The 2013 OK Dinghy Europeans Championship gets under way at the Yacht Club de Carnac, France this weekend. Here’s an update by Robert Deaves of the OKDIA.
The OK Dinghy class only holds a Europeans when the world championship is outside Europe, so it follows on from the class worlds in Thailand at Easter.
However such is the dynamic and the spread of the fleet that only 17 of the 68 entries for Carnac were present in Thailand, so for many sailors this will be their major event of the year. The start of the event also coincides with the July 2013 release of the OK Dinghy World Ranking list.
The 68 sailors heading to Carnac come from 10 countries and include sailors from Australia and New Zealand. Unlike some classes these sailors are able to take the overall title; there is no continental segregation in the OK Dinghy class. Bringing the championship to France has also boosted the home fleet with an encouraging 14 French entries, the highest number at an international event for many years.
The line up also includes four former world champions, one of which, the four time world champion Nick Craig (GBR) is also the only sailor present to hold the European title, and that was 11 years ago. Neither the current world champion, nor the current European champion, nor the world No.1 will be present in Carnac, but the fleet is so deep and competitive that there are still plenty of big names taking part.
The 2002 world champion Greg Wilcox (NZL) is back again, as well as the 2009 world champion Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE), while this year also brings the return of the 2004 world champion Jim Hunt (GBR). Hunt has only sailed a handful of OK Dinghy regattas since his world title in 2004, but he is sure to be a strong challenger nevertheless.
While the largest team is from Great Britian, the Danes are fielding a very strong team as usual with world No. 3 Stefan Myralf (DEN) hoping to improve on his eighth place at this years worlds while world No. 7 Bo Pettersen (DEN) has been putting in some good domestic results and should be near the top.
For Myralf it will be a return to the place where he won the Laser European Championship 32 years ago. His world No. 3 ranking is his highest ever and he has competed in more qualifying regattas than anyone else in the top 30. He just placed second at Warnemunde Week and third at Swedish Nationals. He has been putting the time in and with a new boat, could well be the surprise of the week.
One place ahead of Myralf in both those regattas was Wilcox, who while being New Zealand’s only entry lives in Germany. As well as winning Warnemunde Week, he also picked up the silver at the Nordics earlier this year. Most sailors are expecting a light week, conditions in which Wilcox usually excels. Another favourite has to be Hansson-Mild. He has already won the Nordic and Swedish Championships this year and took bronze in Warnemunde, though he skipped the worlds.
In the new release of the OK Dinghy World Rankings, Jorgen Svendsen (DEN) has retained his No.1 place, but has chosen to compete at the Finn Europeans at Warnemunde next week instead, as has World No.9 Andre Budzien (GER). This leaves Wilcox as the top ranked sailor in Carnac just ahead of Myralf, who moves up two places from the previous release, and Craig, who has dropped two places. Former world No. 1 Wilcox has moved up just one place to second.
In spite of the fact that he has done very little OK Dinghy sailing since the worlds this year, Craig goes into the Europeans as one of the clear favourites. His record speaks for itself and he can never be discounted. How well the others go we’ll have to wait and see. There are a lot of new names in the class this year, so predicting the form is not easy.
The July release of the world ranking includes the Spring Cup in Medemblik, which were won by Thomasz Gaj (POL), The Nordics, Kiel Week, won by Budzien, the Swedish Championship and Warnemunde Week.
In Carnac, registration and measurement begins on Saturday 20 July with the practice race on Sunday afternoon. The 10 race series takes place from Monday 22 through to Friday 26 July.
World Ranking July 2013
1 Jorgen Svendsen DEN 957.60
2 Greg Wilcox NZL 934.02
3 Stefan Myralf DEN 912.06
4 Nick Craig GBR 863.51
5 Jorgen Lindhartdsen DEN 833.17
6 Roger Blassé AUS 831.19
7 Bo Petersen DEN 827.99
8 Martin von Zimmermann GER 803.46
9 Andre Budzien GER 787.55
10 Paul Rhodes NZL 786.07
11 Alistair Deaves NZL 781.46
12 Mark Jackson AUS 751.56
13 Mike Williams AUS 739.15
14 Mogens Johansen DEN 728.74
15 Terry Curtis GBR 724.93
16 Sonke Behrens GER 707.60
17 Thomas Hanson-Mild SWE 699.67
18 Luke O’Connell NZL 679.53
19 Gunter Arndt GER 676.08
20 Jon Fish GBR 655.89
[full list here]