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OK Dinghy World Championship 2024 in Brisbane - opening ceremony & practice race

by Robert Deaves 25 Feb 10:50 GMT 26 February - 2 March 2024
Practice Race - 2024 OK Dinghy World Championship Brisbane © Robert Deaves

The largest OK Dinghy event to ever be held south of the equator is all set to proceed after 112 sailors from seven nations completed equipment inspection and registration ahead of the start of the 2024 Tan Lines OK Dinghy World Championship, which was opened Sunday evening at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, in Brisbane, Australia.

Delayed by a year because of the pandemic, the championship has been a long time in the planning. After some extreme weather in past weeks - heavy rain and high temperatures that even the locals complained about - the practice race on Sunday afternoon was sailed in a building breeze and gradually clearing skies, before the opening ceremony Sunday evening.

The saga surrounding the European containers was finally solved at the end of last week with a collective sigh of relief with both shipments cleared by midday on Friday in time for the start of equipment inspection. A huge amount of work by the locals, especially by local sailor Steve Shale, went into getting the boxes delivered and cleared, with the boats then collected by trailer and delivered to the club by the Australian sailors.

After a postponement for the practice race was signalled ashore with no wind on the race course, it was soon removed as the breeze came in. The first fleet was the most interesting and included the top 55 world ranked sailors present. In 10-12 knots, Australia's Rob McMillan led at the top, neck and neck with New Zealand's Mark Perrow and the winner of last week's Australian Championship, David Clark. With McMillan and Clark returning to shore, Australia's Roger Blasse took the lead downwind to lead round and take the win. The other group was won by New Zealand's Paul Rhodes. Rounding the top mark around 10th, he chipped away on each leg and took the lead on the second upwind to lead down to the finish. By the time the fleet hit the shore again, the breeze was gusting 25 knots.

The championship was opened Sunday evening on the lawn of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, after three days of equipment inspection registration.

Following a traditional Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony from a First Nations elder, the opening ceremony was concluded with welcomes from a host of dignitaries including Lord Major Adrian Schrinner, Commodore John Warlow, Rear Commodore Todd Anderson, Rob Brown OAM and Jo Keen, Board member from Australian Sailing.

Finally, OKDIA President Mark Jackson welcomed all the competitors and declared the world championship open.

The championship gets under way on Monday when the fleet will be split into two groups with six races scheduled over three days for the opening series, before a final series of four races. If four races are completed by the end of Wednesday, then Thursday will be a lay day. Racing is scheduled to start at 13.00 each day..

Racing runs through to Saturday 2 March.

Many more photos here

Four juniors at OK Dinghy World Championship were given the opportunity to learn from some of the greats in the class who are here in Brisbane. The line-up included five times world champion, Nick Craig, former world champions Roger Blasse and Greg Wilcox as well as Olympic medalist and America's Cup sailor Rod Davis.

At a breakfast gathering, Jonah Parry, Nelson Morse, Jackson Black and Jordan Barney had the chance to ask questions and get some valuable feedback on boat set up and race planning.

The stars talked about pre-race strategy, downwind sailing, how light weight sailors can handle the boat. Rod Davis also talked about the pathway into pro sailing. Nick and Rod also stressed the importance of learning skills in different classes and how some skills carry over and some don't but in the end they are all transferable skills. The most important point made was to make friends and have fun.

Official Notice Board including results

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