The 2009 OK Dinghy World Champion Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) leads the 2016 OK Dinghy Europeans Championships in Medemblik after winning two of the three races held on Friday. Bo Petersen (DEN) is in second and Richard Burton (GBR) is third. The other race win went to defending Spring Cup holder Charlie Cumbley (GBR).
The combined OK Dinghy Europeans and 25th Spring Cup began in very unlike Spring conditions with a bitterly cold northerly keeping the sailors cool during the day. The overnight strong winds dissipated at the start of the first race to 5-7 knots, but returned during the day to bring a spectacular final race with winds up to 15-18 knots, great sailing conditions and temperatures feeling like mid-winter.
Combining the events has attracted 64 boats from across Europe with a number of sailors pulling out at the last minute due to the forecast of cold weather.
Burton was first away in Race 1 leading round the first mark after a tricky light wind first beat. Hansson-Mild was not far behind though and gradually reeled in Burton and the two exchanged places for a while before the Swede passed him on the final beat by splitting tacks the other side of the Solo fleet coming downwind. Bo Petersen (DEN) moved up to third while Burton had to settle for third.
The wind increased slightly for the second race with the pin end again favoured. Stefan Myralf (DEN) made the best of the start to cross the fleet and round ahead, but unfortunately he picked up a UFD penalty for starting early. Cumbley then took the lead to win from Greg Wilcox (NZL) who recovered well from a really bad start, and Rene Sarabia Johannsen (DEN).
A greatly reduced fleet started the final race as the wintry conditions started to take their toll, and with the wind increasing it was a very tough end to the day on the grey IJsselmeer. However, never phased by near Arctic weather, the classes very own Viking, Hansson-Mild stamped his authority on the race. Starting near the committee boat he rounded the top mark in third, passed the leaders on the reaches and extended for a comfortable victory. Myralf, who had again led at the first mark, took second with Petersen crossing in third.
Hansson-Mild said, “It is great to see so many OK Dinghies here and so many new faces in the class. The class is just growing and growing. Making the Spring Cup also the Europeans has certainly attracted a lot more boats than usual.”
He says he is happy with his new boat, at its first real test. “The new boat is great, very solid. It is the same shape I am used to but I am very happy how I went today.”
“The first and third race went well and to plan. In the second I got stuck in traffic and could only get up to sixth. So it was a good day for me. It's not always you get a day like that. Still, it was a lot of fun, if a bit cold.”
The championship continues Saturday with three more races scheduled and concludes on Sunday with two races scheduled.
Results after 3 races:
1 SWE 100 Thomas Hansson-Mild 8
2 DEN 21 Bo Petersen 9
3 GBR 2183 Richard Burton 12
4 GBR 1 Charlie Cumbley 16
5 NZL 544 Greg Wilcox19
6 GER 772 Oliver Gronholz
7 DEN 1393 Rene Sarabia Johannsen 27
8 GBR 2151 Jon Fish 38
9 POL 14 Pawel Pawlaczyk 42
10 DEN 1468 Jørgen Holm Nielsen 45
– Robert Deaves