A strong fleet of 31 OK Dinghies gathered at the Wakatere Boating Club last weekend for the Not the Worlds regatta, a replacement event for Kiwi sailors affected by the cancelled OK Dinghy world championships in Sweden, writes By Rod Davis.
It was a great success on all fronts – from weather conditions, race committee and volunteer expertise, to the OK sailors themselves, quite remarkably, adhering to the social distancing but still with the normal beer and banter in the boat park that the class is world famous for. “The glue of an OK mob”, as one person said.
Saturday saw four races of about 30 minutes each in quick succession. Typical of a spring day in Auckland, we had a 10-17 knot breeze off the land which created a complicated shifty and puffy race course. This meant consistency in finishes was difficult, but something worth striving for.
Starting well took a back seat to the importance of being in phase with wind shifts and being able to battle back from the inevitable got-it-wrong moments.
The first three races had three different winners, with Steve McDowell, George Cooper and Luke O’Connell (Colt) all taking a turn getting it more right than the rest of the fleet.
The battle lines were being drawn up and down the fleet. That is the magic of OK racing, because wherever you are in the fleet, you know the sail numbers of your direct rivals, the sailors you can beat when you’re sailing well. That is the regatta within the regatta, and makes every finish matter.
The all-important Tiki race, in 17 knots (awarded to the winner of the last race of the day, and bragging rights over every person on the planet for the next 24 hours) required herculean efforts from all the sailors to find new energy in aching, hiking muscles and addled brains from a day of big shifts and ripping tide.
Author’s Note: the Tiki is harder to win than an Olympic medal or the America’s Cup… trust me… just say’n!
Steve showed his youth and sailing form to cross the line first, for the second time on day one, to take Tiki glory and a solid overnight lead overall.
Sunday was an early 10.30am start, with winds from eight to 10 knots, and building through the three races to finish at 18 to 20. Outgoing current, repeatedly setting the fleet over the start line, made for tricky starts with lots of general recalls.
It was high stress, yet entertaining stuff (even a few laughs) for everyone. The last race was in big wind with wild rides downwind. Overnight leader, Steve, kept his nerve, even under Colt’s pressure, to win in convincing style.
A special thanks to Andy Richards and his 14 fabulous volunteers and Dean Coleman, who did double duty, prepping race committee boats plus racing in the regatta.
1st: Steve McDowell
2nd: Colt (Luke O’Connell)
3rd: Rod Davis
Legend Winner (over 70): Sefton Powrie
Veteran Winner (over 60): Rod Davis
Masters Winner (over 40): Mark Perrow
Winner of the Tiki: Steve McDowell x 2!
Winner of the highly-contested Wakatere friendly ‘bragging rights’: Phil Rzepecky among the ‘lose seven’
Outstanding effort: George Cooper, 4th overall after not sailing the OK for a very long time
Next match up: Northland Champs, Whangaruru Sailing Club, Oakura, September 26-27
- Pic: Rod Davis, pictured competing at last year’s OK Dinghy world championships, was third. Photo: Robert Deaves