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Interview with Karl Purdie

Karl Purdie wins the 2008 OK Dinghy Champs with a C-Tech mast.

Interview with NZ Boating Magazine, July 2008

This was your third attempt at the championship. What made the difference this year? What factors went your way that maybe didn't work out for you in the past?
This year was just the culmination of a lot of things learnt from the previous 2 campaigns. I firstly launched a new "icebreaker design" built by Alistair Deaves and Chris Brown (Performance Composites Ltd), then had a new high modulus carbon mast built by Alex Vallings (C-Tech Ltd) and lastly was using the latest generation sail designed by Greg Wilcox (Quantum Sails). This year also I paid a lot of attention to fitness working out at the gym up to 2 times a day and managed to secure a practise boat (huge thanks to Joe Porebski) which allowed me to continue sailing after my boat was shipped to Europe.

Describe the conditions of the venue and how they affected your performance.
The conditions during the worlds covered the whole range from 5-25 knots. It would be fair to say that I was very fast especially upwind in the stronger wind conditions due to my rig set-up and fitness. However at 89kg I was also light enough to hang in there in the light. I was hoping the contest would be held in all wind conditions as I thought the light air races would allow me to escape from the "big boys" and the heavier air races would allow me to escape from the "light weights'". That is exactly how it worked out during both the warm-up regatta and the worlds in the end. For me the surprising aspect was my heavy air speed which was very nice.

Finishing 16th in the final race must have dashed your hopes of winning. Describe your reaction to hearing that it was good enough to take the title.
Going into the last race I had a 16 point lead over Nick which equalled my until then discard race of 16th place. This meant if only one race was sailed on the last day I already had won the contest even if Nick won -and that in the end is how it played out. If the final race had been able to be sailed (the sailing instructions did not allow a race to be started after 2pm on the final day) Nick had to beat me by 5 boats to take the title. By that time the wind was blowing close on 25knts. I had already demonstrated a speed edge over him in these conditions so I was pretty relaxed about racing again. He would have had to produce an extraordinary effort to beat me. I hadn't come that far to fall at the final hurdle. Besides which if I'd lost the NZ team would have lynched me!

The other guys in the team provided fantastic support and without the intense competition they provide at home I'd never have got good enough to win the title. Any number of these guys are capable of also winning the worlds it was just my time I guess. I'd like to point out I have never won the NZ OK national championships which I believe gives a guide to the huge depth in our class presently. In fact I believe there have been 10 different winners over the last 10 years!

Where do you go from here? Will you aim for defending your title next year?
My wife and I are still thinking about going to Kalmar (Sweden) next year to defend the title. She has been dragged around the world for 3 years now while I tried to win and quite frankly without her support and help I'd never have won. The odds are though we will go! It will be expensive to go to Sweden but hopefully our team sponsors Hamburg Sud. Burnard International, Port of Napier and Vero will be back again. This year as last year in Poland they provided the whole team with free shipping and PI cover. The whole NZ team is just totally indebted to these companies!

Thanks Karl, and again, kudos from all of us at Boating NZ magazine.


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