sønderborg Cup, Curtis 2nd and Craig 3rd.
Race 6 (Kiel Yacht Club Clock)
Race 6 commenced on the second start under a black flag. Predictably, the majority of the fleet banged the left corner in the 8 knot breeze. However, many of the front runners had worked their way up the course from a more northerly direction. In the calmer sea state, the fleet was well bunched as it tacked around the windward mark. First to the mark was Christian Hedlund (DEN), chased by Nick Craig (GBR), Jorgen Svendsen (DEN) and Martin von Zimmerman (GER). They held their positions to the gybe mark, but Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) was closing fast. All five sustained their positions at the leeward mark, with a gap developing on the chasing pack. With no favoured side, the fleet was spread over the whole course as they made their way up to the windward mark for the second time. Craig rounded just ahead of Svendsen, with Bartek Rakocy (POL), Hedlund and von Zimmerman close behind. There was no favoured gybe on this run as the fleet returned to the leeward mark for the final time. Unlike the first race of the day, the leaders were well dispersed on the final beat and no tacking duels ensued. At the finish, a group had sailed hard right, another group had stayed in the middle and a third chose the left side of the course. It was the group that went hard right that just gained the advantage of the leaders enabling Rakocy to take the gun from Svendsen and Craig just missing out to take 3rd.
Day 5 - 28 July
On the final day of the ‘Scotty Brand’ OK World Championship sailors awoke to find the sun back, temperatures rising and very little breeze. As the morning progressed with little change in the conditions some competitors started to pack up. Everyone was expecting an imminent abandonment when all of a sudden word came in of wind working its way up the East Kyle. The horn sounded as the postponed flag was lowered and sailors rushed to get on the water at 1300 hours. The position at the top of the leader board was tight with only ten points separating the top five.
The unlikely happened as race 6 of the Championship got underway at 1430 hours in 8 knots of breeze. The first start was clean and the majority of the fleet remained on starboard tack, paying as the leaders approached the windward mark. First round was Nick Craig (GBR), closely followed by Soenke Behrens (GER), Alistair Deaves (NZL) and Martin Von Zimmerman (GER). There was no change in the lead boats at the gybe or the leeward mark, but by the end of the second beat Deaves had overhauled Craig and Behrens, with Von Zimmerman still hanging onto the front group in 4th place. Close behind was Tony Woods (GBR), closely followed by Rudiger Prinz (GER). Unfortunately both Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE), lying first at the end of racing yesterday and Bartek Rakocy (POL) 2nd overall, were having a bad race day sailing around in the 20’s positions. At the bottom of the run Deaves rounded first, with a clear lead on the chasing pack. He opted to sail the starboard side of the course, closely following him were Behrens, Von Zimmerman and Craig. Opting for the port side of the course was Woods, Bo Teglers (DEN) and Prinz. Close behind the front group of sailors was Ralf Mackman (GER), Roger Blasse (AUS) and Stefan Myralf (DEN), all capable of finishing strongly on the final beat. It was nail-biting as the spectators, and probably some of the competitors were trying to work out who was going to win the regatta. At the finish, with a clear lead on the rest of the fleet was Deaves who wins the New Zealand OK Class Clock. Finishing second was Von Zimmerman, barely a boat length behind was Behrens and Craig.
Craig had done just enough to win the International OK Dinghy World Championship for the fourth time, only achieved before by Bo Stephan Andersson (SWE) and Leith Armit (AUS). Martin Von Zimmerman, a former European Champion came second, just two points behind Craig. In third and fourth positions were two ex- World Champions Thomas Hansson-Mild and Greg Wilcox (NZL) respectively.
So, the 2011 International OK Dinghy World Championship comes to a close. The weather has been exceptional with sunshine and high temperatures on most days. However, the wind has been light which has resulted in testing conditions for Race Officer Chris Haddon and competitors.
One thing is for sure that socially this has been one of the very best OK Worlds. The team at Largs Sailing Club led by Commodore John Ridley and his charming wife Sandra could not have done more. Their energy and enthusiasm have been remarkable and OK sailors and their families from 11 nations have been made to feel so welcome. Chef Alec is quite a Character! He and his team have delivered great food all day every day at very reasonable prices. Barry, Jamie and team have kept the bar and front of house running like clockwork and always with a smile.
Sue Byers, wife of OK sailor Keith has worked tirelessly to organise and deliver a fun and jam packed social calendar for family, friends and kids. Sue and her team have organised day trips, daily kid’s competitions and activities. On Thursday night dads were on babysitting duty as the wives and girlfriends had arranged a ladies only (boozy) dinner!
