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Great Britain, British National Championships 2009


28/31 August

Reports by Mike Edwards & Rebecca Jackson

Dabchicks to host Hyde Sails-sponsored championship over the August Bank Holiday

Dabchicks Sailing Club, West Mersea, is gearing up for a busy August bank holiday weekend as the club once again plays host to the International OK National Championship, which runs from August 28-31.

As always, the championship looks set to be hotly contested. 2008 champion Terry Curtis is hoping to defend his title and is feeling confident after finishing seventh in last month’s World Championship in Sweden. Competition is likely to come from local OK stalwart Robert Deaves, who was 2006 OK Champion and narrowly missed out on winning the light airs Nationals at Dabchicks in 2005. Fast in all conditions, with his local knowledge this could be Robert’s year. Jon Fish from Waldringfield has been knocking on the door in the OK class for a number of years. With a fourth at last year’s Nationals, plus a few top 20 finishes at recent worlds, if he can keep out of trouble and the right way up he will be in the running.

In addition to the usual familiar faces, the fleet is welcoming a selection of sailors from other singlehanded classes. Mersea local boy and Olympic Squad member Martin Evans looks set to swap his Laser for an OK for the event. Andy Couch, two times Phantom National Champion will be sailing Simon Childs’ boat, and if the breeze is on he may be hard to beat. Simon Cox from the Lark fleet will also be trying out this thoroughbred singlehander.

Several entrants normally seen in the Solo class will also be putting in appearances. 2007 Solo National Champion Andy Davis will be sailing the new Idol Composites OK, which is currently attracting a lot of attention throughout the dinghy world and could give Davis an edge. Robbie Wilson who recently placed third at the Solo Nationals will be sailing Nick Craig’s new boat, as Nick is away at the B14 Europeans.

Current OK class chairman Mike Edwards commented: ‘The association is hoping for a great Championship at Dabchicks SC. We have been coming here for many years and always look forward to excellent race management and a very warm welcome from the club. This year we have the added interest of numerous top sailors from other classes wanting to try the OK, attracted no doubt by the prospect of some of the best international competition in the amateur dinghy world. Some have threatened to have a go before, so it will be interesting to see how they get on, and they will be most welcome on the water and in the bar afterwards. We have a training day planned for the Thursday, so I am sure that some of the guys new to the boat will take full advantage of this.

Hyde Sails have generously offered to sponsor the regatta, with some fantastic prizes up for grabs. Hyde is a perfect sponsor as they are returning to OK sailmaking. For many years Hyde sails were the number one choice for OK sailors both home and abroad, so it’s good to see them back. They are also developing a range of OK accessories that I am sure will prove popular. The first placed junior sailor that owns an OK will win a voucher for a brand new made to measure Hyde OK sail. Other prizes include the innovative new Hyde OK undercover and mast bag.

I am sure many people will be watching to see what is happening over the four day Championship. We hope to provide daily reports, so watch this space!

First day of OK National Championship is worth the wait

The International OK National Championship at Dabchicks Sailing Club finally got underway today (Saturday). Strong winds put paid to the planned racing on Friday but the patience of the 35 competitors paid off as they were greeted this morning with champagne sailing conditions.

Defending champion Terry Curtis established an early lead easing round the first lap comfortably ahead of second placed Andy Crouch. Despite a final leg surge, Crouch, a two times Phantom national champion, could not stop Curtis from taking the first race in convincing style.

In growing breeze, Jon Fish built from his third place finish in race one to lead the fleet from the beginning to take the second race. The remaining places were more hotly contested with race one winner Curtis progressing through the fleet as the laps went on; he eventually took second place.

Curtis has the edge going into day two but with only a point between him and Fish there is everything to sail for. A solid performance from local sailor Robert Deaves sees him lying in third having notched up two fourth place finishes.

Curtis commented “After a successful Worlds campaign I am feeling confident about the UK Nationals. I will be keeping an eye on Andy Crouch: with the breeze on he could be hard to beat.”

The championship, kindly sponsored by Hyde Sails, continues tomorrow with conditions promising to be equally perfect.

Class newcomers shake up the OK National Championship

As predicted, the second day of the International OK National Championship was an exciting one, with several sailors usually seen in different classes successfully demonstrating their skills in an OK.

Two-time Phantom national champion Andy Crouch made the most of the breezy conditions to notch up firsts in both of today’s races and take the series lead. Overnight leader and defending national champion Terry Curtis could only manage a seventh place in the first race of the day but recovered his form to take second in this afternoon’s race – leaving him lying second overall. Jon Fish enjoyed another consistent day coming home second this morning and fourth this afternoon to leave him in third place going into the final day.

