30 & 31 January 2016, WBBC, Wellington
By Bob Uppindown, BS Sports Publishing
The 2016 instalment of the OK class “Hurricane Classic” was run as per tradition by Worser Bay Boating Club in Wellington, New Zealand over the weekend of 30th & 31st January 2016. Thirteen OK sailors from Auckland, Napier and Wellington competed in seven closely fought races over the two days in a moderate to strong southerly breeze.
Races 1 and 2 were won by Wakatere BC’s Ben Morrison of Auckland, who was chased hard by 3-time national champion and local hero Luke O’Connell. It paid to work the right hand side of the course in both races as the Southerly continued to build through the course of the morning and fill in across the Bay, and before the outgoing tide began to build on the lefthand side of the course.
By the time race 3 started the tide was running hard out in the shipping lane, and left was the place to be. Morrison took an early lead but sailed into a lull on the flat run, which O’Connell capitalised on to take a much-needed bullet in a photo finish from Mark Perrow, with Morrison 3rd. Race four was the windiest race of the day with gusts now over 20 knots and Russell Wood came to the fore, steaming up the first beat and leading at Mark 1. Morrison passed Wood on the second reach and led the rest of the race to takeanother bullet, and the Tiki for Day 1, with Wood finishing Race 4 a close second and O’Connell finishing strongly in 3rd.
Overnight Morrison held a 2 point lead from O’Connell, with Perrow in 3rd.
Day 2 started with a slightly lighter southerly than the previous morning and, race 5 was started in approximately 12 knots. Luke O’Connell made his intentions clear taking a solid win, while Morrison fought back from mid-fleet to take 2ndahead of [ ] in 3rd. In Race 6, the breeze began to build and Wood led around the first mark with Morrison close behind. The two breeze merchants then engaged in a close battle down the reaches, allowing O’Connell and Steve McDowell to blast through unopposed and sail away from the fleet, O’Connell establishing a big lead and taking another win in race six from Steve McDowell in 2nd and Mark Perrow in 3rd. Again the breeze had built through the course of the morning and the final race was to prove the windiest of the regatta.
Going into the final race O’Connell had 7 points after a drop, with Morrison on 8 points meaning the regatta would probably be decided by the final race. The breeze built to over 20 knots and, just prior to the start, Race Officer (and sadist) Paul Davies changed to a longer three lap course (triangle, windward-leeward, triangle) just to make things interesting. Local OK stalwart Paul Rhodes showed some of his old magic to lead around the first top mark from Perrow, with both O’Connell and Morrison back in the pack. Perrow passed Rhodes on the first reach and opened up a good lead for the next lap, until a capsize on the flat run put him out of contention. The next five boats (Rhodes, O’Connell, McDowell, Morrison and Wood) were closely bunched at the bottom of the run and the wind direction was such that a gybe right at the bottom onto a beat was required – all managed to stay upright through the gybe but it was far from pretty. The racing was hammer and tongs all the way up the following beat, and at the top mark, with two reaches and a short beat left to sail, Wood led followed by Rhodes, Morrison, McDowell and O’Connell in that order. Morrison passed Rhodes on the first reach and Wood on the second, to take the lead with around 100m to the bottom mark – in the meantime, O’Connell sailed incredibly down the reaches to charge into 2nd just before the final mark, only to go straight into a mark-room altercation with Morrison, which resulted in O’Connell re-rounding the mark. Morrison still had to complete the win to take the contest, and managed to just hold off a hard-charging McDowell, and Wood, to take the race win and with it the regatta.
A feature of the weekend was close racing throughout the fleet, with lead changes in most races and with all boats typically finishing within three or so minutes of the winner.
The next event on the NZOK Tour is Sail Auckland at Murrays Bay on Auckland’s North Shore on 24 & 25 February, followed by the OK Interdominion Championships at Manly, Whangaparoa (north of Auckland) over Easter. Two containers full of OKs are expected from Australia, so it should be a great contest.
Full results are as follows:
|Place||Name||Sail No.||Race 1||Race 2||Race 3||Race 4||Race 5||Race 6||Race 7||Total||Net|
|1||Ben Morrison (WBC)||NZL560||1||1||3||1||2||(4)||1||13||9|
|2||Luke O’Connell (WBBC)||NZL546||2||2||1||3||1||1||(4)||14||10|
|3||Steve McDowell (WBC)||NZL545||(5)||4||4||4||4||2||2||25||20|
|4||Mark Perrow (WBC)||NZL551||4||3||2||5||7||3||(14)||38||24|
|5||Paul Rhodes (WBBC)||NZL557||(7)||5||5||6||3||6||3||35||28|
|6||Russell Wood (WBC)||NZL526||3||6||(10)||2||10||5||5||41||31|
|8||Rod Davis (WBC)||NZL561||(10)||7||7||8||8||7||9||56||46|
|9||Eric Rone (WBC)||USA536||6||(14)||11||14||6||9||7||67||53|
|10||Chris Fenwick (NSC)||NZL509||14||10||8||12||9||8||11||72||58|
|11||Adrian Coulthard (NSC)||NZL531||9||9||12||9||11||12||8||70||58|
|12||Chris Devine (NSC)||NZL548||14||11||13||11||13||11||10||83||69|
© BS Sports Publishing 2016