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26 July 2007, 10:11 am
Kiwis Dominate Opening Races
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OK Dinghy World Championship 2007
Leba, Poland

After the first two days were lost through too much wind and then too little, day three brought perfect conditions with three tough races completed. The day belonged to the strong New Zealand team, with Mark PERROW (NZL) taking two race wins. Second overnight is the defending champion Nick CRAIG (GBR).
The first race started in winds of up to 18 knots and to everyone's surprise the 118 strong fleet got away first time. Mark PERROW (NZL) was the early leader, clearly finding today's conditions to his liking and leading all the way round. Nick CRAIG (GBR) was second at the top mark with Karl PURDIE (NZL) not far behind. These three had their own race well ahead of the chasing pack. PURDIE passed CRAIG on the second beat and on the downwind the three extended their advantage. On the final upwind nothing changed with PERROW winning from PURDIE and CRAIG.

The second race started in slightly more wind and followed a similar pattern. Most of the fleet favoured the left hand side with PERROW again leading round the top mark. On the second reach CRAIG passed him after the Kiwi nearly capsized on a large wave. PURDIE passed CRAIG for a while and the three were again locked together going into the final upwind. PERROW had a slight edge in these hard conditions and took out about eight boat lengths to take his second win of the day with CRAIG just holding onto second place from PURDIE.

For the third race of the day the wind was still increasing and peaked at 24 knots, making for some tough upwind sailing through the large waves and some interesting steering downwind. The conditions off Leba were finally living up to expectations. This time though, CRAIG was dominant, leading from start to finish. PERROW wrapped up an excellent day with a second, while another Kiwi Paul RHODES (NZL) came third. For the final race, the day had clearly taken its toll with a much reduced fleet, after breakages, retirements and sheer exhaustion had set in.

The fleet then had a long dead downwind sail to the safety of the harbour to contend with. With the wind still increasing to nearly 30 knots, this was an exhilarating end to a tough day, and it was some time later that the support fleet had managed to sweep up the stragglers and upturned hulls and bring the full complement of sailors back to the marina.

After three races PERROW has a one point lead over the defending champion CRAIG, with PURDIE a further six points behind. Full results are on the event website.

About the event

The 2007 OK Dinghy World Championships is taking place in Leba, Poland from 21-27 July. 118 OK Dinghies from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Poland and Sweden are taking part in the ten race series. The defending Champion is Nick CRAIG (GBR).

Robert Deaves (As Amended By ISAF). Image, ; © Ania Pawlaczyk
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