New Zealand's Karl PURDIE is the new OK World Champion, taking the title despite struggling in the final race of the series at Warnemünde Week.
On the final day of the Bombardier OK Dinghy World Championship in Warnemünde, Germany, only one race was possible because of violent storms crossing the course area.
Though regatta leader Karl PURDIE
(NZL) performed badly under pressure, placing 16th, it was enough to take the title by just four points.
Race nine started with the usual general recall and then under black flag. Race winner Thomas HANSSON-MILD (SWE) takes up the story. "Before the start I noticed a pressure line coming down the course with a right shift in the wind. So I went to the committee boat end and started there are headed out to the right, working the shifts on that side."
It paid off and he rounded the top mark just behind Alistair DEAVES
(NZL) and Jonathan FISH (GBR).
However true to form, FISH crash tacked to avoid Marek JAROCKI
(POL) and fell out the back of his boat.
HANSSON-MILD continued, "It was a tight race from there on with Nick CRAIG [(GBR)], Karsten HITZ [(GER)] and Andre BLASSE [(AUS)] fighting for the lead.
"Karsten led round one side of the downwind gate, and I went to the other mark and took the lead. The finish was very tight. We all crossed very close. It was very exciting. It feels really good to win the race. My goal here was a top ten and I have achieved that, but it's a shame not to have been able to sail the final race as I would have had a chance of a medal then."
With CRAIG fourth and PURDIE 16th in race nine, the potential was there for a final race showdown, with any of five boats still in with a chance of taking the title. However it was not to be. Soon after race 9 finished, the skies started to darken and the wind increased. With reports coming through of Force 8 winds further up the coast, the race officer decided to abandon racing for the day and the send the fleet home. By the time the storm had passed so had the time limit for starting a race.
This left PURDIE as the 2008 OK Dinghy World Champion, with the three times and defending champion CRAIG in second, and BLASSE picking up his first ever medal at a world championship. For PURDIE, winning the title is a dream come true. This year was his third attempt. In 2006 in Belmont, Australia he finished fifth. In Leba, Poland last year he finished third, so having specifically requested sail number NZL 531 for his new Icebreaker boat, it is very fitting that he should finish first this year.
CRAIG says he will be back next year to try again. He was realistic about his chances today, but clearly would have liked to sail the last race, having reduced the points gap on PURDIE to within striking range.
The Bombardier OK Dinghy World Championship were sailed as part of Warnemünder Week, in Warnemunde, Germany from 8-12 July. There were 91 sailors from seven nations competing for the title.
Results - click here
OK Dinghy World Championship - www.okworlds2008.org