OK Dinghy fleet hoping for Bandol return to contest inaugural Autumn Trophy

OK Dinghy sailors across Europe are keeping their fingers crossed that they can return to Bandol in September for the inaugural Autumn Trophy. The Notice of Race has now been published and online entry is open for the four-day event at Société Nautique de Bandol.

The club hosted the hugely successful 2018 European Championship, and ever since then, sailors have been clamouring to go back for another major event. Bandol’s idyllic beachside location on the Mediterranean, the welcoming hospitality of the family based club, and the wonderful food and wine make it the perfect venue for the class.

After the class has had to cancel all its major events so far this year due to COVID-19, everyone hopes this one can go ahead. There has already been a lot of interest from Denmark, Germany and UK, and providing further travel restrictions are not brought in, the turnout is expected to be high.

The OK Dinghy Autumn Trophy

Initially intended as the Grand Final for the Euro Tour, the Autumn Trophy in Bandol has for many sailors been the light at the end of the tunnel after a very strange year.

The Autumn Trophy is part of class history, being originally presented by the International Sailing Federation in 2007 to commemorate the 80th birthday of HM King Bhumibol Aduladej of Thailand, who built and sailed OK Dinghies in the 1960s and 1970s. He famously won the gold medal in the class in the 1967 South East Asia Games.

This beautiful half model of His Majesty’s OK Dinghy, TH27, ‘Vega’ was disposed of by World Sailing during the 2017 office move from Southampton to London, but was offered to the class for safekeeping. The class is very proud of this heritage and very happy the half model has been saved and put to good use.

Racing in Bandol is scheduled to take place from 16-19 September. Keep your fingers, and toes, crossed…

OK Dinghy Class Launch 2020 OK Euro League

In response to the rapid growth of the OK Dinghy class in recent years, and calls for a coordinated European circuit, the International OK Dinghy Association has launched the 2020 OK Euro League.

In this inaugural year five events have been chosen, covering many of the popular regattas, as well as new ones to encourage local fleet development.

The series will start at the ever-popular Spring Cup in Medemblik, the Netherlands, which is the traditional European season opener. Next is the three-day European Championship in Lundeborg, Denmark and then Kieler Woche, in Germany.

In the Autumn, the two day Dutch Nationals on the Oostersee will be followed by the inaugural Autumn Trophy at Bandol on the Mediterranean coast of France.

Key aspects of the OK Euro League include:

• Silver and Bronze fleets with separate prizes
• Innovative scoring system so that all events count the same, regardless of entries
• Sponsor focussed media presentation
• Easy to qualify with three events to count
• Weighted points on final round
• Mix of 2 day, 3 day and 4 day events

The concept behind this selection is that most travelling OK Dinghy sailors will do at least two of these events normally, so with a series of three out of five to count, it encourages them to do one more event to stand a chance of winning some of the more than €4,000 in prizes offered by a range of very generous sponsors.

The sponsors are at the heart of the series, with a media package designed to promote each one as well as the class and its sailors. So far Allen, Art of Racing, Ceilidh, Ovington, Synergy Marine and Turtle Sails have offered some great prizes.

After the first four ‘Rounds’, Bandol will act as the Final, which is slightly weighted in terms of points, but more important in terms of prizes. Bandol was the venue for the hugely successful 2018 European Championship and the fleet has been begging to go back ever since.

The Notice of Series can be downloaded here and further details will appear on the dedicated OKDIA Events website at events.okdinghy.org

2020 OK Euro League
Round 1 – Spring Cup, Medemblik, NED, May 1-3
Round 2 – European Championship, Lundeborg, DEN, May 15-17
Round 3 – Kieler Woche, Kiel, GER, June 20-23
Round 4 – Dutch Nationals, Oosterzee, NED, August 22-23
Final – Autumn Trophy, Bandol, FRA, Sept 16-19