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Sundrenched Quiberon heralds great start to OK Dinghy World Championship

The European heat wave shows no sign of letting up as more than 100 OK Dinghy sailors made their final preparations for the start of the 2016 OK Dinghy World Championship, which was opened today in sunny Saint-Pierre Quiberon.

The opening ceremony was held outside at the La Société des Régates de Saint Pierre Quiberon (SPRP), which is hosting the event over the next six days, though the racing is being run from the local sailing school, the Ecole Nationale de Voile et des Sports Nautiques (ENVSN), just a short walk away.

Tonight the event was declared open before the sailors were treated to a champagne reception overlooking the inviting, blue waters of Quiberon Bay. Not only did the sun shine on the competitors at the opening ceremony, but sailors have been treated to fabulous sailing conditions over the past few days, at what is a great venue for a championship.

Earlier in the day the invitation race was a great pre-cursor to what is stacking up to be a vintage championship for the class. The fleet set out in very light winds and cloudy skies, but after arriving on the course area the skies cleared and a 8-12 knot sea breeze arrived. Tim Davies (AUS) led at the top mark, but the first group went to the wrong leeward mark to let Bo Petersen (DEN), Jim Hunt (GBR) and Greg Wilcox (NZL) into the lead. They battled for the remainder of the race, but then skipped the finish line to let he defending world champion André Budzien (GER) take the bullet and the invitation race trophy.

He looked forward to the week ahead. “I think it will be a really great championship. The weather is fine so far. It’s a little bit far from our home so we took two days to get here, but now we are here, we are relaxed and it’s perfect.”

“The area is really nice with the beach, nice restaurants, and lots of water sports, but we also have to visit the other side on the Atlantic, if we have some time.”

“I think Quiberon is a very nice place and the race organisation so far looks very good. If we have sunshine then the sea breeze will come and the racing will be great. I also think the measurement we did with self-checking is the right way to go.”

For the past two years the class has not only been growing, but had also been evolving and developing, going in new directions and trying new things to try and increase everyone’s enjoyment of OK Dinghy sailing and to bring even more sailors into the class.

At the class AGM on Saturday night the members introduced a number of changes, including approving the adoption of new standard class rules (SCR) written to ERS standards. The work of the Technical Committee on this important undertaking will conclude this autumn for adoption by the start of 2017. It will be a big step forward for the class and has been welcomed by members worldwide. The meeting also voted for a swathe of rule changes, mainly clarifications and tightening of existing rules to maintain the one-design nature of the class and to limit expensive developments in the future.

In parallel, the Executive has developed a new Event Manual for organisers, to both assist in event management, but also to maintain and improve the quality of services to sailors. As the number and standard of sailors improves, so does the expectation of event and race management. The Event Manual addresses almost all aspects of running an OKDIA major championship from making a bid to running the races.

The meeting also voted for the 2020 World Championship to be held at Marstrand, Sweden. Highlighting the current good health of the class, for the first time in many years there were two proposals to host the event, with unfortunately Hayling Island SC in the UK missing out this time.

In addition, two new members were elected to the international Executive Committee, bringing in new skills and enthusiasm as the group continues to promote and develop what the class has to offer. Peter Robinson (AUS) and Jonas Börjesson (SWE) join the Executive, while Robert Deaves (GBR) returns as class secretary.

The Australian President Mark Jackson (AUS) also acknowledged the huge amount help the Australian team had received from many people across Europe after their container got delayed in the Far East and they had to find charter boats to be able to sail this week. In all, 11 boats were found from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France and the UK. OKDIA President Bo Teglers (DEN) said, “It makes me very proud to be an OK sailor when we are able to ensure that they can participate. This is what defines us as a class.”

Racing in Quiberon is scheduled to begin at 13.00 on Monday with two races scheduled each day until Friday.

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