Greg Wilcox new leader at OK Dinghy Worlds in Vallensbaek
The 145 OK Dinghy sailors at the 2012 World Championship in Vallensbaek, Denmark again had a frustrating day waiting on shore for the breeze to materialise. Eventually the fleet was sent out around 16.30 for one race in very light winds. Greg Wilcox (NZL) led at every mark to win the Fisher Cup and take the overall lead after three races.
A light breeze did fill in earlier but was not quite strong enough to convince the race officer to send the fleet out so the sailors spent most of the day enjoying the hot weather and basking in the sunshine, passing the time as usefully as possible. Finally at 16.00 a rumour circulated that the AP flag was coming down and soon after the fleet was sent afloat in 5-7 knots offshore breeze.
Remarkably the fleet got away first time and while most favoured the right, Greg Wilcox stuck to the left and found the best shift into the top mark to lead round. He extended down the reaches and consolidated on the second beat, though lost some ground on the run as the wind started to fade and become patchy. The final upwind was test of nerves as both sides paid in different measures and the middle was almost calm.
Wilcox held on to win from Martin von Zimmerman (GER) and Jørgen Holm (DEN). Andreas Pich (GER) and Jørgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) were fourth and fifth. Both von Zimmerman and Lindhardtsen gained around 70 places each at the end of the first beat that brought the struggling left right up to the top mark while leaving those on the right a bit stranded.
Wilcox explained his strategy. “It was pretty hard to figure out a strategy actually because the wind was shifting around a bit and it was up and down quite a lot. So I just got some numbers of the compass for what I thought what was high and what was low on each tack and there was quite a big shift to the left before thee start when the postponed and they moved the marks further to the left as well. So I thought left has got to be better than right. On the right hand corner you were also going up a beach and I didn't really like the idea of that, so I started towards the pin end and and came off the line on quite high numbers and just waited until they dropped and tacked and basically rolled everyone into the top mark.”
“I wasn't at all confident about holding the lead as itt was so tricky but I managed to open out on the reaches quite a lot and then the second beat there weren't that many places to go and so everyone was kind of following me. But the run was really really tricky because the wind died and some guys came out from the left, so I gybed in front of them and just got the pressure to stay in front round the gate with a reasonable lead.”
On the next two days, “At this stage last year I was also leading after three races and ended up fourth, so in this fleet anything can happen. There's still a long way to go. There are a lot of very good sailors here and hopefully we'll have possibly four more races.”
Was it a good decision to race today, “I think so. The breeze was shifty, but it was there. The race wasn't that bad. It wasn't really unfair. The guys at the front managed to stay there, others managed to climb back through the fleet so I didn't really think it was that bad, but I guess if you ask someone further back in the fleet it might be a different story.”
While some are forecasting sailable winds for the next two days, others are forecasting no wind, but the organisers are not getting worried just yet. After months of windy, nasty weather, how ironic is it that the weather has changed so completely that we are struggling to get in the required five races for a championship?
Racing will hopefully continue on Friday with two more races scheduled. The championship concludes on Saturday when the final two races are scheduled. You can follow the racing live with TracTrac as all boats are fitted with GPS trackers for the week. The direct link is: http://tractrac.com/index.php?page=eventpage&;id=233
Results after three races (provisional)
1 NZL 544 Greg Wilcox 20
2 GER 762 André Budzien 22
3 DEN 1393 Rene Johannsen 32
4 DEN 1377 Jørgen Holm Nielsen 34
5 SWE 100 Thomas Hansson-Mild 40
6 DEN 1374 Bo Petersen 48
7 NZL 542 Alistair Deaves 51
8 POL 1 Tomasz Gaj 55
9 POL 19 Bartosz Rakocy 56
10 GBR 2150 Nick Craig 61