OK Dinghy class celebrates its heroes at the world championship in Poland 23/7/07

On Sunday night in Leba, Poland, at the opening ceremony of the 2007 OK Dinghy World Championship, the class unveiled its ‘Hall of Fame’ as part of the class’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

OKDIA President, Greg Wilcox (NZL) introduced the initiative by saying, “As you all know we are celebrating the 50th year of the OK Dinghy. After all that time we have decided to set up a ‘Hall of Fame’ to honour some of the greatest OK Sailors ever. Obviously there has been quite some debate over what criteria would be used to select who would be inducted, but we hope it will eventually include not only the great sailors among us but also those who have contributed in many special ways to the class we all love.”

The OK Dinghy International Association (OKDIA) decided to bestow the honour of the Hall of Fame’s first member onto long term OK Dinghy sailor Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN). Wilcox said, “We felt that the first OK sailor selected should be a person who is not only still actively sailing and who continues to encourage and inspire others within the class but also has a record that is pretty much second to none on the racecourse.”

He continued, “There is among us someone who is affectionately known as ‘the old man’, who has been sailing these great boats for 43 of those 50 years. His record of 14 top ten places in the Worlds including one World Championship title and three second places plus ten National titles is amazing considering that one of the second places was at the Worlds last year. It is not only the OK that he has had success in with 14 national Finn titles and various top ten places at Finn worlds and Europeans as well as representing Denmark at the Olympics in the Finn.”

Wilcox concluded: “His constant search for the perfect rig has been the source of some humour over the years. He continues to amaze us all with his fitness and stamina and the standard joke is that the rest of us cannot retire using old age as an excuse until he does. In the meantime we will continue to enjoy his competitive spirit on the race course.”

Lindhardtsen accepted a small memento of the occasion. In recent years he has become somewhat of a legend in the class, although he would probably be the last to admit this. The class will induct more past and present sailors into the OK Hall of Fame in the coming months.

The 2007 OK Dinghy World championships was officially opened by the Vice-President of OKDIA, Darek Kras (POL) in the presence of the Mayor of Leba. Sunday’s practice race was cancelled because of strong winds, however, it is expected to moderate by Monday afternoon in time for the first points race.

About the event

The 2007 OK Dinghy World Championship is taking place in Leba, Poland from 21-27 July. There are 118 OK taking part from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Poland and Sweden in the 10-race series. The defending Champion is Nick Craig (GBR).