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OK Dinghy International Regatta on Lake Garda, Italy - Day 1

by Robert Deaves 13 Jul 05:26 BST 12-15 July 2021
2021 OK Dinghy International Regatta - Day 1 © Circolo Vela Arco

The OK Dinghy fleet has returned to Lake Garda, in Italy, for the first time in living memory for an international regatta, a replacement for the 2021 World Championship, cancelled some five weeks ago. After a first day in atypical Garda conditions, Valérian Lebrun, from France, leads from Denmark's Bo Petersen and Soenke Behrens, from Germany, after they each won a race.

Monday should have marked the start of the 2021 OK Dinghy World Championship at Circolo Vela Arco, but it wasn't to be. While many classes have struggled with decisions about whether to proceed with events or take the wretched decision to cancel, the OK Dinghy class sought the opinion of its members, and with 45 per cent saying cancel, the decision was made. Instead OKDIA has worked with CVA to host an international regatta that has attracted 34 boats from across Europe. It's a long way short of the 120-150 Europeans expected for the World Championship, but for those that made the effort, boy, do they love sailing on Garda.

The conditions for the first day were not exactly as expected. The wind was in the SSE, and not quite an Ora, down to 8-10 knots at times and up to 15-20 knots in the gusts.

The first start got away cleanly. Behrens takes up the story.

"The right end was favoured and the best option was going to the left side, waiting for the shift and make the whole way up to the first mark."

He rounded first from Malte Pedersen, from Denmark, and Greg Wilcox, from New Zealand, in second and third.

"I increased my lead on the runs and I had a really good second beat and finished first with a big lead. Greg told me to say that I was so far in front that I had no idea what is going on behind me. Lucky punch."

In Race 2, most of the fleet went to the left as far as possible. This time Lebrun and Petersen led the fleet. Petersen kept more to the middle and the left side was not as much favoured as expected.

Behrens said, "I was third followed by the other French guy [Yann Vilein]. Valérian seems to be the quickest upwind. The beats were shiftier, as expected and the wind was never as consistent as supposed for Garda. On the run Bo risked to much with the centreboard up as far as possible and capsized in a puff. But he was far enough in front to finish second."

Lebrun took the gun with Pawel Pawlaczyk, from Poland, third.

The last race started in less wind but still hiking conditions, though it was getting unstable and the left wasn't favoured as in the other races. Still Petersen and Lebrun led the fleet with Mogens Johansen, from Denmark, third.

The first four boats increased their lead on the reaches but that wasn't a guarantee to keep the lead. The conditions got tricky and the shifts and puffs were very unstable and became quite unpredictable.

At the end everything stayed the same though. Petersen took the gun with Lebrun second and Johansen third.

Lebrun, who placed second at the 2019 European Championship, had the best day with a 2,1,2, but double European Champion, Petersen is just one point behind with a 3,2,1. Behrens took a fifth in the final race to sit in third overnight.

With the forecast for a big change overnight, bringing rain and storms, an earlier start time has been set for 0800 on Tuesday.

Racing continues until Thursday.

Results after Day 1

1 FRA 11 Valérian Lebrun 5pts
2 DEN 21 Bo Petersen Man 6pts
3 GER 77 Soenke Behrens 10pts
4 POL 14 Pawel Pawlaczyk 17pts
5 NZL 599 Greg Wilcox 17pts
6 DEN 1565 Mogens Johansen 24pts
7 GER 7 Andreas Pich 26pts
8 FRA 1859 Yann Vilein 26pts
9 GER 852 Michael Nissen 30pts
10 GER 75 Dirk Dame 31pts

Full results available here.

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