The last two weeks of the National and World Championships have been two and a half years in the planning. During this time, the UK OK Dinghy Association has worked with David Kent of the Scottish Sailing Institute to make this event happen. David is a terrific guy, professional, dedicated and a pleasure to deal with. It would be hard to find a more committed individual. His efforts have been noticed by all of the competitors and officials alike. Thank you David!
After sailing everyone made their way to the prize giving and Championship dinner at the National Sports Centre Inverclyde. They will be greeted by a full Scottish pipe band and drinks on the lawn outside the impressive Inverclyde building. OKDIA (OK international governing body) President Andre Blasse (AUS) gave thanks to everyone involved in making this event such a great success. Then every competitor was called up one by one to be presented with a memento to take home followed by category prizes and trophy presentation. A special presentation was made to the juniors in the fleet who had been led astray all week by GBR junior rep Richard Burton. The top ten overall take home the prestigious OKDIA tie. Alistair Deaves (NZ) after many years of trying was so over the moon with winning his first tie that he put a large amount of money behind the bar for everyone to enjoy. Nick Craig (GBR) was then crowned OK World Champion and stood before all to say his thanks to the organisers, his fellow competitors and most of all, his wife Emma for putting up with his sailing. Everyone then moved inside to the large dining room and were treated to ‘Ode to the Haggis’ and a fabulous three course diner. As the wine flowed the Fairlie Folk Band played traditional Scottish tunes. Many revelled long into the night celebrating what was a truly amazing event!
Thanks again must go to the headline sponsor “Scotty Brand” care of Albert Bartlett. Tunnocks Biscuits, Sangs and Old Pulteney. Another mention has to go to GBR OK sailor Deryck Lovegrove who single handed raised £750 to add to the sponsorship pot. Well done Deryck!
Next year the international OK fleet move onto Denmark for the 50th OK Worlds which promises to be one to remember. In 2013 the Worlds will be hosted by Thailand for the very first time and later that year will be the European Championship in Carnac, France. Melbourne, Australia is bound to be a popular venue for the 2014 Worlds showing what wonderful opportunities there are to travel as an OK sailor.
|2||15||V||GER||693||Martin von Zimmerman||SCOe||3.0||5.0||12.0||(19.0)||4.0||2.0||45.0||26.0|
|4||8||V||NZL||522||Greg Wilcox||Blankeneser SC||6.0||4.0||1.0||6.0||(20.0)||10.0||47.0||27.0|
|10||24||V||AUS||678||Roger Blasse||Black Rock||12.0||6.0||14.0||8.0||(23.0)||8.0||71.0||48.0|
|11||1||V||POL||1||Tomasz Gaj||MKS 2W-wa||5.0||(DSQ)||6.0||1.0||24.0||14.0||117.0||50.0|
|18||48||GBR||2116||Ed Bradburn||South Staffs||19.0||25.0||5.0||(34.0)||21.0||25.0||129.0||95.0|
|20||62||V||GBR||2142||Ian Harris||Bristol Corinthian||10.0||15.0||(29.0)||18.0||28.0||27.0||127.0||98.0|
|22||61||V||GBR||2141||Simon Davis||Upper Thames||(46.0)||39.0||26.0||9.0||9.0||18.0||147.0||101.0|
|24||3||V||POL||5||Darek Kras||MDS - 2 Warsava||(41.0)||22.0||17.0||41.0||19.0||17.0||157.0||116.0|
|28||31||V||DEN||1335||Mogens Johansen||Solrod Strand||37.0||29.0||8.0||26.0||(40.0)||31.0||171.0||131.0|
