2024 OK Dinghy World Championship in Brisbane is largest ever southern hemisphere OK Dinghy event

The largest OK Dinghy event to ever be held south of the equator is all set to proceed after 112 sailors from seven nations completed equipment inspection and registration ahead of the start of the 2024 Tan Lines OK Dinghy World Championship, which was opened Sunday evening at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, in Brisbane, Australia.

Delayed by a year because of the pandemic, the championship has been a long time in the planning. After some extreme weather in past weeks – heavy rain and high temperatures that even the locals complained about – the practice race on Sunday afternoon was sailed in a building breeze and gradually clearing skies, before the opening ceremony Sunday evening.

The saga surrounding the European containers was finally solved at the end of last week with a collective sigh of relief with both shipments cleared by midday on Friday in time for the start of equipment inspection. A huge amount of work by the locals, especially by local sailor Steve Shale, went into getting the boxes delivered and cleared, with the boats then collected by trailer and delivered to the club by the Australian sailors.

2024 Tan Lines OK Dinghy Australian Championship, RQYS, Brisbane

After a postponement for the practice race was signalled ashore with no wind on the race course, it was soon removed as the breeze came in. The first fleet was the most interesting and included the top 55 world ranked sailors present. In 10-12 knots, Australia’s Rob McMillan led at the top, neck and neck with New Zealand’s Mark Perrow and the winner of last week’s Australian Championship, David Clark. With McMillan and Clark returning to shore, Australia’s Roger Blasse took the lead downwind to lead round and take the win. The other group was won by New Zealand’s Paul Rhodes. Rounding the top mark around 10th, he chipped away on each leg and took the lead on the second upwind to lead down to the finish. By the time the fleet hit the shore again, the breeze was gusting 25 knots.

The championship was opened Sunday evening on the lawn of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, after three days of equipment inspection registration.

Following a traditional Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony from a First Nations elder, the opening ceremony was concluded with welcomes from a host of dignitaries including Lord Major Adrian Schrinner, Commodore John Warlow, Rear Commodore Todd Anderson, Rob Brown OAM and Jo Keen, Board member from Australian Sailing.

Finally, OKDIA President Mark Jackson welcomed all the competitors and declared the world championship open.

2024 Tan Lines OK Dinghy Australian Championship, RQYS, Brisbane

The championship gets underway on Monday when the fleet will be split into two groups with six races scheduled over three days for the opening series, before a final series of four races. If four races are completed by the end of Wednesday, then Thursday will be a lay day. Racing is scheduled to start at 13.00 each day. Check the links below how to follow the racing (and what not to follow).

Racing runs through to Saturday 2 March.

Many more photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/okdia/

2024 Tan Lines OK Dinghy Australian Championship, RQYS, Brisbane