Please select your home edition
Ovington Boats - VX One

Belgian OK Dinghy Nationals at Koninklijke Liberty Yacht Club

by Robert Deaves 12 Sep 2016 19:49 BST 10-11 September 2016
Belgian OK Dinghy Nationals © Erwin Van Iseghem

Richard Burton secures the title

Without winning a single race, yes that's right, not a single race, Richard Burton took out the Belgian OK Dinghy championship hosted by the Koninklijke Liberty Yacht Club on the Galgenweel in Antwerp over the weekend of 10 and 11 September. Greg Wilcox took second place with Robert Deaves in third.

Always a hugely popular end of season event, this year the Belgian championship attracted visitors from Netherlands, Germany, France, New Zealand and the UK, to join the Belgian fleet for a bumper turnout of 40 boats. The Galgenweel is only 40 hectares in size and located in the centre of Antwerp, making for the close and interesting racing.

Saturday involved a gargantuan amount of sailing with four races sailed in very hot and sunny conditions in a shifty 8-12 knots that meant it was never over until it was over with many comebacks, drops and funny situations that kept much of the fleet entertained, laughing or cursing the wind.

Fortunately the club bar was very close to the finish line, so after each race there was second race to gather some cooling liquid refreshment. The committee boat brought a not insignificant quantity of empty bottles back to shore at the end of the day.

So what of the racing? Each race was a double Olympic course with five upwind legs, so the gathered fleet had 20 chances to get it right or get it to wrong.

Ralf Mackmann showed his rear end to the fleet in first race to record an impressive victory and set the scene for the day, with the beats using almost the entire length of the lake. Dave Bourne then took the second race after a close battle with Burton as the fleet started to learn the vagaries of the lake. Sometimes the right was paying and sometimes the left, but only if you went far enough... nearly to the club bar in fact.

Simon Cox used that knowledge well in the third race keeping closer to the club bar than anyone else, but Mackmann had other ideas on the right and just found enough good shifts and pressure to win his second race. Wilcox made the best of the final race leading most of the way but fighting off strong challenges from Bourne and Stephan Veldman.

The sailors returned to shore tired, happy, and some slightly worse for wear. Overnight, Burton led from Mackmann and Bourne, with the top four sailors separated by just one point.

The evening festivities soon commenced because it was already early in the evening. A lavish barbecue with free beer lasted until the small hours with various sailors cooling off in the Galgenweel while attached to wheeled objects such as shopping trolleys and skateboards. The assembled OK fanatics also celebrated Rod Andrew's 70th birthday, who still occasionally popped up in the leading bunch in the water in his antique wooden OK with its wooden rig. He had generously supplied the event with enough specially branded bottles of wine to keep the thirsty sailors occupied until breakfast. Breakfast was part of the hospitality package and served when everyone returned to consciousness, although in some cases it was hard to tell the difference.

Sunday's forecast was always looking doubtful but a light wind did appear on time from the grey skies. In race five, Deaves emerged from the middle to lead round the top and apart from a little attention from Mackmann on the first reach sailed away to a huge lead and an easy win.

An attempt was made for the sixth race but then the wind started its games and there was a long delay while the fleet waited for the wind to die. Die it did but the sixth race eventually got away and again Deaves led round the top mark to extend on the fleet. As the wind further deteriorated the course was shortened on the second triangle and the fleet sent ashore with the last race not sailed. The second win for Deaves moved him up to third overall.

Burton may have spent the morning regretting his activities of the night before but did he recover from some challenging situations to do just enough to win his first ever national title, albeit in the wrong country. Wilcox made fewer mistakes than Bourne, Mackmann or Veldman to take second place.

The event ended with prizes for everyone, ironically, after the previous night's activities, alcohol and towels, along with promises to return next year to one of the best-organised events and most hospitable clubs on the European OK Dinghy circuit.

Overall Results: (40 entries)

1 GBR 17, Richard Burton, 14pts
2 NZL 544, Greg Wilcox, 15pts
3 GBR 2156, Robert Deaves, 17pts
4 GER 800, Ralf Mackmann, 19pts
5 NED 663, Stephan Velman, 24pts
6 GBR 2183, David Bourne, 30pts
7 GER 737, Christian Heinze, 40pts
8 BEL 220, Ronny Poelman, 42pts
9 GER 790, Torsten Schmidt, 43pts
10 GBR 2120, Simon Cox, 46pts

Related Articles

OK Dinghy Europeans overall
Fredrik Lööf successfully defends title Fredrik Lööf, from Sweden, has secured his second successive OK Dinghy European title in Kiel with a race to spare after winning the first race of the day on the final day on Tuesday. Posted on 25 Jun
Kiel Week day 4
Hunger quenches his thirst for a 22nd title The international classes concluded the first half of Kiel Week today, with a German legend winning the 505 title after a few years in the wilderness. It was searingly hot in Kiel-Schilksee today, with temperatures touching over 30 degrees. Posted on 25 Jun
Kiel Week day 3
Lining up for some tense showdowns Germany's world-famous regatta has been delivering some sensational sailing conditions this week, as the international classes complete their penultimate day of competition. Posted on 24 Jun
OK Dinghy Europeans day 3
Fredrik Lööf closing in on title defence After three more races at the OK Dinghy European Championship at Kieler Woche, Fredrik Lööf, from Sweden, is now one race away from defending the title he first won last year. Posted on 24 Jun
Kiel Week day 2
75 races in dream-like conditions Kiel Week probably needs to hold back, otherwise it might be running out of superlatives. After the perfect Saturday, a Sunday of champagne sailing did follow. And this trend is supposed to go on. Posted on 24 Jun
OK Dinghy Europeans day 2
Lebrun and Lööf take wins on the second day in Kiel After an epic second day at the 2019 OK Dinghy European Championship at Kieler Woche, Fredrik Lööf, from Sweden, extends his lead with a 2-1-1, while Jan Kurfeld, from Germany is six points back in second. Posted on 24 Jun
Kiel Week 2019 day 1
Lööf dominating OK, Hunger & Jess leading in the 505s Sun in Kiel, sparkling water and a light breeze from the East: The 125th anniversary edition of the Kiel Week did present itself with this summer atmosphere for the first start and did cause shining eyes of the organizers. Posted on 23 Jun
OK Dinghy Europeans day 1
Fredrik Lööf takes early lead in title defence at Kiel Defending champion, Fredrik Lööf, from Sweden, opened the 2019 OK Dinghy European Championship with a fifth and a race win to lead the 91 boat fleet after the opening day in Kiel, Germany. Posted on 23 Jun
OK Dinghy Europeans preview
This year the competition will be even tougher than usual Nearly one hundred OK Dinghies from ten countries are descending on Kiel for the 2019 OK Dinghy European Championship, which is being sailed as part of the 125th Kieler Woche. Posted on 21 Jun
Kiel Week: OK European Championship
2.4mR: Together for inclusion - cooperation with World Sailing - two in one sweep? For the start of the Aalregatta, the Welcome Race and the Kiel Cup, there will be also some former ocean racers, 15 catamarans and trimarans as well as the ClubSwan 50 yachts, that cannot be overlooked, among the 150 yachts on the inner fjord in Kiel. Posted on 18 Jun