Blasse holds 4th spot at OK dinghy Worlds in Sweden

Aftert the second day of racing at the OK Dinghy World Championships in Kalmar, Sweden, Australia's Andre Blasse is holding down 4th place but is in danger of losing touch with the first three sailors who are led by defending champion Karl Purdie of New Zealand.

After four races Purdie, on eight points, has a one point lead over Thomas Hansson-Mild of Sweden, who leads Danish sailor Jorgen Lindhartsen on a countback. Blasse is nine points out of third on 18, after a 4th and 5th in Monday's racing.

Further back in the fleet, two more Australians and another Kiwi are locked in their own personal battle. After four races, Julian Bishop of NZL is in 57th, Jonno O'Donell of Australia is 59th and Glenn Yates of Australia is 61st. The other Australian, Peter Lynch is in 72nd spot. 

The race report from Mary Reddyhoff reads as follows:

In sunshine and a light breeze race 3 started promptly at 11:05. However dark clouds soon appeared, with the wind increasing and backing, necessitating the windward mark to be moved 30 degrees to port for the second beat. The short choppy waves also became more pronounced. Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE), Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) and Karl Purdie (NZL) chose the pin end to start.

Those that hit the left corner came out well ahead of those on the starboard side of the course, for example Gavin Waldron (GBR) tacked round the windward mark in 15th place, well ahead of many of the front runners. Purdie built an impressive lead on the two reaches, with Hansson-Mild and Lindhardtsen close behind. These three held their positions up the next beat, but Hansson-Mild
was impressive on the downwind leg and overtook Purdie, with a boat length separating each at the leeward mark.

Hansson-Mild and Lindhardtsen remained on the port side of the course, with Purdie tacking to the starboard side. At the finish, it was Purdie who got the gun.

1st Karl Purdie NZL
2nd Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
3rd Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
4th Andre Blasse
5th Greg Wilcox NZL
6th Gunter Arndt GER
7th Bartosz Radocy POL
8th Terry Curtis GBR
9th Mogens Johansen DEN
10th Oliver Gronholz GER

The breeze had freshened for the start of the fourth race, with some roguish one metre waves appearing to catch the unwary OK Dinghy sailor. Once again the fleet got away at the first attempt, with individual recalls for a couple of sailors. Whereas port paid on the first beat of race 3, it was the sailors on the starboard side who benefitted in race 4. Hansson-Mild was first to the
windward mark, with Lindhardtsen, Purdie and Nick Craig (GBR) close behind. There was little place changing to the finish, by which time Hansson-Mild had built a substantial lead on his
competitors. The fresh breeze and waves provided optimal conditions for superb surfing conditions for all the competitors who came off the water exhilarated by the day's racing.

1st Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
2nd Karl Purdie NZL
3rd Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
4th Nick Craig GBR
5th Andre Blasse AUS
6th Greg Wilcox NZL
7th Christian Olesen DEN
8th Gunter Arndt GER
9th Terry Curtis GBR
10th Pawel Pawlacczyk

Points after 4 races:

Karl Purdie NZK 4/1/1/2 – 8

Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE 1/5/2/1 – 9

Jorgen Lindhartsen DEN 2/3/2/1 – 9

Andre Blasse AUS 7/2/4/5 – 18

Nick Craig GBR 6/4/12/4 – 26

Greg Wilcox NZL 9/16/5/6 – 26


Day 2 reflections

Thomas Hansson-Mild commented that he grew up in an OK Dinghy, so he is pleased with his performance to date (two firsts and currently lying second overall) – but there are still six races to go. Living in Umea, 1,100 km and a two day drive north of Kalmar, Thomas explained how he
is able to train when so far from the other OK Dinghies.

“I do a lot of cross-country skiing in winter as I have to wait for the ice breakers to clear the sea before I can start sailing again, probably a month after most have started to sail. There are plenty of icebergs to dodge, but I just get used to it! I am very fortunate that there is a very narrow stretch of water between Sweden and Finland at Umea. Here there are always big waves created by wind or current so I can practise my reaching and downwind techniques. I am able to increase my lead on Purdie on these legs. Fortunately Anders Widding has been an excellent training partner this year so I can also practise beating, though Purdie slowly reels me in on the beat. I have copied Peter Milne who used a four purchase mainsheet in 1999, to overcome my tennis elbow, it still, however gives me enough control for downwind sailing. We are fortunate to have a coach and a support boat this year, which has improved the confidence of the Swedish sailors, knowing there is spare equipment available should we need it.”

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