His Excellency The Governor Of Goa inaugurated the International OK Dinghy World Championships 2003 at 1830 hrs. The other events of the day included the Press Conference at 1700 hrs and the Practice Race which preceded the festivities.
The practice race started on time at 1400 hrs in Winds ranging from 10-12 knots and oscillating from 290-310 degrees. Almost all the Competitors bar 2 were on the start line for the race. After a general recall, Principal Race Officer Commander Homi Motivala started the practice race on his 2nd attempt with only one boat Sail No. 2110 (Nick Craig from GBR) being marginally over the line.
The other title favorites Nitin Mongia, and Paul Rhodes had good starts in the middle of the pack with defending Champion Greg Willcox of New Zealand not having the best of starts. Paul Rhodes tacked off to the right hand side of the course followed by Greg while Nick Craig and Nitin Mongia continued to the left hand side. The wind which was at around 290 degrees at the start continued to backto the right side through the beat favoring the boats who sailed out on port tack.
Paul Rhodes rounded the windward mark first followed closely by Greg Wilcox and Rob Coutts. Nick Craig and Nitin Mongia were the first boats from the left side to make it and they rounded 4th and 5th respectively. Nick who seemed to have a touch more downwind speed than the others sailed through to round the gybe mark third while Nitin rounded 4th . At the leeward mark, Greg Wilcox was followed closely be Nick Craig with Paul Rhodes 3rd and Nitin Mongia 4th. Nitin then sailed back home having decided that he had had enough practice. Paul Rhodes sailed out further left and took advantage of a small shift to round the windward mark 1st followed by Greg Wilcox and Nick Craig. The top 3 held their positions round the bottom mark after the run with Nick closing the gap on the top two and then retiring. Greg Wilcox sailed on to win the race followed by followed by Rob Coutts and Ben Morrison. International OK Dinghy Association Vice President (Southern Hemisphere) Joe Porebski finished 4th.
"Big Waves, good wind and warm weather, these are the best sailing conditions I have seen in a while"
was what the defending World Champ Greg Wilcox had to say when asked about his days sailing. Rob Coutts concurred saying "these are the best sailing conditions I have ever seen, I thought that Cancun (Mexico) was the best but Goa comes very very close."
The stage is now set for the racing to begin in earnest on the 31 March. Two races are scheduled starting at 1400 hrs.