Goodhead takes opener

Terry Curtis reports from the first OK class open at the British Airways SC

Monday March 24th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
13 OKs were treated to a beautiful sunny day with moderate breezes for the first International OK open meeting of the 2003 season at British Airways SC.

The first race was started in a shifty force 2. Terry Curtis from Upper Thames took the Starboard end of the line & took the lead on a right shift, rounding the windward mark with Neil Goodhead from South Staffs a couple of boat lengths behind. Derek Lovegrove from Kingsmead & Adam Wickenden from the home club led the chasing pack. Curtis & Goodhead traded the lead all around the course, with huge shifts making it almost impossible to defend position on the beats. Coming into the finish Curtis tacked for the line on Starboard. Just as Goodhead dipped his transom the wind headed forcing Curtis to put in a quick cover tack, this resulted in a minor collision giving Goodhead the race, while Curtis did turns & finished second.

Several boats mistimed the second start, including Goodhead. Alan Atkin from Burghfield lead the fleet around the windward mark, followed by Wickenden. Curtis worked his way to the front of the fleet & pulled out a comfortable lead which he held to the finish, Goodhead battled his way from the back to second place.

In the final race Goodhead & Curtis fought the starboard end of the line, with Goodhead to leeward but slightly in front, Curtis tacked right to get clear. Alan Atkin took the pin end of the line getting more breeze and the best of the shifts to lead at the windward mark by a considerable margin. Goodhead rounded second, Curtis was stuck out on the right forced to sail in on the header, to round in 6th place but a long distance back. Atkin won comfortably with Goodhead second giving him the event on the Tie-break. Curtis pulled up to third bit was never going to make up the distance.

With the New Carbon mast rule about to become live at the beginning of April, both Curtis & Atkin were using carbon masts on an experimental basis. It is early days but there didn’t seem to be a significant boatspeed advantage in these conditions.

The class is expecting an active year, with the Qualification series about to start for the World Championships due to be held at Parkstone YC in 2004. There is much rig development underway with the new rule & much to be gained for those who get things right.

Overall Results
1st GBR 2108 Neil Goodhead South Staffs
2nd GBR 2101 Terry Curtis Upper Thames
3rd GBR 1898 Alan Wickenden BASC
4th GBR 2053 Alan Atkin Burghfield
5th GBR 2049 Ian Harris Bristol Corinthian

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