The final day of the Toshiba OK Dinghy Australian and Interdominion Champs took place today 10/2/06
The final race of the 2006 Toshiba OK Dinghy Australian and Interdominion Championships was sailed in the lightest winds of the week, with large shifts coming through from both sides of the course. The overall title was already decided, but the other medal positions and top ten were wide open. Second and third placed overnight Russell Wood (NZL) and Nick Craig (GBR) were tied on 17 points with Andre Blasse (AUS) just four behind them, while just nine points separated fifth to ninth.
The wind had turned southerly again and the lighter winds at Force 2-3 also brought the shiftiest conditions of the week. While the left seemed favoured most of the time, the right often looked good, bringing boats through the fleet. Those who opted for the middle took a gamble on finding one of the many large holes in the wind.
Both Craig and Wood started near the pin end and headed left, but Mark Williams (AUS) started the near committee boat and found a large shift to cross the fleet and lead round the first mark. He gradually extended his lead throughout the race to win by a considerable margin.
Behind him the battle for second place was turning into an epic. Wood rounded the first mark second after reaching in from the left side of the course in a large shift. Craig did the same and rounding about 12th. On the succeeding legs Craig gradually pulled through the boats to lead Wood round the final leeward mark. The final beat turned into a gruelling tacking dual between the two, with Craig looking to be in charge. However, within sight of the finish line he dropped his mainsheet and capsized to windward to let Wood through to take second overall. Mark Perrow (NZL) took advantage to finish third in the race with Andre Blasse in fourth. Craig finally finished fifth to make sure of third overall.
Roger Blasse finished in 9th place, but had already won the Australian Nationals for the 10th time and the Interdominions for the 4th time. The TOSHIBA OK Dinghy World Championships starts on Monday with the measurement of boats taking place over the weekend, allowing the sailors a well-deserved rest.