Andre Budzien takes narrow lead at OK Dinghy worlds after damp day in Warnemünde

The 2018 OK Dinghy World Championship in Warnemünde, Germany continued Wednesday with two more races sailed in an unstable 8-12 knots, and damp conditions. Former world champion Andre Budzien, from Germany took a one point lead at the top from Fredrik Lööf and Jan Kurfeld. Each won a race in their groups, while Jim Hunt took the other group win.

It was always looking like the wettest day of the week, though the much forecast strong winds failed to materialise. In the end it was mildly damp on the water with more rain before and after racing than during. After brilliant conditions on Tuesday, this was another side of Baltic weather, grey and wet.

The first set of groups races both got away with no problems. In the yellow group, Kurfeld picked up where he left off on Tuesday with a confident race win. He was pushed hard by Hunt and Charlie Cumbley, and both races featured these three at the front. Hunt took the second race after finding a favourable shift on the final short beat to the finish to pass both Kurfeld and Cumbley.

In the blue group, there were also three sailors dominating the racing. Lööf was the early leader in the first race, holding a narrow lead over Budzien until the final downwind. Budzien took the gun with Bo Petersen not very far behind in third. The second race took along time to get away as approaching clouds briugh rain and windshifts. Several times the start was postponed, but when it finally got away, Lööf took one back to win from Budzien, with Petersen again third.

The trio of Budzien, Lööf and Kurfeld are beginning to build a small gap on the fleet. It is only four points at the moment, but once the final series begins on Friday, every point will be crucial.

Cumbley said, “The forecast was for more wind but we had two races in light to medium wind of about 8-14 knots and pretty shifty. I got two seconds in a reasonably tough group, so steady, and still in it. I think that there are still some people putting in some good scores consistently, so it will be tough to get back from yesterday’s slightly deeper results but all still to play for I’d say.”

Hunt scored a third and first to move up to sixth overall.

“My day was damp. Damp…and a lot better than normal actually. I could get away with doing a bit of perching, so I was reasonably quick.”

“I managed to sneak the last one. I was a bit slow downwind but on the last beat Jan [Kurfeld] went right and let us loose. Charlie tacked off and then back to him and I went fairly far left and got into a nice little shift, not that I was looking for it but I was lucky they went the other way and I just took a chance and just got across them both. If Charlie hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have got away with it. So it was a good day. I’ll take it.”

Steve Wilson, from Australia is sailing at his first OK Dinghy worlds outside Australia and is relishing the experience.

“I have been in and out of the class, but back in for the last three and a half years. It’s my first time to Europe and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”

He is currently in 54th after picking up his best result, a 15th, in the first race today.

On the event he said, “This is fantastic. I have never raced anything like it in my entire life. I’ve been sailing since I was age 5 and racing since I was 9 or 10, and never sailed in any fleet quite like it. There are people from all over the world, with different abilities and different sailing skills and they are all fantastic sailors.”

“It’s absolutely fantastic sailing against this calibre fleet. It’s a great boat for that and I thoroughly enjoy sailing it. The people, the camaraderie, everyone helps everyone else, the social side of it, everyone is very welcoming and hospitable.”

“It’s a real pleasure of a class to sail and I recommend it highly to anybody.”

Racing in the opening series is scheduled to conclude on Thursday with two more races starting at 12.00. On Friday and Saturday four more races are scheduled for the Final series.

Results after four races
1 GER 71 Andrè BUDZIEN 6
2 SWE 69 Fredrik LOOF 7
3 GER 18 Jan KURFELD 7
4 DEN 1507 Bo PETERSEN 11
5 GBR 6 Charlie CUMBLEY 13
6 GBR 11 Jim HUNT 15
7 SWE 100 Thomas HANSSON-MILD 18
8 NOR 428 Lars Johan BRODTKORB 22
9 POL 1 Tomasz GAJ 24
10 GER 77 Sönke BEHRENS 24

Full results.                         

– Robert Deaves

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