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Wessex Resins 2019 - Pro-Set - 728x90

OK Spring Cup 2014 at Medemblik, Holland

by Tony Woods 7 May 2014 08:05 BST 2-4 May 2014
OK Spring Cup 14 © Lisa Woods

The British OK Dinghy class has a lot going for it at present with many of the fleet taking the opportunity to visit the continent for extremely competitive racing against other European sailors.

The Spring Cup was the first major event in the European calender held in Medemblik, Holland. The 8 race series over 3 days in early May gives an indication which nation has the fastest OK sailors and who has been out training.

Forty nine boats from Holland, Sweden, Poland, Germany, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Belgium, and the UK assembled to form a strong fleet. Many of the pre-regatta favourites were from the talented Danish team who have worked and trained hard in recent seasons. The number 1 ranked OK sailor Greg Wilcox from New Zealand was also there looking to carry on from his recent win in the Australian Championships.

The 11 boat UK fleet included Jim Hunt who is concentrating on OK sailing in 2014, and looked forward to finding out where he was in this competitive fleet having kept his winter programme to some social sailing at Blithfield, and a few early open meetings.

On Friday 3 races were held in a challenging 25 knot breeze with the waves lived up to Medemblik's reputation for steep and short rolling seas. Many of the fleet had a tale to tell in the Cafe Brakenbaur that night.

On the Saturday winds had dropped to 11-14 knots with big short term shifts meaning it was never over until it was over. Getting caught on one side of the course or another was a very dangerous strategy.

On the Sunday the fleet drifted around waiting for the breeze to fill in from one direction or another. It pushed and then pulled but never played ball enough for the Race officer to set a fair course and line so racing was abandoned.

After 3 tough days on the water the regatta was won convincingly by Jim Hunt of the UK. In the windy conditions of the Saturday he was a league above the competition with fast pace up wind and a mastery of the waves downwind the 2004 OK World Champion showed that he's going to be a force in the European OK circuit this year.

2nd overall was the No 1 ranked Greg Wilcox from New Zealand. A Medemblik regular Greg was usually on the right shift and can always be reckoned on for consistent speed and tactics.

3rd overall was Stefan Myhalf from Denmark. Runner up in last years European Championships and with an impressive sailing CV, he was never going to be far from the front of the fleet.

4th overall was Bo Peterson also from Denmark. The current European Champion was given plenty to think about by UK's Jim Hunt, and will be working hard to keep his European crown in Germany in July.

5th was the legendary Jorgan Lindhartsen also from Denmark. Despite his age Jorgan always seems a shift ahead of the fleet and his Olympic experience and years of OK sailing behind him mean that he's still a contender in any fleet of quality despite his creaking bones.

Other UK prize winners were Lee Child in 7th, and Dave Bourne in 8th, showing that the UK fleet is a strong one and getting stronger. Many of the UK fleet will re-visit Europe for the European Championships in July. With major European regatta wins like this going to a UK sailor, other young British talent in the prizes, and British boat builders, mast suppliers, and sail makers supplying some of the fastest equipment in the European fleet UK OK sailing has much to shout about at present.

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