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Following five days and nine races among 36 competitors,
Victoria’s Mark Jackson has won the 2017 Henning Harders OK
Dinghy National Championship in style at Drummoyne Sailing
Club on 13 Januar y.
Representing Black Rock Yacht Club, Jackson first won the
Championship in 2003 and then won 10 years later from 2013 to
2016. He found the upper Sydney Harbour courses testing on the
opening day, but soon came to grips with the narrow channel
of water sprinkled with islands that make sailing tactically
The best conditions were saved for last, when a beautiful nor’
easter set the scene. Averaging 15-20 knots, winds reached 25
at times on the last run. It took its toll on some, including DSC
Commodore, Grant Wakefield, whose boom vang broke.
Jackson won Race 8 by nearly one minute from Edward
O’Donnell (Wangi Wangi SC), with Mark Skelton (WWSC) third,
while Skelton took the final Race 9 from Jackson. Skelton’s win
meant second place overall on countback to DSC member, Peter
Horne, the reigning NSW champion.
“I never expected to win – there was no expectation. I haven’t
sailed here since 1991 and it’s not an easy venue to come to grips
with. Sailing a Finn recently helped a lot. There are no bad sailors
out there, they’re all experienced,” Jackson said.
“A good day out – lots of breeze – very, very nice sailing,” he
added with a mile-wide smile.
Ben Downey from Southport YC in Queensland rounded the
top mark the first time in front of Jackson, but as usual, Jackson
got the motor going.
“I held pressure and planed all the way down the first reach
and cleared out by 300 metres. From there, I picked up the shifts
and kept moving,” Jackson said.
The north-easterly had pressured up by Race 9 and although
Jackson led the fleet once more, Skelton passed him on the
“ The shifts helped me,” said Skelton of his superior upwind
speed. “It was great passing Mark, but hard to stay in front, it’s
no walk in the park.”
Jackson interjects to remind Skelton: “ You were ninth and I
was 10th at the 2015 OK Worlds in Melbourne, then I was 14th
and you were 15th at the Worlds in France last year. Funny ...”
Skelton must have been under pressure in the final race as
he came from fourth place to pip Horne to second overall. But
no, he insisted, “I just take each race as it comes – it’s the line
of breeze you do or don’t sail into. I didn’t even realise I ended
up second,” he said.
He has only been sailing in the class since 2009, while the
likes of Jackson, Roger and Andre Blasse and others seem to
have been in it since can’t remember when.
With Horne taking third place, Adelaide SC’s Brent Williams
slipped in front of DSC sailor, Tim Davies, after dropping his
11th place from Race 8. Davies, who led the regatta for a time,
finished fifth overall after a 13th in Race 9, courtesy of a capsize
(he wasn’t alone). Unfortunately, Andre Blasse, the 2009 national
champion, had to withdraw when a sudden family illness took
him home to Victoria.
Edward O’Donnell from WWSC won the handicap event, a
special trophy with a lot of history attached.
h Di Pearson
Mark Jackson claims sixth title
at OK Dinghy Nationals
YC), first won
the OK Dinghy
in 2003. He
won 10 years
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