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Symonite OK Worlds: World Youth Champion makes his move - Day 2

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/NZ 11 Feb 14:23 GMT 12 February 2019
Dan Slater - Day 2 - 2019 Symonite OK World Championship, Wakatere BC - February 11, 2019 © Richard Gladwell

After a two hour postponement, the classic Takapuna offshore breeze arrived for Day 2 of the Symonite OK World Championships.

In complete contrast to the opening day of the regatta, two races were sailed and both got away to clear starts on the first at starting.

Sailing in very bright sunshine and a breeze which varied between 12-15kts, and with quite a heavy swell coming in from the sea, the course required hard work and clear thinking and a bit of luck.

Racing was close - evidenced by the leaderboard which shows three sailors tied on four points - now that a discard race is permitted.

Tow of those on top of the points table are World Youth Champions - Dan Slater who won the 1994 Youth Worlds in the Laser class. He is joined by the current World Youth Champion, Josh Armit, who won his title sailing the Laser Radial class.

Armit comes from a well-pedigreed sailing family. His father Leith is a four times World Champion in the OK Dinghy - placing second in his first worlds at the age of 17yrs. His grandfather Tony was the first New Zealander to circumnavigate the world.

Today was the time for current World Youth Champion, fresh back from an indifferent Sailing World Cup regatta in Miami, to make his move if he is to have a serious tilt at winning his first Open World title.

In the first race, Armit got a break, on the reach by carrying a puff through, hit the lead and slowly extended for perhaps the biggest winning margin of the series so far.

In the second race of the day, he was back in the in the lead group of the fleet but played the waiting game, and had his patience rewarded when three competitors got picked up for manual propulsion indiscretions and were either penalised with penalty turns, or in the case of former Laser and Star class sailor Rohan Lord had to withdraw from the race for a second infringement.

The course was dominated by wind bends - with one on the Takapuna side and the other on the Milford/Castor Bay side, with the sailors having to make a careful choice as they headed for the windward mark, laid off Black Rock - in between the two wind bends.

The common mistake was to take the Castor Bay side, which was the lift that kept giving as they came into the windward mark, causing most to over stand the mark.

Those who came in from the Takapuna side looked very good initially, but then had to sail a careful course to be able to make the mark.

"You had to sail to the pressure, and if you didn't overlay the top mark you got screwed by the others coming over the top of you," Dan Slater reflected after the race. "You had to pick a side and work it."

Of the top three, Slater has been the most consistent with three-second places, the other two Armit and Andrew Phillips are both dropping double-digit places. Were it not for the discard race - which has come in rather early in the series, Slater would have a 10pt lead from Steve McDowell (Worser Bay, Wellington).

New Zealanders hold nine of the top ten places overall. Only Olympic Gold and twice Bronze medalist Freddie Loof (SWE) breaks up the Kiwi party sitting in fourth place overall. Olympic Gold and Silver medalist and America's Cup veteran, Rod Davis is the top Masters sailor holding eighth place overall.

Two more races will be sailed tomorrow, in the series which is now one race behind schedule.

For full results click here

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