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Interdominion Championship 2011

Black Rock Yacht Melbourne Club, Australia

Easter 2011 - 22nd – 25th April

Report by Ben Morrison

Event Website
Photos at PicasaWeb
Photos by Luke O'Connell on flickr

The 2011 OK Dinghy Interdominion Championships was one of the most competitive international regattas in recent times. Held at Black Rock Sailing Club in Melbourne over Easter, with racing in Port Phillip Bay, 12 New Zealanders travelled across the ditch to compete against 37 Australians. Among the fleet there were no less than 11 World Championship medals, 18 National titles and 11 Interdominion titles.

The Race Committee was equally impressive. PRO Mark Taylor was watched by assistants Bill Bell and 1986 OK World Champion Mark Fisher, with 1999 OK World Champion Peter Milne on a mark boat.

As always there were two major titles up for grabs: the Interdominion Championship, and the Interdominion Teams Championship. This year it was agreed that each nation’s team would consist of the top five individual finishers from that country, with their net final scores added together to give the team total. The team with the lowest score would be Interdominion Teams Champion for 2011. Following the NZL team’s dominant showing in the 2010 Worlds in Wellington, the boys set themselves the goal of taking both titles – not an easy task, as the individual title had not been won away from home (by sailors from either nation) in over 20 years.

Day 1: The first day’s racing brought conditions for which Black Rock is famous. Southerly winds of 18 – 22 knots and large rolling waves. Everyone was still finding their hiking legs up the first beat but by the reaches Roger Blasse from the home club blasted off into a large lead followed by brother Andre. Brad Douglas (NZL) sailed a solid race to take third, while reigning World Champion Karl Purdie (NZL) mis-timed the start and rounded in the teens, launching a great comeback in the highly competitive fleet to finish 5th..

The wind increased for the second race and this time Purdie made no mistakes to lead all the way followed by Andre Blasse. Roger Blasse almost retired from the race when his mast crane snapped off but decided he could get enough leech tension to continue and then went on to pass his brother just on the finish line to take 2nd place in a truly impressive display. Later in the bar, all the talk was of the second reach: wind of over 20 knots, huge waves and fast surfing.

After the first day it was the Blasse brothers of Australia in 1st and 2nd, and it was a timely reminder to the NZL sailors that you don’t expect to come and take OK titles at Black Rock without a hard fight.

Day 2 brought slightly less wind and a large confused chop from the previous day. With the wind gusting from both sides of the course, three Kiwis (Douglas, Purdie and Ben Morrison) emerged from the left to lead the fleet around the first mark of Race 3. Douglas led the whole way with Purdie 2nd, while Roger Blasse showed his form to once again climb through the fleet and finish 3rd. Race 4 was sailed in similar conditions, and this time Luke O’Connell (NZL) started to show the form that has seen him consistently at or near the front of the New Zealand fleet in 2011, to climb from 4th at the first mark to take the race, followed by Purdie in 2nd and Douglas in 3rd. Roger Blasse finished 7th, dropping out of the overall lead.

And so, after Day 2, Purdie and Douglas were starting to exert some dominance, with Roger Blasse 3rd and a very close battle developing for the remaining top 10 spots. The battle for both titles was still wide open.

Day 3: Race 5 on Sunday started in around 10 knots of breeze. With the left paying, Brad Douglas rounded 1st followed by Alistair Deaves (NZL) and Marty Weeks (NZL). By the second beat Douglas had extended away followed by Purdie and O’Connell. The wind started to ease back on the run with the front runners all closing up. Douglas hung on to win his 2nd race of the series and take the overall lead, while Purdie consolidated his 2nd position.

With the wind all but gone the fleet bobbed around in the sun and waited. A small breeze caused the Race Committee to try for a start and, after 2 general recalls, 10 boats were sent home under black flag. The fleet then waited for a further hour until a light south-easterly filled in. First away was Douglas looking for his third race win followed by Mark Jackson and Alistair Deaves. These three built up a large lead over the fleet and rounded the last mark all within a few meters. It was Jackson who took the gun though after finding better pressure on the left of the final short beat, with Douglas 2nd and Deaves 3rd.

With one race to sail for on the Monday, Douglas led from Purdie and Roger Blasse, all within 5 points. With very light winds forecast for the final race, the contest was wide open for the individual title although by this stage it was looking as though New Zealand had all but sewn up the teams title.

Day 4: And so on Monday, after 3 hours of waiting onshore for the predicted 6-7 knot easterly, the fleet left the beach around midday. With 3 hours left until the time limit for starting the last race, it seemed that there was plenty of time. However, the wind was not playing by the rules. Every time a race was started the wind swung further to the right. By 2.30 and with just 30 minutes left in which to start a race, following 7 general recalls and numerous postponements, the wind settled to the SW at 6 knots and the final race was underway.

