Indian champion

Despite final race win for Ben Morrison at OK Worlds in Goa

Friday April 4th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: None
In a historic day for Sailing in India, and Indian has become World Champion in a Single Handed Sailboat. Nitin Mongia won the OK Dinghy World Championship with a race to spare while Ben Morrison from New Zealand won Race No. 6 to record his first win at the OK Dinghy World Championships and move into 2nd place overall.

A look at the weather this morning did not inspire too much confidence in the mind of the organisers. It was another clear, blazingly hot day with not a whisper of wind, as everyone on shore waited and watched, the wind slowly filled in as if answering their prayers. Nitin Mongia was once again the first boat to launch, a habit he has stuck to throughout the regatta to good effect. All the other competitors then launched and sailed out for what was to prove to be a pivotal days racing.

The wind was at 245 degrees and about 5-6 knots when after a brief delay, Cdr. Homi Motivala the Principal Race Officer went into his starting sequence. The fleet seemed evenly spread out on a square start line when the start gun went off, the boats on the right side of the line seemed to have the better of the start while Nitin and the other boats from the left side of the line had a hard time getting up to speed.

Nick Craig (GBR) and Ben Morrison (NZL) surged into the early lead and stayed on the right hand side. Nitin who has always had a great understanding of the wind throughout this event stayed on the left hand side of the course and took advantage of a lot of pressure on that side to surge back into the lead and round the windward mark 1st followed by Rob Coutts and Nick Craig (GBR). Gautama Dutta of India rounded 4th followed by Ram Kumar Singh also of India.

Nick Craig then sailed out from under Rob Coutts on the 1st reach to round the Gybe Mark 2nd followed by Rob Coutts and Ramkumar. On the 2nd reach down to the lee mark, Nick Craig tried to sail to windward of Nitin and started a luffing match that allowed Rob Coutts to round the Lee Mark 1st followed by Nick who managed Buoy room on Nitin and Nitin in 3rd Place.

On the next beat upwind to the Windward Mark, Ben Morrison (NZL) who had been quietly working his way up through the fleet made his move to the right side of the course and rounded the windward Mark in 4th place with Rob Coutts in 1st, Nick Craig (GBR) in 2nd and the outstanding Ram Kumar Singh of India who rounded in 3rd place. Nitin who by his own admission was taking it easy up the beat dropped to 5th.

On the long run back to the lee mark, Ben Morrison (NZL) took best advantage of the waves and sailed out from under Nick to round the mark 2nd behind Rob Coutts in 1st. Nick Rounded a close 3rd and Nitin rounded in 4th place. Up the final beat Ben took advantage of some tactical indecision from Rob Coutts to sail through and win Race 6 followed by the outstanding Rob Coutts. Nitin who had quietly made it back through Nick came 3rd to confirm his maiden World Championship followed by the disappointed Nick Craig.

As Nitin came off the water he was greeted by his coach Lt. Cdr. Mahesh Ramchandran, Maj.Gen. Rajendra Singh AVSM, VSM Vice President OK Dinghy Association of India, Lt.Gen. R. K. Mehta PVSM, AVSM, VSM Chairman of the Organising Committee

Nitin Mongia a native of Mumbai and Silver Medalist at the Asian Games 2002 in the OK Dinghy Class hails from Mumbai and was introduced to sailing by his father, Commodore Surinder Mongia (Rtd) Arjuna Awardee and the current Vice President of the Yachting Association of India. His elder brother Aashim is also an Arjuna Awardee and won the Bronze Medal at the 2002 Asian Games in the Enterprise Class.. Nitin is also in the midst of campaigning a Star Class boat along with Lt. Cdr Mahesh Ramachandran with an eye on the Olympics in 2004.

The other outstanding Indian sailor of the day was undoubtedly Ram Kumar Singh of India a native of Pune who despite sailing with an Indian made GRP boat and sub standard equipment stayed in the top 5 throughout the day with a best position of 3rd before dropping down the fleet to finish 10th.

1. Ben Morrison (NZL)
2. Rob Coutts (NZL)
3. Nitin Mongia (IND)
4. Nick Craig (GBR)
5. Joe Porebski (NZL)

1. Nitin Mongia IND (5 points)
2. Ben Morrison NZL (14 points)
3. Nick Craig GBR (15 points)
4. Rob Coutts NZL (26 points)
5. Greg Wilcox NZL (28 points)

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