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GJW Direct 2020

OK Dinghy International Regatta on Lake Garda, Italy - Overall

by Robert Deaves 15 Jul 19:22 BST 12-15 July 2021
The top three battling it out on the final day of the 2021 OK Dinghy International Regatta © Emilio Santinelli / Circolo Vela Arco

Valérian Lebrun, from France, secured the OK Dinghy International Regatta hosted by Circolo Vela Arco on Lake Garda, on Thursday, after two more races were sailed in an early morning northerly. Germany's Soenke Behrens won the opening race of the day to secure second overall, while Denmark's Bo Petersen took third.

Though the event was overshadowed by some unusual and inclement weather, the racing was concluded in a stiff northerly with a first start at 0830.

In Race 7 Behrens tacked away from the boat end and went right. The rest of the fleet went up the middle. But the top 3 at the top mark were from right, left and middle. Petersen capsized tacking for the top mark, while Behrens got away down the reaches and had a big lead. Jan Dietmar Dellas, from Germany, dropped from second to fourth while Lebrun got through to second and Pavel Pawlaczyk was third, with New Zealand's Greg Wilcox fourth to keep his podium chances alive.

The final race was close at the first mark with Lebrun and Petersen leading, and Behrens and Wilcox leading the chase. It stayed that way the rest of the race with Lebrun getting away a bit. Petersen took an easy second to secure the bronze, while Behrens beat Wilcox by half a boatlength.

Lebrun said, "Once again we had to go out pretty early. And we had rain and cold conditions so it was hard to keep motivated. The wind was stronger than the other days in both races and race committee hesitated before starting the final race.

"But overall, we had eight good races, which is very good for the class and I think for everyone who came here. It was very good to see everyone again and talk together. I think a lot of people were glad to meet each other again, so I was happy I be here even if it was a long way from France.

"It was a very good opportunity to race against some very good sailors, and try a new rig and enjoy the sailing conditions. Not sure when the next reatta will be but I am happy we did this one."

Fourth placed Wilcox commented, "It was a nice day's sailing. Two reasonably quick races, good breeze, plenty of windshifts, quite hard work, but good fun actually.

"I had a really nice last race with Soenke. We sailed the whole race about a boatlength apart and finished a bit less than a boatlength apart, so that was nice. Good fun and interesting to see some people capsizing.

"We owe a lot of thanks to the Circolo Vela Arco for putting on a great event for us. Altogether it was a pretty good regatta and everyone is very happy they came. I think the race committee did a great job, the club is really nice and we should definitely come back here."

It has been a long held desire of the OK Dinghy class to have events on Lake Garda so many hope this will be the first of many. The OK Dinghy class was active in Italy some 30-40 years ago, so in all likelihood the last OK Dinghy regatta on Garda was at least a generation ago, if not two. There are now a small number of OKs in Italy and it is hoped bringing the fleet to Garda will help grow more interest.

Certainly, the sailors who travelled to Garda were determined to go and have fun, and seemed to have made quiet an impression. Seeing OK Dinghies sailing on Lake Garda for the first time in a long time was quite something.

When CVA agreed to host the 2021 World Championship there was a huge enthusiasm to attend, from all over the world and it would almost certainly have been the largest world championship ever. Unfortunately, in the interests of fairness, that couldn't happen this year and that was a great disappointment to many. However it will happen in the not too distant future. The OKs will be back.

Overall Results: (top ten, 8 races)

1 FRA 11 Valerian Lebrun 10pts
2 GER 77 Soenke Behrens 17pts
3 DEN 21 Bo Petersen 25pts
4 NZL 599 Greg Wilcox 28pts
5 DEN 1565 Mogens Johansen 56pts
6 GER 852 Michael Nissen 59pts
7 GER 7 Andreas Pich 61pts
8 GER 5 Ralf Tietje 64pts
9 DEN 1577 Jørgen Holm 73pts
10 GER 75 Dirk Dame 75pts

Full results available here.

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