Report and results courtesy Greg Casey.
The first OK world qualifier for the 2001 worlds in Sweden took place over the weekend of 8-9 April at Highcliffe Sailing Club. The modest fleet of 15 boats arrived to glorious sunshine but not much wind. Race 1 kicked off in a light force 1 with Greg Casey making the most of the paying left hand side to lead at the first mark from Dave Carroll and Andy Turner. Casey showed good downwind drifting speed and held on until the leeward mark. Carroll made the most of the shifts early in the beat to take the lead. Carroll went onto the win the race followed by Casey. Third spot went to Will Turner who had spotted (?) a slight sea breeze that had kicking in on the right side of the beat.
Race two started in the same conditions and it was again Casey who led at the first mark followed by Peter Wibroe with Carroll chasing hard. The reaches and the next beat held no surprises and the three held the same positions. The run saw Hedley Fletcher join the leading bunch and all rounded the bottom mark together. Carroll played the shifts well up the final beat and caught Casey on starboard just before the finish. A tight tacking match was instigated and Carroll managed to squeeze round the finish mark in front. Wibroe just managed to hold off Fletcher for third.
Race 3 got underway on Sunday morning in a building force 4-5, Gavin Waldron made the most of the paying right hand side to lead at the windward mark by 30 yards (not bad for a river sailor) from Carroll, then Casey, Fletcher and Terry Curtis. The racing was close from all of the top boats, with gusts of 35 knots the reaches were entertaining to say the least. Waldron showed his transom to the rest of the fleet throughout the race to take a popular victory from a hard chasing Carroll. Fletcher pulled though to finish third with Curtis fourth and Casey ending up fifth.
Race 4 was again a close and hard fought affair with 6 boats reaching the top mark together after 20 minutes of beating against the Christchurch Bay tide. Casey rounded first and held the lead round the leeward mark. Casey found himself in front of 5 chasing boats that had spit tacks and attempted to loose cover, Carroll made the most of situation by chancing a few shifts and came out trumps with a slight lead at the top mark. Curtis was third round the mark but nose-dived on the bear-away, "dropped my mainsheet" was the cry afterwards. Fletcher was next round but Andy Turner swiftly overtook him down the run. The final result being Carroll, Casey, Turner, Fletcher, Waldron then Curtis.