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David Clark wins Australian OK Dinghy Championship and Pre-Worlds in Brisbane

by Robert Deaves 22 Feb 07:09 GMT

The biggest international OK Dinghy fleet ever to assemble in Australia is making last minute preparations for the 2024 Tan Lines OK Dinghy World Championship, which will be opened on Sunday at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly, Brisbane.

The fleet got a taste for Waterloo Bay last week with the three-day Australian championship, with a fleet of 90 boats taking part in the nine-race series, sailed in groups of 45. With eight different race winners, the fleet got a good lesson in conditions on the bay.

The series opened with three reasonably tough races on Monday in 10-16 knots from the south-east. New Zealand's Steve McDowell took the early lead with two race wins from three races, though David Clark, from Sydney, also had two wins, while the other wins went to Mark Skelton, from Lake Macquarie, and Brett Morris, from Sydney.

Tuesday brought lighter and sunnier conditions, and Melbourne's Roger Blasse hit back with two race wins from three more races to close the gap on McDowell to 1 point going into the final day. Clark stayed in contention with another win, with Patric Mure, from Sweden, Mike Williams, from Geelong, and Britain's Andy Davis taking the other wins.

The fleet was split into gold and silver groups for the final day with a lighter, and much shiftier easterly in place, producing some high scores at the front. In the end Clark took out the Australian Championship with a 1-4-5, while early leader McDowell struggled with a 15-8-11 and Blasse dropped to third with a 25-4-12.

New Zealand's Paul Rhodes won the second race and it's worth noting that the winner of the final gold fleet race, and 21st overall, was Michal Jodlowski, from Poland, who is also the Chair of the Jury for next week's world championship.

In the silver fleet, race wins went to RQYS's Steve Shale, Germany's Ralf Tietje and Jim Dwyer, though Melbourne's Steve Wilson took the series and the Patrick Whittington Memorial Trophy.

More information, including full results, can be found on the event website here.

With the containers from Europe still not cleared, many were given local boats to sail one or more days in the Australian championship. Both containers had arrived but were not cleared in time to use the boats. Currently the British container has been released and the boats delivered to the club, while the Scandinavian container will hopefully be released in time.

Equipment inspection and registration for the world championship takes place over the next three days with the series of 10 races scheduled to start on Monday 26 February.

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