The penultimate day of the OK Dinghy World Championship in Quiberon threw the same challenges at the 105 sailors as the previous four days – shifty racing close under the windward shore, pin end line bias and a very tight battle for the top spots. Jim Hunt (GBR) extended his points gap at the top to 10, but Charlie Cumbley (GBR), in third, moves up to just one point behind Jørgen Svendsen (DEN), in second. The championship is heading for a very tight finish.
Race 7 got away under black flag with a pin end bias allowing those that end to tack and cross the fleet. First out was Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) and Mats Caap (SWE). Caap led around the top mark, but Hansson-Mild took the lead offwind and led to the finish to find his sail number on the black board for a black flag starting penalty, along with five others. So Caap took the win, his first world championship race win for more than 20 years. Mark Jackson (AUS) took second and with Richard Burton (GBR) also BFD, Cumbley took third.
It took three attempts to get race 8 away as the pin end became even more favoured. Seven boats were sent home under the black flag before the fleet got away. Cumbley led to the top mark and then Hunt sailed past him down the first reach and led round the second top mark. Cumbley retook the lead on the run. Cumbley said, “There was a little left hand biased track up the last beat and so I just camped on Jim and that was it. It’s nice to win a race, just a shame he didn’t get any deeper scores; he was just one behind me each race – he’s quite hard to shake off.”
Cumbley picked up the best score of the day. He explained his strategy. “Win the pin, win the race. If you don’t do that then you won’t win. I said to myself at the beginning of the day to be a bit more aggressive and try and win the pin and win a race. Funnily enough if you win the pin you stand a pretty good chance of doing that. You start the length of the start line in front of the boats the other end.”
One of the sailors, said of the day, “Same as every day, it would be nice to be further offshore, and have a fair line. The pin end was a fist fight. On one of the general recalls there must have been six boats that had a crack at being the pin end boat and each time they bailed out. Everyone was having a go and ending up camped on the boat because you literally ended up pointing at it when you sheeted in. The race officer must be a boat builder needing some work.”
Hunt has put together an amazing series, discarding a fourth after eight races. He now just needs one more good race to secure his second OK Dinghy world title, after being the first British sailor to win the title back in 2004. Racing is scheduled to start at the earlier time of 12.00 on Friday to decide the 2016 OK Dinghy World Champion.
Results after 8 races
1 GBR 11 Jim HUNT 16
2 DEN 3 Jorgen SVENDSEN 26
3 GBR 1 Charlie CUMBLEY 27
4 SWE 2797 Mats CAAP 43
5 DEN 21 Bo PETERSEN 46
6 NZL 544 Greg WILCOX 48
7 DEN 6 Stefan MYRALF 67
8 GER 803 MARTIN v ZIMMERMANN 84
9 SWE 100 Thomas HANSSON-MILD 86
10 POL 14 Pawel PAWLACZYK 87