Charlie Cumbley led a British clean sweep to claim the 2023 OK Dinghy European Championship on Lake Garda.
Cumbley is only the third British European champion in the class after Craig won it as a Euro Cup in 2002 and Alastair McMichael won in 1982.
Craig was the overnight leader, but it was Cumbley who led the first race all the way to win from Poland’s Michal Strumnik and Britain’s Andy Davis.
The final race was then led all the way by Denmark’s Bo Petersen, from Germany’s Andre Budzien and Denmark’s Jens Eckhardt.
With Craig in eighth in the first race, Cumbley had the overall lead and the two battled round the course in the final race, crossing the line in a pack of boats. Though Craig tried to push him back, Cumbley had done enough to take the title by two points and add the European title to the world title he won in 2022.
Nick Craig was second and Matt Howard third to complete a remarkable all British podium.
On the final race battle with Craig, Cumbley commented, “So, the pressure was off in a way but it meant I just had to keep tabs on Nick, which is easier said than done. He’s quite slippery.”
“We had a bit of shadowing up the first beat and then he got past me down the run. And then it was a case of he was trying to get as many boats between us and I was trying to lure him out to the other side of the race track, which I thought would drop him outside the top five.”
“So in the end I am over the moon to win here in Garda after coming second a couple of times, and just before the worlds here in 2025.”
The OK class is growing at an unprecedented rate and its event management is constantly evolving to cope with demand.
There were 110 boats at Garda from 15 countries, following 140 boats at the worlds in the UK in June. Hosts Circolo Vela Arco will also host the 2025 World Championship, with a possible 200 boats expected.
All in all, the championship was a fantastic event, with free beer, after race pasta, awesome sailing, great hospitality from Circolo Vela Arco, and some of the slickest race management on the planet. 200 boats in 2025 is no idle boast.
In 2024 the world championship takes place in Brisbane, Australia, in February, with the European Championship in Palma, Spain, in October. And in two days the fleet gathers in Bandol, France, for the Autumn Trophy.
OK Dinghy 2023 Europeans – Final Leaders (112 entries)
1st GBR 6 Charlie Cumbley 29 pts
2nd GBR 2261 Nick Craig 31 pts
3rd GBR 2279 Matthew Howard 43 pts
4th DEN 12 Jens Eckardt 44 pts
5th GER 18 Jan Kurfeld 46 pts
6th ESP 111 Tim Goodbody 46 pts
7th GER 71 André Budzien 52 pts
8th DEN 21 Bo Petersen 56 pts
9th GBR 11 Andy Davis 71 pts
10th SWE 73 Patric Mure 7 pts
Veteran: Charlie Cumbley GBR
Master: Jens Eckardt, DEN
Grand Master: Jørgen Holm DEN
First Lady: Jessica Finke