2024 Tan Lines OK Dinghy World Championship, RQYS, Brisbane

The 2024 Tan Lines OK Dinghy World Championship in Brisbane, Australia, was a fantastic celebration of OK Dinghy sailing in some amazing conditions and run with precision and enthusiasm by both the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and the Australian OK Dinghy class. It was also the biggest OK Dinghy event ever held in Australia and creates a great legacy for the local and international fleets with many records being broken.

It was also the 60th OK Dinghy World Championship and the sixth world title for Nick Craig, from Britain, breaking his own record that has stood since 2017 and making it three back to back wins for different British sailors after Charlie Cumbley won in 2022 and Henry Wetherell won in 2023. Craig is indisputably the greatest OK Dinghy sailor of all time and has regularly been on the podium for the last quarter century. He won his first three world titles from 2005 to 2007 and then again in 2012 and 2017.

Second placed Andy Davis, also from Britain, is a relative newcomer compared to the rest of the top 10. British champion last year, he seemed to relish the Brisbane conditions, rarely putting a foot wrong. He also makes Craig’s sails and the two trained together for this event.

2024 Tan Lines OK Dinghy World Championship, RQYS, Brisbane

Australia’s Roger Blasse is a double world champion and was still in contention going onto the final race, sailing as well and as fast as he has done for a number of years, winning three races along the way largely by his superior downwind speed in a breeze.

It’s worth noting that the top four boats – with New Zealand’s Steve McDowell in fourth only one point behind Blasse – all counted top 10 places. Nine results in the top 10 – top three in Craig’s case – is a remarkable achievement in the calibre of the fleet and the challenging conditions.

Also remarkable, is that every scheduled race was sailed on time in a reliable breeze during the week. The weather was insanely sublime with 30 degrees every day, mostly blue skies, wind from 10-16 knots, a small chop and three different wind directions over the five days. No one can really ask for more. It was an amazing endorsement of the suitability of Brisbane for major events. In his acceptance speech Craig complemented the race officer Louise Davis and the race management team for an impeccable week of racing, in sometimes quite shifty conditions.

In winning his sixth OK Dinghy world title, Nick Craig had also beaten the record for the lowest points score when all races were sailed, previously held by Thomas Hansson-Mild from 2009. Craig won five out of the ten races and while it looks good on paper, he had to make quite a few comebacks from deep first marks to put together an unbeatable scoreline.

“It’s fantastic to win again. I could not be happier, but I knew it would be tough here. It’s always hard coming out of the British winter and coming to a championship. The fleet is really good but thankfully I rode my luck this week. There were four times I came into the windward mark outside the top 20, three of those the last shift went my way but one of them it didn’t and that’s when I got my 20th, so if that had happened one more time, I’d have been out of it.”

Craig started the week with three race wins, and only once slipped up with the 20th, which put the pressure on going into the final day.

Going into the last day I felt a bit vulnerable with the 20th. Both Taxi [Andy Davis] and Roger had better scorelines than me going into the day so I’m relieved and happy. In the last race the breeze came up, which I was so happy about as I needed a ninth at worst and when the breeze is up, I have a bit more speed. In the light stuff there are lots of quick people. So, I was really happy with that, and it was a lot of fun.”

On coming to Australia, “What a place. We were treated in the last race to Force 3-4, big waves, 30 degrees, just stunning conditions. It’s such a great facility here, a huge club, really well run and we felt really well looked after. Hopefully I’ll be back here in a couple years for the Finn Gold Cup.”

See the whole interview here.Video – Nick Craig interview

Top 10 equipment

Both Craig and Davis used identical gear with Ovington hulls, HD sails and Ceilidh masts. It was unusual for a southern-hemisphere worlds that most of the leading gear used was made in Europe. There were five Synergy hulls in the top 10, four Ovington and an older Australian Delfs, plus seven of the sail and mast inventories were manufactured in Europe. But, as usual, through the fleet there was an incredibly diverse range of equipment manufacturers and builders.

A final word of thanks to the organisers, the amazing sponsors, especially Tan Lines (probably half the fleet went home with a bottle of Tan Lines gin) and the club. It was a huge effort both on the water and on the shore, with shore-based activities every day, free beer, prizes, dinners and more extra benefits for the sailors than anyone had the right to expect.

However, it all worked seamlessly with the support of the club staff and volunteers, the enthusiasm of the Australian fleet and the tireless work of Emma Hutcheson, who did an awesome job pulling everything together. It is no easy job keeping 112 OK sailors under control.

The OK Dinghy class continues to grow and attract the best sailors. While this championship did have less Europeans than usual, the class is already looking forward to the European championship in Palma in October, and next year’s world championship on Garda, in September. During the week in Brisbane, the 2026 world championship was also confirmed for Denmark, which has the largest OK Dinghy fleet in the world. Bigger and better championships would appear to be about as certain as night following day in the coming years.

Final results
1 GBR 2261 Nick Craig 15
2 GBR 11 Andy Davis 27
3 AUS 1 Roger Blasse 31
4 NZL 11 Steve McDowell 32
5 AUS 15 David Clark 62
6 AUS 825 Mike Williams 74
7 GBR 44 Chris Turner 77
8 AUS 8 Mark Jackson 86
9 SWE 73 Patric Mure 87
10 NZL 15 Greg Wilcox 95

First woman – Pam Johnston, AUS
Perseverance award – Graham Lambert, NZL
First Veteran – Nick Craig, GBR
First Master and best helmsman from host country – Roger Blasse, AUS
First Grand Master – Jay Harrison, AUS
First Junior – Jordan Barney, AUS
Four Juniors took part this year. Jonah Parry was second, Jackson Black for third and Nelson Morse with fourth. All were acknowledged at the prizegiving.

Final results here: https://results.rqys.com.au/SailWave_Results/OK_Worlds/Overall%20Results

All photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/okdia/albums/

All class videos here on YouTube

All RQTV videos here: https://rqtv.com.au/?s=Ok+dinghy

2024 Tan Lines OK Dinghy World Championship, RQYS, Brisbane