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Bo Petersen wins OK Dinghy European title after dramatic final day in Bandol

by Robert Deaves 1 Oct 18:34 BST 27 September - 1 October 2022
Bo Petersen - 2022 OK Dinghy European Championship © Robert Deaves

Bo Petersen has won his third OK Dinghy European Championship at Société Nautique de Bandol, France, after one final race was sailed on Saturday in Bandol. Stefan de Vries takes the silver while race winner Valerian Lebrun takes the bronze.

It has been a tough event with first a mistral, and then strong winds for the rest of the week, bringing colder than expected conditions, but it is still Bandol and a very pleasant place to be. Petersen never finished worse than third in an 80 boat fleet, which is impressive, but the top four boats were a level apart from the rest of the fleet and it was very tight at the top.

The final race was sailed in 18-22 knots and big waves with a close battle between de Vries and Petersen, who started the day on level points. De Vries had a good lead at the top, but Petersen was ahead at the bottom mark. De Vries passed him up the final beat to cross in second behind Lebrun and take the title. However de Vries was scored UFD for being over the line at the start, handing the title to Petersen.

It was a dramatic end to what has been an epic week in Bandol. With the wind increasing and the forecast for much, much more wind, further racing was abandoned for the day.

Petersen said, "I think the word is lucky. I have been struggling a lot for this tournament and today I was lucky, and Stefan was unlucky, but from the beginning it was nice coming back to Bandol. I was really looking forward all year just to be down here with the sunshine and good food, but the mistral came in and brought some cold wind as well. So I am looking forward to next year. Hopefully we will have a good week."

He ended with an invitation to other sailors, "To all the dinghy sailors in the world, if you feel a little bored and want to sail a very good dinghy, please join us in the OK Dinghy class. It's a good class socially and some good guys sailing on the water, so very good racing."

At the epic prize-giving following an absolutely epic event in the incomparably epic Bandol, OKDIA Vice President Pontus Gäbel said, "We all knew this event would epic, but none of us expected how epic it would turn out to be."

In 2023 the class has another great series of events including the Spring Cup in Medemblik, the world championship in Lyme Regis in the UK, the European Championship at Arco on Lake Garda, and before returning to Bandol with the Autumn Trophy in September.

It's all going to be simply OK.

Overall Results: (top ten, 7 races)

1. DEN 21 Bo PETERSEN 11pts
2. NED 6 Stefan DE VRIES 14pts
3. FRA 11 Valerian LEBRUN 16pts
4. GBR 223 Nick CRAIG 16pts
5. FRA 75 Laurent HAY 34pts
6. GBR 1 Russel CLARK 35pts
7. GBR 11 Andy DAVIS 42pts
8. GER 77 Sonke BEHRENS 55pts
9. NZL 599 Greg WILCOX 56pts
10. NZL 573 Luke GOWER 61pts

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