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Two wins for Mongia

Panaji: India’s Nitin Mongia won both the races of the international OK dinghy world championship, 2003, on the opening day Monday.

Nick Craig of England came in second.

After excellent sailing conditions on Sunday, the conditions on Monday were different yet equally challenging. Winds of about 6-8 knots with lumpy seas greeted the sailors as they went out to begin racing at Dona Paula Beach near here.

Race No. 1 started on the second attempt with Mongia’s being the first boat at the pin end.

Paul Rhodes and Soenke Berens tacked off just after the start and sailed out to the right side of the course while Mongia and Craig were content with playing the shifts down the middle.

Defending champion Greg Wilcox of New Zealand was among a group of boats that decided to work down the left side of the beat. At the windward mark, Mongia squeezed around the outside of Rhodes, Craig rounded third and Berens rounded in the fourth place.

Mongia extended his lead down the first reach while Craig made quick work of sailing through Rhodes. Berens then capsized and dropped down the field. By the Gybe mark, Nitin was leading from Craig, with Rhodes in third.

Mongia and Craig continued to sail clear and were in a battle of their own all the way to the finish.

Nitin, who also won a silver at the Busan Asian Games in the OK dinghy open class, held on to record a historic first win for an Indian at the OK dinghy world championships.

Craig took a well-deserved second, while Ben Morrison took third place after Rhodes was deemed OCS. Wilcox finished a disappointing seventh.

The second race went through four general recalls before the principal race officer put up the black flag for the first time in the regatta.

That seemed to quell the aggressive instincts of the fleet and they were off to a clean start. Mongia had a good start at the middle of the line, while Craig was off to the leeward end and Rhodes took an average start at the windward end of the line.

Mongia sailed his shifts down the middle — to the right of the beat — to lead at the windward mark followed by Joe Porebski of New Zealand.

Craig sailed out from the left to round in third place. Mongia was leading by 10 seconds at the leeward mark after the triangle followed by Craig and Porebski.

Mongia opened up further to lead by 28 seconds at the windward mark after the second beat. Mongia held on comfortably thereafter to win his second race of the series. Craig finished second, followed Porebski in third.

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