Local laser sailor and Olympic hopeful Martin Evans seemed to be getting to grips with the OK; the championship marks his debut in the class. Evans recovered from a disappointing OCS in the first race of the day to storm home third in the aptly named ‘Shooting Star’ in this afternoon’s race. He is sitting in a respectable seventh place in the series overall.

Tomorrow is the final day of the championship, hosted by Dabchicks Sailing Club, West Mersea, and with a single point separating Crouch and Curtis the championship is still wide open.

Final day of National Championship is more than OK

On the third and final day of the International OK National Championship the racing was the closest yet. In the first race of the day the race leader changed several times during the first lap before Terry Curtis, who was placed second after two days racing, finally distanced himself from the rest of the fleet on the downwind leg, rounding the leeward mark slightly ahead of Jon Fish.

Curtis increased his lead as the race continued whilst behind him positions changed constantly. Class novice Martin Evans enjoyed his best race of the series so far coming home an impressive second ahead of Alex Scoles. The OK Association, who are keen to attract younger sailors to the class, persuaded Olympic hopeful Evans to try out an OK for the first time at the Nationals and it seems that Evans had little difficulty transferring his skills to the OK.

After two general recalls the race officer was forced to resort to the black flag in order to get the final race of the series underway. Fortunately the threat of the black flag ensured the competitors were on their best behaviour and after a clean start yet more tightly fought racing continued. Overnight leader Andy Crouch, who came home a disappointing fifth in the first race of the day, was in the leading bunch at the windward mark behind early leader Robert Deaves. With gusts nudging twenty knots Crouch broke through to win, coming home just ahead of Curtis in second and Fish in third.

Nevertheless Curtis' consistent results throughout the championship meant that he was able to retain his title. Crouch, more at home in a Phantom, finished a highly credible second place, with Fish three points adrift in third. Local boy Evans placed fifth.

Race officer Peter Fitt of Dabchicks Sailing Club, West Mersea, praised all the competitors' efforts, 'after a slightly delayed start the OKs produced some fantastic racing in tough conditions. It was particularly exciting thanks to the appearance of sailors who are new to the class, several of whom provided some unexpected surprises.'

More pics at

For photographs please contact Nick Champion at Champion Marine Photography

12118Terry CurtisUpper Thames12(7)2128
22133Andy CouchBlithfield SC2(7)115110
3212John FishWaldringfield312(4)4313
42119 Robert Deaves Waldringfield445(7)6423
52115Martin EvansDabchicks SC126(36)32629
62120 Dan Ager Waldringfield10348(36)1035
72123 Andy Turner Overy Staithe(13)5699837
82126 Mike Edwards South Staffs Sailing Club98(14)67737
92101Julian BurnhamUTSC8995(11)940
102117Andy DaviesChase SC712(20)128544
112135Alex ScolesOvery Staithe SC14133133(17)46
122084 Keith Byers Morecombe & Heysham5108(16)141653
132124Tony Woods1614101510(36)65
142122Simon CoxWaldringfield6(36)1227181376
152131Nigel Grogan20171611(36)1276
162125Neil Goodhead South Staffs171811(21)121876
172045Kevin GibbLargo Bay SC2115(31)22171186
182100 John BallArdleigh1516251713(36)86
191774 Richard Burton West Oxford18221710(25)2087
202096Steve Ede Ardleigh23231819151489
212107 Daz Prior South Windermere1923221416(36)94
222068Tom LonsdaleWOSC(28)191520212196
232065Simon ShawDeben(27)201318242297
241968Jack Grogan Ardleigh(30)211924201599
252053Richard Ham2226(36)251919111
262129Alan AtkinBurghfield S.C.2628212323(36)121
271966Tim O'LearyFelixstowe Ferry25(27)23262623123
282056 Andy Holmes South Staffs(35)2526292224126
292031 Dave Cooper Overy Staithe SC24(29)24282725128
302134Robbie WilsonWormit BC1111(36)363636130
312108 Colin Slevin South Staffs SC(32)3029312826144
322104 Paul Pike Covenham(31)3128302927145
332058 Mary Reddyhoff Parkstone3432273330(36)156
342092 Sam Blocksidge South Staffs33(36)30323636167
352012 Jake Cracknell Ardleigh29(36)36363636173