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11 February 2010, 09:30 am
Karl Purdie Wins 2010 OK Dinghy World Championships
Victory Ride
Victory ride for New World Champion Karl Purdie

Wellington, New Zealand

Two final races were sailed today in Wellington, New Zealand to determine the 2010 OK Dinghy World Champion. With ten races Karl Purdie (NZL) has claimed the title after a solid performance throughout the championship. The junior title goes to Matt Steven (NZL) who finished third overall.
The final day of racing dawned grey and still with a thick mist obscuring the surrounding hills. The forecast was for a 15 knot northerly to build during the morning. Karl Purdie (NZL) went into the final day with an eight point lead over Paul Rhodes (NZL) who had lead for the first three days of the regatta. Rhodes was philosophical about his drop to second position behind Karl Purdie (NZL). In fact he said "it is a relief not being in the lead - what will be will be".

Race 9
66 sailors headed out to the course area for race 9 which started at the second attempt under a black flag. The majority of the fleet held their starboard tack for much of the first half of the beat. As the wind dropped from 8 to 5 knots, they migrated to the corners looking for more pressure. A clear leader at the windward mark was three times World Champion, Nick Craig (GBR) with the junior Matthew Steven (NZL) leading the pack, and Kagan Weeks (NZL) third and Brad Douglas (NZL) fourth.

At this point World Championship contenders Karl Purdie (NZL) and Paul Rhodes (NZL) were lying ninth and 31st respectively. At the wing mark Craig had increased his lead which he held to the leeward mark. The second beat was shortened, but the first four positions remained unchanged. Craig had a 40 second lead on the next two and they had a 40 seconds lead on the rest. Greg Wilcox (NZL) pulled up to fifth from tenth place with Purdie in sixth. Alistair Deaves (NZL) was also having a good race - this his second result in the top ten in consecutive races.

As the sailors worked their way up the final beat the wind increased to 8 knots and more as tired legs hiked to maximise boat speed and safeguard positions. At the finish Craig had a comfortable lead over Steven and Weeks who celebrated his first top ten result. Five different nations were represented in the top ten in race 9.

Race 10
Race 10 started swiftly after completion of race 9 in 11 knots of breeze. The contest was by no means decided as the competitors lined up on the start line. After a clear start, the competitors were evenly distributed over the course, the main contenders choosing a central route. As the fleet neared the windward mark, the competitors on the right of the course had the edge over those on the left. Leading the fleet was World Championship contender Paul Rhodes (NZL) with Nigel Mannering (NZL) lying in second place. Nick Craig (GBR) was third and defending Champion Thomas Hansson-mild(SWE) fourth, with Greg Wilcox (NZL) another past Champion lying in fifth place.

As the fleet headed down to the gybe mark, lighter airs caused the fleet to bunch up but Rhodes was still in the lead, with Douglas hot on his heels. Wilcox caught a good wave and surfed past both to take the lead. Craig and Hansson-Mild remained ahead of the chasing pack. As the fleet headed up the second beat, Wilcox increased his lead with Douglas still second and Rhodes had dropped to third.

The fleet had completed the rounding in six minutes, as they headed down to the leeward mark on their final run of the Championship. Wilcox held the lead on the final beat, but was being chased hard by Craig who had risen to second place. Michael Williams (AUS) had worked his way through the fleet to climb to fourth position behind Hansson-Mild. Both Mannering and Rhodes dropped places, but Luke O'Connell (NZL) climbed to seventh from an early twelfth.

Despite finishing tenth in the final race, this was good enough for Karl Purdie (NZL) to take the World Championship in 2010 at his home town with 49 points, clear ahead of 2nd place Williams who finished on 62 points. Junior Matt Steven had a disappointing race, but a fantastic regatta, finishing in third place on 68 points.

Full results can be found on the homepage of the OK Worlds website, where regular updates will be posted during the course of racing.

Mandy Burt
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