Please select your home edition
Edition app (top)
Product Feature
Harken 16mm Cheek Block - 416
Harken 16mm Cheek Block - 416
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine

Full racing risks
New for old cover

Symonite OK Worlds: Home advantage helps Slater to world title

by Michael Brown, Yachting NZ 17 Feb 2019 07:44 GMT 17 February 2019
Dan Slater directs the traffic just before the wing mark - Day 4 - Symonite World OK Championships - February 2019 - Wakatere Boating Club © Richard Gladwell

Dan Slater learned to sail off the waters of Auckland's East Coast Bays and that was a big reason why he won the Symonite OK Dinghy world championships on Friday.

When competitors had to tackle tricky conditions, and there were plenty of those moments over the five days of racing, Slater invariably put himself in the right place.

It meant the three-time Olympian went into Friday's final two races with a healthy 11-point lead and the luxury of a fourth-placed finish as his drop and it came in handy.

Slater was 24th and 21st in Friday's two races to finish four points ahead of Sweden's Fredrik Loof, with youth world champion Josh Armit, who won the final race, a further three points back in third.

Slater's victory was probably more comfortable than the finishing margin might indicate.

"I felt quite comfortable all day and I knew in that last race it was just a case of staying with my main rivals, and they were right next to me," the 42-year-old said. "My only fear was if they attacked me at the start and then went on to win the race and I had to play catch-up but that didn't eventuate.

"It's been a lot of fun. I was probably underprepared but did the things that were important and just sailed with a clear head. When you do that, you generally do the right things. And I was on my home patch. The days that were really tricky, I felt quite comfortable."

Olivia Christie, who is Olympic campaigning in the Laser Radial, was the highest-placed female in the 111-boat fleet, finishing 50th overall. She didn't know a lot of the people she races against but admitted it was probably a good thing given the fleet was littered with former Olympians, world champions and America's Cup sailors.

"I don't really know all the names so I wasn't really intimidated but I probably would have been if I knew who they were," she said.

"It's been really interesting learning how to sail the OK. It's also the biggest fleet I have ever sailed in so it has been a really good learning experience. It's definitely given me some good practice for sailing the Radial in big fleets later this year."

The tall stories had already started as competitors washed down their boats and prepared for tonight's dinner and prizegiving. One of the features of the OK class is the social element and Wakatere Boating Club commodore Simon Probert, who was also competing, was sad the event was coming to an end.

"In many ways, it was the most classic OK worlds it could be," he said. "It was fun, sunny, there were heaps of boats and we had fantastic support from all the sponsors, volunteers and the club. It was great fun over the two weeks [which included the New Zealand championships]."

Slater missed the national championships because of other commitments but loved getting back on the race track with some familiar faces.

"It was great to sail against the guys I sailed against over the years, like Freddie and Rohan Lord," he said. "We have gone through the ranks and done Olympic campaigns against each other. it's bloody good fun to sail against those guys again and it does feel a bit like the old days.

"Then you have Josh coming through the ranks, who is a gifted 17-year-old. I thought he was going to be the one to beat because he's fitter than all of us, slicker than all of us and has been sailing six days a week for the last three years. Probably a little bit of experience came through."

The next OK Dinghy world championships will be in Sweden and Slater admits he might be tempted "if all the stars align". It will be a different proposition, however, because he won't be able to rely on home advantage.

Results and standings after the final day of the OK Dinghy World Championships sailed at the Wakatere Boating Club Friday (112 boats):

1st: Dan Slater (NZL) 2 2 2 1 2 3 4 (24) 21 - 37 points
2nd: Fredrik Loof (SWE) 4 10 4 9 1 2 3 8 (19) - 41 pts
3rd: Josh Armit (NZL) (19) 1 3 6 6 7 8 12 1 - 44 pts

First veteran: Dan Slater (NZL)
First open: Luke O'Connell (NZL)
First junior: Josh Armit (NZL)
First master: Rod Davis (NZL)
First grand master: Bob Buchanan (AUS)
First junior woman: Olivia Christie (NZL)
First veteran woman: Elizabeth Williams (AUS)

Full results click here

Related Articles

Happy Hour with Mateusz Kusznierewicz
Stretch & Stirfry chat with the Olympic champion and Star Sailors League pioneer Becoming an Olympic Champion at 21yrs old, a brief Polish history lesson, the Star Sailors League and Stirfry's language skills all come under close scrutiny as the lads chat with Mateusz Kusznierewicz. Posted on 7 Jul
New OK Dinghy class rules published
The 2020 changes that everyone needs to note Following the email vote at the end of 2019, the 2020 edition of the Class Rules has been published and is now available on the World Sailing website. Posted on 11 May
OK Dinghy Worlds schedule gets reset
A pragmatic approach that tries to find a balance between realism and hope Event organisers and class associations worldwide are facing huge challenges of not only deciding whether to run events this year because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also deciding how best to reschedule them to a later date. Posted on 28 Apr
Bill Bell - Long time OK and Finn sailor dies
Quietly spoken, but always considered, Bill Bell was a great friend to many sailors across the world The sailing world has lost a great friend. Quietly spoken, but always considered, Bill Bell was a great friend to many sailors across the world and will be sorely missed. Posted on 11 Apr
Where there's a will there's a way
The past fortnight has proved that sailors are a resourceful bunch If there's one thing that the past fortnight has proved, it's that sailors are a resourceful bunch. The vast majority of the sailing world can't get out on the water, but it certainly doesn't mean we're idle. Posted on 5 Apr
Restoring a very early wooden OK dinghy
Purchased free with a cheap trailer, and turned into an unexpected project Our series of ebay restorations continues, but this time only £50 was spent, or was that actually £0? Rob Efans tells us the story... Posted on 5 Apr
Statement from the OK Dinghy Class
On the situation with COVID-19 and its events schedule This is not the year we all planned. Due to the worsening situation with COVID-19 we are seeing events cancelled worldwide, therefore the OK Dinghy International Association Executive Committee decided to be pro-active and make some tough decisions. Posted on 3 Apr
OK Dinghy World Rankings
Thomas Hansson-Mild stays on top Thomas Hansson-Mild, from Sweden, stays at the top of the first OK Dinghy World Ranking list of the year, the third list in a row that the 2009 World Champion tops the list, after reaching the number one spot in July 2019 for the first time ever. Posted on 27 Mar
Hamble Warming Pan 2020 welcomes OKs
For their rescheduled Winter Championship on 29th March Hamble River Sailing Club is delighted to welcome the OK class to the 58th Hamble Warming Pan open meeting for their rescheduled Winter Championship. Posted on 12 Mar
OK dinghy class launch Euro League
The series will start at the ever-popular Spring Cup in Medemblik In response to the rapid growth of the OK Dinghy class in recent years, and calls for a coordinated European circuit, the International OK Dinghy Association has launched the 2020 OK Euro League. Posted on 10 Mar