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13 February 2006, 09:22 am
BLASSE And LINDHARTDTSEN Tied At The Top
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TOSHIBA OK Dinghy World Championship 2006
Lake Macquarie, Australia

After the first two races of the Toshiba 2006 OK Dinghy World Championship on Lake Macquarie, Australia, series leader, Andre BLASSE (AUS) was happy with a "good day in the office". A third and a first leaves him the joint overall leader with Jorgen LINDHARTDTSEN (DEN), who also scored a first and a third.
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The practice race had been sailed on the Sunday with Roger BLASSE (AUS) taking the win. In the evening the Championship was opened by the Vice-Mayor of Lake Macquarie City, Senator Laurie COGLAN.

Light And Shifty Start

The morning started with very light and shifty winds, with the forecast of a southerly change coming in sometime during the morning. This hit with surprising suddenness as the wind increased to 30 knots in a matter of minutes, as if a fan had just been switched on.

When race one started, the wind had moderated to 20 knots with the fleet getting away cleanly first time. LINDHARDTSEN started near the pin, tacked on the first shift and crossed the entire fleet. He said, 'I came right on a nice shift and it stayed so I just kept on going. I made a few tacks near the windward mark and rounded first. There was almost no one down at the pin end so it was easy to start there.'

Following LINDHARDTSEN round the top mark were Steve WILSON (AUS), Russell WOOD (NZL) and Jesper PETERSEN (DEN), who had all hit the right hand corner hard. LINDHARTDSEN sailed away to an impressive win, with PETERSEN moving up to third. Andrew BLASSE (AUS) sailed a good last beat to take third place.

BLASSE On Form

Race two was sailed in slightly less wind, but getting increasingly shifty. The pin end proved favoured with Jan Dietmar DELLAS (GER) port tacking the fleet to lead comfortably around the windward mark followed by Andre BLASSE and LINDHARDTSEN. BLASSE moved past DELLAS on the reaches with LINDHARDTSEN moving to second at the leeward mark. In the gradually lightening winds, BLASSE extended his lead to win the race followed by Mark WILLIAMS (AUS) and then LINDHARDTSEN.

Speaking after the race BLASSE commented. 'It's a bit different to last year's first day when I scored two black flag DSQs! I sailed up the middle of the first beat, got a few shifts right and battled away with Jorgen. He's incredibly hard to beat. He never gives up and tacks on every shift and that makes it really hard.'

Defending World Champion Nick CRAIG (GBR) had an average day scoring a ninth and a seventh. Penalty turns on the start of race two for infringing another boat left him mid fleet, but he managed to move up to seventh by the finish. Two more races are scheduled for Tuesday.

Robert DEAVES (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from day one:© Lynne BURTON
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