Bo Petersen won his third OK Dinghy European Championship at Société Nautique de Bandol, France, after one final race was sailed on Saturday local time, while Stefan de Vries took second place and Valerian Lebrun placed third after winning the final race.
It has been a tough event with first a mistral and then strong winds for the rest of the week, bringing colder than expected conditions, but it is still Bandol and a very pleasant place to be.
Petersen never finished worse than third in the 80-boat fleet. It was impressive, but the top four boats were a level apart from the rest of the fleet and it was very tight at the top.
The final race was sailed in 18-22 knots and big waves with a close battle between de Vries and Petersen, who started the day on level points. De Vries had a good lead at the top, but Petersen was ahead at the bottom mark. De Vries passed him up the final beat to cross in second behind Lebrun and took the title.
However, de Vries was scored UFD for being over the line at the start, handing the title to Petersen. It was a dramatic end to what has been an epic week in Bandol. With the wind increasing and the forecast for much, much more wind, further racing was abandoned.
“I think the word is lucky,” Petersen admitted. “I have been struggling a lot. Today I was lucky and Stefan was unlucky, but from the beginning it was nice coming back to Bandol.
“I was really looking forward all year just to be down here with the sunshine and good food, but the mistral came in and brought some cold wind as well, so I am looking forward to next year. Hopefully we will have a good week again.”
The Danish sailor ended with an invitation to other sailors: “To all the dinghy sailors in the world, if you feel a little bored and want to sail a very good dinghy, please join us in the OK Dinghy class. It’s a good class socially and some good guys sailing on the water, so very good racing.”
At the prizegiving, following the event in the incomparable Bandol, OKDIA Vice President, Pontus Gäbel said, “We all knew this event would epic, but none of us expected how epic it would turn out to be.”
In 2023, the class has another great series of events, including the Spring Cup in Medemblik, the world championship in Lyme Regis in the UK, the European Championship at Arco on Lake Garda, before returning to Bandol with the Autumn Trophy in September.
It’s all going to be simply OK!
Final results after 7 races:
1 DEN 21 Bo PETERSEN 11
2 NED 6 Stefan DE VRIES 14
3 FRA 11 Valerian LEBRUN 16
4 GBR 223 Nick CRAIG 16
5 FRA 75 Laurent HAY 34
6 GBR 1 Russel CLARK 35
7 GBR 11 Andy DAVIS 42
8 GER 77 Sonke BEHRENS 55
9 NZL 599 Greg WILCOX 56
10 NZL 573 Luke GOWER 61