While Blasse and Purdie went left with most of the fleet, Deaves headed to the right, followed by Douglas and Morrison. With huge separation from the rest of the fleet, the three Kiwis found a nice shift and came back with pressure and height, Deaves building a huge lead which he never lost. O’Connell crept back up into third on the second beat but Douglas sailed a solid race to take 2nd and the Interdominion title for 2011. The flatter water clearly favoured the kiwi boats with all the top six in this race sailing Icebreakers.

And so the Interdominions Trophy has a brand new name on it and Brad Douglas became the first sailor to win it away from home since Leith Armit (NZL) in Jervis Bay in 1989.

The teams event was won convincingly by New Zealand with places 1 (Douglas), 2 (Purdie), 4 (O’Connell), 6 (Morrison) and 8 (Deaves) against Australia’s 3 (R Blasse), 5 (M Jackson), 7 (M Williams), 11 (A Blasse) and 13 (Bruce Ashton).

The New Zealand team would like to say a huge thank you to Black Rock Sailing Club and its members who, apart from putting on a superb regatta, also hosted us magnificently with many sailors being billeted out. The Australians really went the extra mile and made this an event to remember. We would also like to express our thanks to Burnards, Hamburg Sud and Vero Insurance for all their help with the shipping of the container.

Next year’s OK Interdominions will be held at Takapuna in Auckland and we will do our very best to put on an event that lives up to the standard set this year at Black Rock.

Interdominion Championship 2011 Results
1Bradley DouglasNZL 539NZL39131222112
2Karl PurdieNZL 531NZL51222862618 Veterans
3Roger BlasseAUS 678AUSVIC12374493021 Veterans
4Luke O'ConnellNZL 511NZL881013734030
5Mark JacksonAUS 735AUSVIC101061461105743 Veterans
6Ben MorrisonNZL 530NZL969991145746
7Michael WilliamsAUS 730AUSVIC11551179115948
8Alistair DeavesNZL 542NZL141214175316649 Veterans
9Mark PerrowNZL 476NZL64741520157151
10Paul RhodesNZL 517NZL47413818167052 Veterans
11Andre BlasseAUS 729AUSVIC231581415177457 Veterans
12Andrew PardingtonNZL 528NZL7111151917188869
13Bruce AshtonAUS 728AUSVIC34182418105711682 Masters
14Trent Pryce NZL 502NZL151383220161211684
15Mark SkeltonAUS 736AUSNSW48
126136814193 Veterans
16Peter RobinsonAUS 750AUSNSW122518192122512297 Veterans
17Mark RobertsAUS 739AUSSA281520101848
14153105 Veterans
18Tim DaviesAUS 732AUSNSW48
281615111325156108 Veterans
19Marty WeeksNZL 479NZL221922121248
22157109 Veterans
20David KetteridgeAUS 725AUSSA2333.52622241013151.5118 Veterans
21Justin BarrAUS 721AUSTAS18212823171920146118 Veterans
22Edward O'DonnellAUS 734AUSNSW13141916342638160122 Veterans
23John DouglasNZL 535NZL30201320162748
174126 Masters
24Glenn WilliamsAUS 719AUSNSW161623242548
28180132 Veterans
25Daen DorazioAUS 715AUSVIC17272735271227172137
26Peter WallaceAUS 716AUSNSW25222531262121171140 Veterans
27Chris VisickAUS 708AUSVIC20232129292529176147
28Gary LokumAUS 741AUSVIC2433.51721302436185.5149.5 Veterans
29Donald WilliamsAUS 727AUSVIC31172925283623189153 Veterans
30Peter LynchAUS 726AUSNSW19243427232837192155 Veterans
31Glenn YatesAUS 724AUSNSW21263133322332198165 Veterans
32Adrian CoulthardNZL 472NZL26293026333130205172
33Tom PearceAUS 737AUSVIC3248
3734311426222174 Masters
34Andrew BakerAUS 744AUSVIC2748
3236223035230182 Veterans
35Christopher MasonAUS 722AUSVIC293035283748
33240192 Veterans
36William TylerAUS 692AUSNSW3748
3639353224251203 Masters
37Jonathon O'DonnellAUS 685AUSNSW33314030433439250207Youth
38Simon DavisAUS 717GBR36353837382948
261213 Veterans
39Richard FurneauxAUS 694AUSVIC3548
274226 Masters
40Michael FlavellAUS 543AUSVIC39374540413543280235 Masters
41Michael WalkerAUS 655AUSNSW403639414048
40284236 Masters
42Chris Hall NZL 47AUSVIC48
43Douglas ParkerAUS 702AUSVIC383943434248
34287239 Masters
44Nik WallisAUS 720AUSVIC48
41298250 Veterans
45Ashley ParkinsonAUS 629AUSVIC48
46Erik ThompsonAUS 642AUSVIC48
42311263 Veterans
47Terrence BenadeAUS 673AUSVIC48