Danish sailors take top four places during the fifth race of the OK world championship

The seventh race of the 2005 OK World Championship in Skaelskor, Denmark was a real Danish benefit with four home boats leading the fleet across the finish line. Series leader Nick Craig (GBR) finished fifth just ahead of his main rivals Jonus Quist (SWE) and Greg Wilcox (NZL).

Sailors were today greeted by a complete change of scenery with the wind having clocked 180 degrees overnight to come off the shore, bringing with it the pleasant smell of the uncovered rocks and seaweed.

With the most consistent breeze of the week so far, the fleet got away first time. Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) started at the pin end with Peter Wibro (DEN) and Mogens Johansen (DEN). Half way up the first beat it was clear that the left hand side was favoured with Johansen sailing the furthest left before tacking.

Those who did sail to the left hand corner had a fine view of the Danish Crown Prince’s yacht, which was in attendance for the Dragon invitational trophy being sailed just downwind of the OK course area.

At the first mark Johansen led from Wibro, Lindhardtsen and Robert Deaves (GBR). The chasing pack was led by Ulf Brandt (DEN). The series leaders were all buried in the mid teens. Nothing much happened on the offwind legs and the following beat was much the same with the four leading boats exchanging places until the top mark again. Wibro just slipped round ahead, with Brandt still in fifth.

Again the run was uneventful, except that Nick Craig (GBR) and Jonus Quist (SWE) were pulling ever closer to the front. Round the bottom mark Brandt carried on to the right while the rest tacked off to the left again. When the fleet met, he was well ahead but tried it again and fell foul of a big left shift which left all four Danes within metres of each other just 200 metres from the finish. Deaves dropped three places when he caught some weed, which let Craig and Quist through.

At the finish Johansen pipped Lindhardtsen by a few metres as they both had to bear away having overstood the finish. Lindhardtsen related: “I should have tacked earlier and then I might have won, but my body didn’t do what my brain was telling it to!” Two seconds later Wibro and Brandt finished, with Craig, Quist and Deaves just a few second behind them.

For Johansen this is a dream come true. This 55-year-old has been sailing OKs for 25 years and has never really proved himself. Earlier this year he bought himself a new Hylander hull and got some winter coaching with AC sailor Michael Hestbæk. In Denmark the Mogens phenomenon, as it has become known, has inspired other to copy his boat setup but no one can match his light weather downwind speed, although at just 81 kg, in a breeze he admits to having problems keeping up with the leaders.

With two of the top four having high scoring races today, Craig’s position at the top is extended to 12 points on Quist and 26 on Wilcox in third. Tomorrow’s forecast is for thunderstorms and torrential rain, which could add something different to the mix.