Charlie Cumbley (GBR) made the best of the second day at the combined OK Dinghy European Championships and Spring Cup in Medemblik with two race wins to move into a narrow lead over Bo Petersen (DEN) and Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) with just two races to sail. Petersen won the third race of the day.
If the fleet thought Friday was cold, then Saturday in Medembik was colder still with a brief hail shower welcoming the fleet afloat before racing got underway. After an initial lull as a cloud bank went through the wind built during the day to well over 20 knots before dropping for the final race. The extreme cold and biting winds, combined with the steep Medemblik chop, led to massive attrition through the fleet as tired and cold sailors sought shelter back in the harbour.
Cumbley led race four from start to finish. Starting just down from the boat he took a long starboard tack towards a left shift to round ahead of Jørgen Lindhardtsen (DEN). The breeze dropped right off to 5-6 knots at times with huge swings in the latter half of the upwind, only returning on the second lap and strengthening further on the third upwind to set up an epic second race. Rene Sarabia Johannsen (DEN) moved up to second at the finish with Lindhardtsen crossing in third.
With the wind now up to 18-20 knots race five was marked by a huge left shift on the first beat leaving the group on the left reaching in with Jon Fish (GBR) making up for his impromptu swim in race four by leading round from Cumbley. Cumbley was in the lead by the next beat to sail away and take his second bullet of the day. Fish hung on for second while Greg Wilcox (NZL) continued his good form with a third.
In a much reduced fleet of just 29 boats Petersen led race six from start to finish, starting well clear of the group, rounding ahead of Lindhardtsen, Pawel Pawlacyk and Burton. The wind dropped off to 14-15 knots before returning for the sail back home. Richard Burton sailed another excellent race to cross second while Oliver Gronholtz (GER) picked up his best result so far with a third.
Tonight is the traditional OK dinner at Cafe Brakeboer and the sailors who braved the wintry IJsselmer today will have earned second helpings.
With two races left the championship is going down to to the wire with four boats within six points. Cumbley commented on the very close competition this weekend. “The competition in the class is vert tight. One little mistake and you get sucked into the pack. The breeze building all day made it really hard work and it was very cold out there. It was all about a clear lane off the start and getting around the top mark in the top five, and then you are in reasonable shape. But to be honest I am very tired.”
On the new format Europeans he said, “I really like the idea of having a Europeans every year instead of once every four years. The class is growing at such a rate that I think it is a really positive spin on the way things are going, though perhaps running it over four days would be even better. The class is certainly getting large enough to warrant an extra championship.”
The 2016 European Championship concludes on Sunday with two races scheduled. The forecast is for more of the same
Results after six races
1 GBR 1 Charlie Cumbley 14
2 DEN 21 Bo Petersen 15
3 SWE 100 Thomas Hansson-Mild 20
4 GBR 2183 Richard Burton 20
5 NZL 544 Greg Wilcox 25
6 GER 772 Oliver Gronholz 31
7 GBR 1393 Rene Sarabia Johannsen 34
8 DEN 6 Stefan Myralf 36
9 DEN 142 Jørgen Lindhardtsen 48
10 GBR 2151 Jon Fish 49
by Robert Deaves