A day of perfect conditions greeted the 70 sailors at the Singha OK Dinghy World Championships in Pattaya,Thailand. The first two races was staged in a 12-18 knot hot breeze with race wins going to defending champion Andre Budzien (GER) and Roger Blasse (AUS).
The breeze built during the day to end with a leg stretching 18 knots by the finish of the second race. At the end of the day the Royal Varuna Yacht Club is full of very tired by satisfied sailors as they enjoy the spectacular view over the Gulf of Thailand and the free refreshments provided by Singha.
Race one got under way under the new 'U' flag with three boats pulled out on the restart. Paul Rhodes (NZL) rounded the top mark first from the left from a group consisting of Andre Budzien, Roger Blasse and Nick Craig (GBR). Rhodes overlaid the second top mark after overestimating the tide and let Budzien through. The laylines were hard to call with big courses and the left paying well. The German dominated the rest of the race with Craig pulling up behind Blasse at the finish. Both thought Craig had done enough, but Blasse took third.
Practice race winner Blasse took the early lead in race two and with a change of tide the course turned into a one way track with the left very clearly favoured. He was closely followed round th4 top mark by Mike Williams (AUS) and Jonathan Fish (GBR) as the wind increased to 15-16 knots and the upwind legs became hard work for some. Blasse pulled away downwind to lead throughout the race with Williams, Craig and Rhodes in close pursuit, though they finished in that order.
Craig said, "It was another day in paradise. We had simply perfect conditions though the beats were very long. Controlling he left was the key to the racing, and by the end it was a bit one track, but as the week goes on that will change as the time of the tides gets later."
Blasse commented, "It was fantastic sailing but you had to turn left at the bottom mark. The lumpy conditions and the tide makes it hard to assess your boat speed but it looksblike it's going to be a tough week ahead."
Two more race are scheduled for Monday at 13.00 before the fleet enjoys a lay day on Tuesday to sample the delights of Pattaya.