The OK fleet met at Brixham YC in Torbay for the 2018 Ovington OK National Championships from 16-19th August. While several regulars, including the 2017 Champion were not able to make the championships this year their absence was more than compensated by an influx of returning and new OK sailors. The fleet also welcomed visitors from Belgium and Poland and increased numbers of junior and ladies sailing this year including Vanessa Weedon-Jones who was benefiting from the class initiative earlier this year to offer free entry and use of the class demo boat to a junior or lady sailor new to the class
The first day saw Torbay in a boisterous but shifty mood with winds from F2 to F5 creating sparkling conditions that suited the OK perfectly. As was to be apparent throughout the event the fleet were keen to get away and it took two recalls to get the first race underway and one recall for the second race. Charlie Cumbley who was 4th at the recent World Championship in Germany showed the fleet the level of performance one would expect from such a result, leading the fleet around on both races but being chased hard by the pack including Dave Bourne, Tony Woods and Will Heritage and first race and Dave and Ian Hopwood in the second. Will from Gurnard who is a junior sailor had just finished building his boat from a bare hull shell and was only persuaded to attend at the last minute gave an indication of his potential by taking a third in the first race and a fourth in the second race.
Day two proved to be near identical in conditions to day one, but with the addition of a few big holes in race three. Despite Charlie again proving himself invincible, he was chased much harder, this time by Chris Rhodes from Exe (who is returning to the OK after decades away!) and Fergus Barnham from Snettisham, although Fergus did win the yellow jacket for ‘Dick of the Day’ by colliding with a innocently moored yacht when his rudder fell off on the way back to the slip! So after four races it was a tired but happy fleet that gathered in the clubhouse for the Class Supper and see if they could Charlie intoxicated enough to make a mistake the next day.
Unfortunately it was not to be and if anything Charlie sailed just a little faster in the bright sunshine and F3-4 and further down the fleet the drop in wind was well received by many tired legs. Again it was newcomer and Junior Will Heritage showing impressive speed and tactical ability who lead the pack behind Charlie taking a second and third in the two races, with Ian Hopwood taking a third in race five and Dave Bourne a second in race six, making for a tight battle for positions going into the final day.
It was with some trepidation that the fleet gathered for the final day of racing with the wind gusting up to 33knts in Torbay. Several decided that discretion was the better part of valour and stayed ashore while those that decided that valour was more important than discretion headed out for an invigorating day’s sailing. Charlie Cumbley once again took the first race to wrap up the championship with a rather impressive set of race wins but he very kindly sat out the final race so we could have at least one different race winner. Fergus Barnham having made sure his rudder was tied on properly took the final race win with Dave Bourne picking up his second, 2nd place of the day to finish as runner up in this year’s national championship. 3rd place overall went to Fergus after just pipping talented youngster, Will Heritage, on count back.
Impressively all the keen junior sailors completed both races with Hugo Burrows from Oxford commenting afterwards when asked if he gybed or not ‘Oh yes – I waited until I was going really fast down a wave and flipped the boom’ -simples really! As a final twist to the event the sailors were not allowed to leave the club as a trawler had brought what was believed to have been a WW2 bomb into the adjacent fish pier which resulted in part of the harbour being evacuated
Our thanks go of course to our generous sponsors, Ovington Boats, Harken, Rain and Sun, North sails, HD Sails, Birmingham Marine Services and Ceilidh Masts and Brixham YC for being fabulous hosts and the class is looking forward to the 2019 event at Abersoch
Click here to see full results