|31||2||V||POL||4||Radoslaw Drozdzik||LOK Dryf Kety||34.0||(48.0)||3.0||40.0||35.0||32.0||192.0||144.0|
|33||52||V||GBR||2123||Andy Turner||Overy Staithe||24.0||38.0||35.0||29.0||(DNF)||21.0||214.0||147.0|
|35||55||J||GBR||21||Richard Burton||W Oxford||31.0||27.0||32.0||21.0||(48.0)||42.0||201.0||153.0|
|37||51||GBR||2121||Antony Rich||W Oxford||28.0||36.0||33.0||33.0||36.0||(DNC)||233.0||166.0|
|38||21||V||AUS||729||Andre Blasse||Black Rock||15.0||(OCS)||62.0||20.0||16.0||DNC||247.0||180.0|
|40||12||V||GER||688||Dirk Dame||Mannheim SC||(52.0)||40.0||44.0||32.0||29.0||36.0||233.0||181.0|
|41||37||GBR||2045||Will Turner||Overy Staithe||33.0||23.0||20.0||39.0||(DSQ)||DNC||249.0||182.0|
|42||54||J||GBR||2125||Adrian Walker||South Staffs||48.0||(59.0)||22.0||53.0||31.0||28.0||241.0||182.0|
|44||66||GBR||2117||Alex Scoles||Overy Staithe||42.0||28.0||(59.0)||47.0||47.0||26.0||249.0||190.0|
|45||43||V||GBR||2085||Gavin Waldron||South Staffs||(53.0)||32.0||37.0||28.0||46.0||48.0||244.0||191.0|
|47||30||V||DEN||1265||Malte Pederson||Royal Danish||(51.0)||44.0||39.0||30.0||45.0||41.0||250.0||199.0|
|48||6||V||BEL||214||Paul Verrijdt||KLYC Ant||27.0||45.0||41.0||(50.0)||49.0||38.0||250.0||200.0|
|50||58||V||GBR||2135||Bill Bradburn||South Staffs||38.0||47.0||42.0||(49.0)||38.0||39.0||253.0||204.0|
|54||19||V||AUS||724||Glen Yates||Wangi ASC||43.0||49.0||57.0||58.0||53.0||(DNC)||327.0||260.0|
|57||29||V||USA||1010||Brad Johanson||Mere Point||56.0||(DNF)||56.0||56.0||51.0||47.0||333.0||266.0|
|64||40||J||GBR||2067||Matthew Bates||South Staffs||65.0||(DNF)||DNF||DNC||58.0||53.0||377.0||310.0|
|65||39||V||GBR||2065||Bob Austin||Milton Keynes||63.0||56.0||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||DNC||387.0||320.0|
|2||8||NZL||522||Greg Wilcox||Blankeneser Segel Club||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|3||15||GER||693||Martin von Zimmerman||SCOe||3.0||3.0||3.0|
|4||1||POL||1||Tomasz Gaj||MKS 2W-wa||4.0||4.0||4.0|
|7||62||GBR||2142||Ian Harris||Bristol Corinthian||7.0||7.0||7.0|
|8||24||AUS||749||Roger Blasse||Black Rock||8.0||8.0||8.0|
|9||55||GBR||21||Richard Burton||W Oxford||9.0||9.0||9.0|
|18||21||AUS||729||Andre Blasse||Black Rock||18.0||18.0||18.0|
|21||48||GBR||2116||Ed Bradburn||South Staffs||21.0||21.0||21.0|
|24||31||DEN||1335||Mogens Johansen||Solrod Strand||24.0||24.0||24.0|
|26||43||GBR||2085||Gavin Waldron||South Staffs||26.0||26.0||26.0|
|27||66||GBR||2117||Alex Scoles||Overy Staithe||27.0||27.0||27.0|
|29||3||POL||5||Darek Kras||MDS - 2 Warsava||29.0||29.0||29.0|
|32||58||GBR||2135||Bill Bradburn||South Staffs||32.0||32.0||32.0|
|34||2||POL||4||Radoslaw Drozdzik||LOK Dryf Kety||34.0||34.0||34.0|
|37||52||GBR||2123||Andy Turner||Overy Staithe||37.0||37.0||37.0|
|38||12||GER||688||Dirk Dame||Mannheim SC||38.0||38.0||38.0|
|40||29||USA||1010||Brad Johanson||Mere Point||40.0||40.0||40.0|
|45||19||AUS||724||Glen Yates||Wangi ASC||45.0||45.0||45.0|
|48||40||GBR||2067||Matthew Bates||South Staffs||48.0||48.0||48.0|
|49||39||GBR||2065||Bob Austin||Milton Keynes||DNC||67.0||67.0|
|49||54||GBR||2125||Adrian Walker||South Staffs||DNC||67.0||67.0|
|49||61||GBR||2141||Simon Davis||Upper Thames||DNC||67.0||67.0|
|49||51||GBR||2121||Antony Rich||W Oxford||DNC||67.0||67.0|
|49||37||GBR||2045||Will Turner||Overy Staithe||DNC||67.0||67.0|
|49||6||BEL||214||Paul Verrijdt||KLYC Ant||DNF||67.0||67.0|
|49||30||DEN||1265||Malte Pederson||Royal Danish||DNC||67.0||67.0|