OK Dinghy Worlds starts with four winners from four challenging heats

The Ovington Boats and Pro-Set Resins 2023 OK Dinghy World Championship began Monday with two races in quite challenging wind conditions in Lyme Regis. Nick Craig, Niklas Edler, Bo Petersen and Jens Eckardt all won group races in winds that varied from 5-12 knots and shifted all over the compass. 

The prizegiving on Monday was generously sponsored by North Sails.

Though the forecast was for good breeze through the day, it was anything but. The first attempt at a race lasted an hour until it was abandoned as the wind died under the class limits and the reset windward mark was near the original starting line after the wind clocked 90 degrees under darkening skies.

After a short wait the sunshine and the breeze returned and both groups got away first time under a black flag. Britain’s Matt Howard and Nick Craig led round with former world champion Craig crossing the finish just metres ahead. In the second group, there was a similar battle with the top two last year, Britain’s Charlie Cumbley and Sweden’s Niklas Edler. This time Edler took the advantage.

After an aborted attempt to start the second race due to a wind shift, Race 2 started in 6-7 knots. However, it was soon shifting again and the race committee worked hard to reposition marks, though several legs were still quite biased as the wind kept swinging to the point where the fleet had to beat back to the shore after the race.

The Danes dominated, with Jens Eckardt, the early leader in the first group, winning by a huge margin, while in the second, there were a lot of changes during the race but eventually Bo Petersen emerged to take the win.

Craig, with a 1, 28 said, “The first race was very difficult. The first beat was reasonable but then the wind shut down and came back in hard from the right. it stayed but really shifty day, and not just shifty but massive holes, some people sailing in two knots and some in 15 knots. Consistency was the name of the game, which I didn’t achieve today unfortunately but one good race and one very bad one.”

Brent Williams, from Australia, placed 19, 5. He said “It was a challenging day. The wind was up and day, mostly light with a few stronger sections, but lots of big shifts and if you got the right shift in the first beat you were generally OK, but there were a lot of passing lane. I have a reasonable one in the second race and but got a bit deep in the first one. The talk around the boat park is that this seems to be the story of the date. But it’s a great atmosphere here. The club is doing a really great job with these conditions and over 140 boats. Looking forward to steadier breeze over the next four days.”

Eckardt, “I think it was a very difficult day. And a very difficult day for the course setters. In the first race I was fifth and in the second I started at the boat and tacked away for 100 meters and had good pressure all the way around the course.

“I think this is a great place to sail. We talked with some of the locals yesterday and they said the weather is very unusual. But it’s very beautiful; in Denmark we think it’s always raining and cold here, but this has changed our minds.”

Racing continues Tuesday with two more races scheduled at from 11.00. The championship continues until Friday.

Results here: http://2023.okworlds.org/results

Full gallery here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/okdia/albums/72177720309359753

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