Jim Hunt (GBR) sealed his second OK Dinghy World Championship title in Quiberon, France, after a very difficult final day for both organisers and competitors. He made sure of the win with a nervous 12th in the first race of the day, before ending the series in style by winning the final race. Jørgen Svendsen (DEN) had to settle for silver, while Charlie Cumbley (GBR) took the bronze.
A look at the results for the day tells its own story with lots of casualties of the big shifts and patchy winds. After several attempts to start on the pin end biased line, the wind did the race officer’s job and shifted to the right to give a squarer line, but not before 14 boats were pulled out under the black flag. A huge right shift out of the start left those on the left stranded with no way back, including many in the top 10. Bo Reker Andersen (DEN) crossed the line first, but was one of those BFD, and it was Jonas Borjesson (SWE) who took the winner’s gun after sailing a perfect race.
With Hunt in 12th and Svendsen in 10th, Hunt had done enough to win the title with a race to spare, but being the superb sportsman he is, he stayed out for the final race. Again there were multiple attempts to start until finally the line was reset. Again it was shifty as ever, and again Borjesson led round the top mark. However Hunt was not far behind and soon took the lead to win from Andre Budzien (GER) and Chris Arnell (GBR).
The wind had been shifty all week but the final day took the medal for the shiftiest day of the week. Hunt said, “The first race was very difficult, very hard to get a handle on what was going and there was a big right shift with pressure out of the start. I’d gone down to the port end where most of my competitors were and we got stuck on the outside of it, trying to work our way across. All the gains were coming from the right side so it was difficult. Most of us were waiting for the left shift and it never came and the longer you waited the worse it got. So it was painful.”
“The second race was the same again but more people knew what was happening so more were sticking to the right hand side and it got a bit easier. I stuck to the right hand side pretty hard and got out of jail, which was nice.”
In winning the world title he also wins a free flight and hotel for next year’s World Championship in Barbados. “Had I known that was on offer I’d have probably wobbled a bit, or a bit more. But it’s an opportunity not to miss.”
“I have a new boat on order, and I have to go to Barbados.”
He summed up his feelings on winning the title for a second time. “12 years ago I went thinking I had a chance at winning it. This year I didn’t, so I was very pleasantly surprised. But I am extremely happy. I didn’t think I’d get another chance, as an old man, but I think in a more stable breeze I’d have had a lot of trouble. That’s my only chance when it’s shifty like that, but yes very pleased.”
1 GBR 11 Jim HUNT 22
2 DEN 3 Jorgen SVENDSEN 41
3 GBR 1 Charlie CUMBLEY 49
4 SWE 2797 Mats CAAP 67
5 NZL 544 Greg WILCOX 72
6 DEN 21 Bo PETERSEN 75
7 DEN 6 Stefan MYRALF 100
8 SWE 100 Thomas HANSSON-MILD 110
9 POL 14 Pawel PAWLACZYK 116
10 GER 803 Martin v ZIMMERMANN 136
– Robert Deaves