Petersen takes lead on epic day at OK Dinghy Europeans

Denmark’s Bo Petersen has taken the lead at the OK Dinghy European Championship at Société Nautique de Bandol, France but sits on equal points with Stefan de Vries from The Netherlands, while Britain’s Nick Craig is up to third, just four points back.

Petersen won two races on Friday before de Vries won the final race of the day. Two races remain on Saturday.

With tired bodies from Thursday, many were hoping for a lighter day on Friday, but it was quite the reverse, with a building breeze through the day for another epic day of racing ending with big waves and 25 knots.

Petersen had the best of the day, winning the first two races using his exceptional downwind speed well, while de Vries was better upwind. Craig also had his moments near the front for a 2,3,2, which leaves him four points off the top two.

Yesterday’s leader, Valerian Lebrun from France, couldn’t match the top three with three fourth places, and sits two points behind Craig.

Nick Craig chases Stefan de Vries – Robert Deaves pic

With two more races scheduled for Saturday and again some big conditions forecast, this one is going down to the wire.

Petersen described his day: “Couldn’t be better. The scene out there was just like French champagne. Big waves, even bigger than anyone could imagine. The wind was around 16 knots and picked up to 25-28 so it was champagne sailing.

“I was lucky today. I made some good starts at the pin end and managed to go to the top mark in front. Because of my light weight – I am 81 kg – I am fast downwind and fast on the reaches , so I can pick up what I am losing to the big boys upwind.

It was a struggle. The first one I won cleanly. The next one was a hard job because they are coming up and taking over. Downwind, I take the lead and then it’s a question to stay in front, but it has been a good day. Two bullets and a third.”

De Vries won the last race of the day to level the points. He said, “Another amazing day of racing in big waves. A lot of the guys were pushing a lot. Fortunately, I am fast upwind, unfortunately I am a little bit rusty downwind.

“Later in the day we got a little more breeze which made it interesting downwind Actually the last race was quite tricky with the big wavs to stay upright but I think the points are close at the front so tomorrow will be an exciting day.

“It’s an amazing competition here in Bandol. The weather is perfect and warm sunshine. There are a lot of good guys here so it’s a dream event to do. I am very happy to be here and looking forward to tomorrow.

“This is my second Europeans. I raced in Kiel in 2019. That was a tough one, but now the competition seems even stronger. There are a lot of fast guys in the front and new guys coming and it’s very interesting to see.

“We see new materials, new techniques and everyone is fit and going for it so it’s good fun to sail in this class and I hope many more sailors will come as well.”

Petersen concluded. “It’s nice to be in southern France and it was big fun. It couldn’t be better, big waves, sunshine and a lot of breeze. It was so good, so good…”

The Championship concludes on Saturday with two more races scheduled from 11.00

Results after 6 races
1 DEN 21 Bo Petersen 9
2 NED 6 Stefan De Vries 9
3 GBR 223 Nick Craig 13
4 FRA 11 Valerian Lebrun 15
5 GBR 1 Russel Clark 28
6 FRA 75 Laurent Hay 29
7 GBR 11 Andy Davies 38
8 GER 77 Sonke Behrens 49
9 SWE 73 Patric Mure 49
10 NZL 599 Greg Wilcox 49

Full results:

Jeanneau JY60
M.O.S.S Australia
Race Yachts
Cyclops Marine
Jeanneau JY60
M.O.S.S Australia