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14 February 2006, 09:22 am
WILCOX To The Fore In Flukey Conditions
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TOSHIBA OK Dinghy World Championship 2006
Lake Macquarie, Australia

Something strange happened today on Lake Macquarie, Australia for day two of the Toshiba 2006 OK Dinghy World Championship. The sun did not shine at all and the winds were substantially lighter than the previous two weeks, with the lake living up to its reputation of shifty and flukey conditions with large holes over the course area waiting for the unwary. However it obviously suited Greg WILCOX (NZL) perfectly as he won both races.
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Race three of the championship started in ten to twelve knots after a general recall with the first big shift coming from the left. Jan-Dietmar DELLAS (GER) led from the left and rounded the top mark first followed by Karl PURDIE (NZL) and WILCOX. Both the Kiwis sailed past DELLAS on the first reach with WILCOX taking the lead from PURDIE at the wing mark. PURDIE and WILCOX then battled together with WILCOX finally breaking away on the final beat to take the first race of the day followed by PURDIE, Nick CRAIG (GBR) and Adrian MANNAERING (NZL).

After an hour's delay because of very shifty winds, the course was moved slightly and after another general recall followed a similar pattern. The leaders came from the left again with Jon FISH (GBR) leading round the top mark from PURDIE. The leading pack of ten pulled away from the fleet on the reaches but it all changed on the second beat. While the leaders took the right hand side of the course, several boats played the left hand side. At the moved windward mark WILCOX had moved from tenth to second just behind FISH. The lucky prise of the day went to Andre BLASSE (AUS) after rounding the leeward mark about 20th went hard left and reached into the windward mark in fourth on a massive shift. FISH held onto the lead until the final leeward mark.

LINDHARDTSEN Hangs On To Overall Lead

WILCOX said, 'I decided to just sail my own race so looked for the pressure and played the shifts and it worked.' WILCOX won his second race of the day and now lies in second place after four races. The leader after four races is still Jorgen LINDHARDTSEN (DEN) after scoring an eighth and a seventh today. PURDIE's third and second today moves him up to third overall. The top junior is Tom BURTON (AUS) in 27th place, who scored an impressive eighth in the first race today.

WILCOX summed up the day by saying, 'The Championship is now wide open. There are a lot of people still in the game so it should be a very interesting World Championship.'

Competitors Happy

Speak to many of the sailors here about why they sail an OK Dinghy, and invariably you will get a similar response: community, competitiveness. Current World Champion CRAIG said, 'The OK gives fantastic international competition with great venues and race management. It is one of the highest standards in amateur fleets, an excellent boat to sail, very responsive, fantastic in waves, indestructible in strong winds. It's also very friendly and sociable.'

One of the German competitors Fabian GRONHOLTZ said, 'We have great competitions on the water and a lot of fun apart from just sailing. The OK Dinghy sailors are like a big family all over the world.' Meanwhile, Australian OK competitor Richard FURNEAUX said, 'I like the OK because of the simple fact that it comes down to your own sailing ability, not gear, not design and not how much cash you spend. The mob you race against aren't a bad bunch either, if you don't mind the odd beer.'

Racing continues on Wednesday with two more races scheduled.

Top Ten

Pos Nation Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 Pts
1 DEN Jorgen LINDHARDTSEN 1 3 7 8 19
2 NZL Greg WILCOX 13 6 1 1 21
3 NZL Karl PURDIE 7 9 2 3 21
4 GBR Nick CRAIG 9 7 3 6 25
5 AUS Roger BLASSE 6 4 12 5 27
6 NZL Adrian MANNAERING 4 11 4 16 35
7 NZL Steve MCDOWELL 11 8 15 11 45
8 NZL Russell WOOD 8 14 22 4 48
9 AUS Andre BLASSE 3 1 39 10 53
10 AUS Mark WILLIAMS 10 2 28 15 55
Robert DEAVES (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Greg WILCOX had a great day on Lake Macquarie:© Lynne BURTON
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