Niklas Edler leads gold fleet into final series at OK Dinghy Worlds

After the third day of racing at the 2023 Ovington Boats and Pro-Set Resins OK Dinghy World Championship in Lyme Regis, Sweden’s Niklas Edler has taken a one point lead from Britain’s Nick Craig and Denmark’s Jens Eckardt. Race wins went to Eckardt, Andre Budzien, from Germany, and Charlie Cumbley and Andrew Mills from Britain.

Niklas Edlar, SWE
Niklas Edlar, SWE

Wednesday’s prize giving was generously sponsored by Allen Brothers (Fittings).

A light start to the day with 6-8 knots and solid cloud cover gradually gave way to clear skies and 12-16 knots for the second race with large waves quickly building again before more heavy cloud rolled off the hills at the end of the day.

In the first race, Craig led at top from Morten Jakobsen, from Thailand, and Budzien. Budzien took lead on the outer loop and led round from Craig. On the final beat, Denmark’s Ask Askholm moved up to third.

In the other group, Edler led from Eckardt and Thomas Hansson-Mild, from Sweden, but then missed the spacer so Eckardt moved through to the lead. He led all the way and extended for a comfortable win from Britain’s Henry Wetherell and Cumbley. It was Eckhardt’s third win so far this week.

In the increased breeze in the next race Cumbley rounded just behind Edler but took the lead before the next upwind mark and then extended to win from Edler, with Norway’s Lars Johan Brodtkorb in third. Andrew Mills did similar work in the other group race to extend for a big win from Sweden’s Thomas Hansson-Mild and Britain’s Matt Howard.

Mark Jackson, AUS
Mark Jackson, AUS

Mark Jackson, from Australia, is in 28th overall after a 32, 10 today. “Pretty challenging day on the water for me. I struggled to get on the right side of the shifts and wasn’t going all that well in the first race when the wind was light. But fortunately, in the second race a great breeze picked up with fantastic waves and a great way to finish the day. The standard of the fleet is incredibly high, with a high standard in every race.

“The club has been great, so friendly and hospitable and there are volunteers everywhere and we are really enjoying it.”

Thomas Hansson-Mild is in 15th after a 10, 2. “It was a lovely day. It started off a little bit light and the wind gradually picked up. Nice racing, good races, fantastic venue. I started at the pin and went from there, just played the shifts, so good fun.

“This year is harder than ever but that’s something we say every year, but now this year we have all these ex or current professional sailors from the Finn and the Laser, so it’s good fun to be out here and fighting against them.”

At the end of the qualifying series, the fleet is now split into gold and silver groups for the final four races. The points at the top are incredibly close, with just 10 points separating the first nine boats so everything is wide open for the final series.

Andrew Mills ends the day in ninth. “We had a nice breeze, starting in 7-8 knots but unfortunately, I got a black flag. In the second race we had 12-14 average and I managed to get a bullet, so a mixed day, but very good racing with lovely big waves again.

“It’s interesting learning the boat. Obviously, there is a high quality of sailor here with lots of legends from different classes coming in to have a go. It’s also interesting seeing different types of beats and some are fast downwind, and some are fast upwind. I seem to have some reasonable pace in the breeze upwind, but some guys have a bit more pace downwind.”

Looking ahead to the final two days, he said, “I think it will be an interesting last couple of days with gold fleet tomorrow and I think the breeze is also due to swing to the north so could be a bit shifty and we’ll see how everyone gets on tomorrow.”

Racing continues Thursday with two more races scheduled from 11.00 with the 143 boats from 13 countries now in gold and silver fleets. The championship concludes on Friday with a maximum of four races to sail.

Jens Eckardt, DEN
Jens Eckardt, DEN

Results after 6 races
1 SWE 71 Niklas Edler 12
2 GBR 2261 Nick Craig 13
3 DEN 12 Jens Eckardt 15
4 FRA 11 Valerian Lebrun 16
5 GBR 6 Charlie Cumbley 17
6 DEN 21 Bo Petersen 20
7 GBR 2245 Henry Wetherell 20
8 GBR 2279 Matthew Howard 22
9 GBR 94 Andrew Mills 22
10 GER 71 André Budzien 26

Full results here: http://2023.okworlds.org/results

Full gallery here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/okdia/albums/72177720309371000

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