Andre Blasse starts well in OK dinghy Worlds

Mysailing.com.au “man on the spot” Andre Blasse has made a great start to the OK dinghy worlds in Kalmar, Sweden, with a 7th and 2nd in the first two races.

Over the weekend he reported exclusively to this website that the four Australian competitors managed to get their gear organised and measured and ready to race without any problems. Fellow competitors Fabian and Oliver Gronholz helped Andre bring his boat and mast from Hamburg in a gesture typical of the camraderie that exists among top sailors.

“There are 5 past world Champions sailing, plus the current one, and we have a full fleet of 80 from 8 countries sailing, so it will be a great regatta, and the top 10 will be very tough this year,” Andre said. “The Swedish town of Kalmar is looking after us well, and there is a great atmosphere.”

In Race 1, after two general recalls the race officer, Patrik Schander, used the black flag to restore order. Sailing in sunshine and a moderate breeze, the majority of the fleet stayed on the starboard side of the course with Thomas Hansson-Mild from Sweden and Jorgen Lindhardtsen leading at the windward mark. They created a big lead over the following pack led by Terry Curtis (GBR) and defending champion Karl Purdie (NZL). That's the way it stayed, with Andre Blasse the first of the Australians in 7th place.

Race 1

1st Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
2nd Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
3rd Terry Curtis GBR
4th Karl Purdie NZL
5th Pawel Pawlaczyk POL
6th Nick Craig GBR
7th Andre Blasse AUS
8th Mogens Johansen DEN
9th Greg Wilcox NZL
10th Ralf Tietje GER

After a general recall at the start of race 2 there was a short delay while the wind backed to a more southerly direction. As it settled back to the original direction, the race officer lost no time in starting the race with a black flag, claiming three premature starters. The moderate breeze persisted, creating a short chop that was difficult to sail over when the wind pressure dropped.

Nick Craig (GBR) rounded the windward mark first, with Purdie close behind. Having been penalised by the jury in race 1 Craig sailed a conservative reach, Purdie however, managed to surf past and steadily increased his lead for the remainder of the race. Andre Blasse managed to pass Craig, as did Lindhardtsen on the line.

Race 2

1st Karl Purdie NZL
2nd Andre Blasse AUS
3rd Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
4th Nick Craig GBR
5th Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
6th Greg Wilcox NZL
7th Terry Curtis GBR
8th Pawel Pawlaczyk POL
9th Antoni Pawlowski POL
10th Bo-Staffan Andersson SWE

Day 1 reflections
Purdie, who leads the fleet, reflected on the day's racing. “The first race was OK, but I did not get a good start, spending most of the time on Curtis' transom. The shifts are predictable, and with everyone travelling at very similar speeds, it is difficult to get past your opponents. In the second race I had a better start and was able to be more aggressive than Craig in my sailing of the reaches as he had received the yellow flag in the first race. I am pleased with my results – though they are not as good as last year's.” He won both races last year.

Ex-Olympian, Lindhardtsen continues to show the rest of the fleet how to sail an OK Dinghy. He is currently in second place, on equal points with Purdie. Now 64 years of age, more than 20 years Purdie's senior, he commented that it could have been so much worse as, whilst trying to break out from Curtis' cover, he did a bad tack, just saving a capsize by pirouetting back onto his original tack.

Blasse commented, “It was a good day”, as he made the most of the breezy conditions, while seasoned campaigner Curtis said, “this is my best ever first day at a World Championship.”

Australia's other competitors are Jonathon O'Donnell (48th), Glenn Yates (54th) and Peter Lynch (76th). O'Donnell and Yates are sailing in borrowed boats but with their own rigs.

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