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27 July 2005, 04:38 pm
WILCOX Shines
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OK Dinghy World Championship 2005
Skælskør, Denmark

Greg WILCOX (NZL) was the star of the show yesterday at the OK Dinghy World Championship in Skælskør, Denmark, with two bullets moving him up to third place overall. However, two second places for Nick CRAIG (GBR) sees the overnight leader extend the gap at the top.
With the discard kicking in yesterday, Jonas QUIST (SWE) moves up to second overall after dropping his black flag disqualification from day one.

A northwesterly breeze and brilliant sunshine greeted the fleet with another day of patchy, testing winds that saw many high profile causalities picking up high scores.

Race five got underway in a force two to three winds with most of the favourites sailing up the left side of the course. Steve MCDOWELL (NZL) led round the first mark followed by Roger BLASSE (AUS), Greg WILCOX (NZL) and Nick CRAIG (GBR). The left was favoured again on the second beat with CRAIG and WILCOX pulling ahead and building a gap on the fleet. CRAIG briefly moved into the lead on the run but round the last leeward mark WILCOX tacked for the left again while CRAIG covered the majority up the middle. WILCOX proved right and won the race by some 20 seconds from CRAIG and BLASSE. The final beat saw a 30 degree shift to the left, leaving many boats on the right and middle counting more boats than expected.

After being DSQ'd by the jury for hitting a mark on Tuesday and picking up an OCS in the second race yesterday, Jon FISH (GBR) is still celebrating his win at last night's unofficial 'OK World Match Racing Championship', sailed in the enclosed waters off the school where the regatta has been hosted and just across from the Harboe brewery which has kindly sponsored the OK Worlds and generously provided the match racing prize of half the winner's body weight in beer. Four windward-leeward races were sailed with two countries eliminated at each round. The final saw FISH against Janusz STOBINSKI (POL), with FISH inflicting two penalties before the start. However it was all over by the first leeward as the Pole capsized to leave FISH the proud winner of over 120 cans of Harbroe beer - a small consolation.

Race six was sailed in similar conditions to race five, with the wind continually flicking left and several corner bangers making massive gains. CRAIG started mid line and came out on the first shift to lead up the middle. He rounded the top mark just ahead of QUIST and WILCOX. At the bottom mark QUIST was right behind CRAIG and these two sailed to the left while WILCOX caught up some distance finding pressure to the right. On the run QUIST again showed devastating speed to close right up on CRAIG and the two became inseparable up the final beat.

Locked in a tack for tack battle, CRAIG never let up, but WILCOX, allowed to sail his own race, went right, although he initially looked in a poor position,100 metres down on the leaders. However a last minute shift from the right brought him back between CRAIG and QUIST to tack for the line and win his second race of the day by less than half a boatlength.

Before this regatta, WILCOX had only ever won one OK World Championship race, and that was the clinching race in the 2002 World Championship, which won him the world title. This week, WILCOX has already notched up three race wins, and is ready for more. He said, 'After the race win in Napier three years ago, this is the best day's racing I have ever had. You can't ask for better than winning two World Championship races on the same day.'

Taking about the racing so far he continued, 'However, it's like a minefield out there with holes and shifts and pressure coming in from all directions. But I think I'm doing well because I am being allowed to sail my own race and haven't got sucked into playing games with other boats. Nick is proving very consistent with top three every race so far which is incredible in conditions like these.'

With six races down, there are still four to go and in the challenging winds off Skælskør Fjord, there is still a long way to go.

Top Ten After Six Races

Pos Nation Helm R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts
1 GBR Nick CRAIG 1 (3) 3 1 2 2 9
2 SWE Jonas QUIST 4 (BFD) 1 2 8 3 18
3 NZL Greg WILCOX (16) 1 8 12 1 1 23
4 AUS Roger BLASSE 3 6 6 (11) 3 10 28
5 DEN Mogens JOHANSEN 5 4 15 10 (34) 7 41
6 DEN Jørgen LINDHARDTSEN 7 18 12 3 (43) 6 46
7 NZL Steve MCDOWELL 2 17 18 (23) 6 4 47
8 GER Martin VON ZIMMERMANN 15 8 9 5 (16) 12 49
9 DEN Ulf BRANDT 8 12 25 8 5 (30) 58
10 DEN Peter WIBRO 19 (25) 22 9 11 8 69
Robert Deaves. Image:© okworld2005.dk
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