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December 2007 Celebrating 50 Years of OK Dinghy Sailing


The News of the UK International OK Dinghy Class Association

Chairman’s Report 2007 by Mike Edwards Well another year draws to a close and what a year it has been! The OK dinghy reached its 50th year and I am happy to say it is still going strong. Surely this is due to the fact that it is such a great boat and has always enjoyed a loyal following. We celebrated the anniversary at Upper Thames SC in June, with many infamous OK sailors, supporters and trolley dollies coming together. There was some great racing, a sit down hog roast dinner, dancing, stories, songs and all washed down with plenty of booze. In true OK tradition the bar ran out of beer! We also managed to raise £1200 for sail4cancer, which is incredible! We were concerned before the event that all comers had to negotiate the railway crossing. Thankfully Rodney Thorne dressed himself from head to toe in a fluorescent orange outfit, which he happened to find in his car along with some gardening shears that he used to cut down most of the foliage along the track in the vicinity of the club, to improve people’s chances of spotting a train. Rodney you’re a hero! Jonty Sherwill who challenged at the very top for many years, was one of the names from the past to join the fun. Jonty has kindly put pen to paper to produce an excellent article for this newsletter, so keep reading. He makes some excellent observations and is clearly still passionate about promoting the class and seeing

it succeed. On promotion, Jonty quite rightly says that we must be ahead of the game when it comes to advertising and promoting the class and the best vehicle for this is the website. I agree that we need to constantly improve in the area of marketing the fleet, so suggestions are always welcome. However, I must take this opportunity to thank our webmaster, Dave Cooper on behalf of the class for developing the site from nowhere to the excellent site it is today. We continued the celebrations at the National Championships at Felpham SC, where we had a very promising turnout of 43 boats. Speckie Craig took the title, from my old mate Homer Goodhead. It was great to see Neil come so close, but for me the highlight was the number of juniors at the event, which is very encouraging for the future. Let’s see if we can break the 50 barrier next year at Parkstone.

Nick Craig also won the World title in Poland. This was his third world title on the trot, which is some achievement. It was a pleasure to witness Nick in action, putting on an awesome display to defeat a strong and ever improving Kiwi team and of course double world champion Karston Hitz. I remember Nick as a talented teenager trying to keep up with us more experienced beer drinkers, then progressing into one of our best ever prospects of landing a world title and an accomplished beer drinker to boot. Now he has not only grown into one of the greatest OK sailors ever, but one of the very best amateur sailors in the UK. He is more than that though! Yes, I know he’s ugly, but he is also a tremendous guy, a wind up and a great friend to have!! God, I wish this were a speech!! The British team had an excellent World Championships in extremely

testing conditions, with 7 finishing in the top 30:• 1st Nick Craig • 11th Terry Curtis • 13th Jon Fish • 17th Robert Deaves • 22nd Simon Childs • 25th John Meadowcroft • 30th Ian Harris Another encouraging sign of growth is a more active second hand boat market, helped by a new British OK builder Alex Scoles. Alex has worked tremendously hard to develop and produce a really high quality boat, which can only help in raising the profile of the class in the UK. He managed to finish his first boat in time for the Dinghy Show in March. The show was a great success for us and the new Idol Composite boat attracted a lot of attention. Looking to next year, I hope we can continue to grow and attract more people to the class. If you come across anyone showing an interest, encourage them to try an OK. If you can’t arrange this

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yourself, contact your area representative or a member of the committee and we will endeavour to sort something out. We also plan to reinstate the Youth and Junior Championships onto the calendar. Bill Bradburn came to Neil and I at South Staffs one Sunday clearly determined to make this happen. He is just the man for the job, having encouraged many juniors into an OK over the years. It is really important that we make this a success, so we would like people to make their boats available at South Staffs on the 18th October. The plan is to promote this event at the dinghy show in March and encourage juniors from other classes to sign up for the event. We will then match them to a boat, the owner will act as their mentor and hopefully their experience will be a positive one. This is exactly what Bill did for me when I was 15 and now I am Chairman! If there is enough interest we

could also run a Vintage Boat Championships on the same day, with a separate start. Then on the Sunday there will be the usual open meeting. We also plan to use this as an excuse to have an end of season party, so put it in your diaries.

Our beloved Chairman with the National Champion in a more intimate moments!

2nd, I was 3rd and Nick 4th. I hope to see you all out there again in 2008 and would encourage you to come to as many events as possible. Practice makes perfect! Finally, I would like to thank my committee for all their hard work and efforts this year, in helping to make the Dinghy Show, 50th Anniversary and the Nationals such a success. Not to mention all the other jobs that go on behind the scenes. Thanks Chaps! Plus a special thank you to Jo Curtis, for producing such a modern and professional newsletter. Take care & Happy Christmas Chairman Mike

On the open meeting circuit a total of 81 people came to one or more meetings, which is terrific. The Traveller’s Trophy was once again won by Terry Curtis, showing great form all year. Neil Goodhead came

Once an OK sailor - always an OK sailor Jonty Sherwill shares some thoughts on where the Class is today

Keep up to date with OK News on the excellent UK website

Where is she now is a question no doubt many ask themselves about their old boats. Hard to believe I owned six OK's in total, four of these before being wooed by the Finn and a pointless quest for fool's gold. I adored the OK as a boat to sail but never fell in love with the Finn in the same way. I realise now it was like racing a yacht compared to a sportsboat. But the first is the one you remember, especially for a callow 16 year old. Do kids today fall in love with their roto-moulded dinghies like I did in 1970 to a home crafted plywood racer? The smell of mellowing timber under a green duck cover, the wooden spars, the kicker wedge, and the fixed rudder - this was grown up fun! That this boat had been built as one of a pair (K708 & K709) by two gents as a winter project, where economy of materials seemed more important than the finished article, was irrelevant to me. It was strong and quite

quick, and for all I know may well be sitting in someone's shed, although somehow I doubt it. Today's OK dinghy looks light years ahead of the early prototypes, but under the skin it's the same animal - same shape, same weight. Slack measuring in the 70's and 80's allowed daft things like underdeck controls and poor watertightness but it's good to see well sorted seaworthy boats as the current benchmark. At the time I disapproved of the rudder shape change (what a great outboard motor it was when the wind failed!) but I admit it is important to allow sensible development that will improve the boat’s appeal. Carbon masts are pricey but this one feature has helped to set the OK apart from other mass produced alternatives. People will often moan about cost but how many waste thousands on a track car, or

countless holidays. What better investment than a high tech sailing multi-gym that will keep you physically fit and sharpen your mind. Nonetheless there is a noticeable technology gap between the front and back of the national fleet, and its important that the class helps the less extravagant get the best out of their older boats. I spent an afternoon watching at the 2007 Felpham Nationals and it was clear to me that there is a marked contrast in sailing technique and sail trim between the front and mid fleet runners. After nearly fifty years the British class is now very fortunate in having a multiWorld Champion as a role model, and this knowledge base should be positively filtered down to the next generation via training and one-to-one encouragement. Specifically on this day at Felpham, with around ten knots of breeze and a lumpy sea, I felt that mainsheet tension on the

beats was progressively slacker the further back in the fleet one looked. I have never advocated over-sheeting and no doubt I was comparing carbon with alloy masts, but sail trim is so critical and many boats could have been going much quicker. So front runners - risk some more competition and help the guy a few places behind you. One aspect of the class that has not changed very much, at least in Britain, is the lack of marketing to attract new members. Robert Deaves generates some great editorial and that can be very effective. Magazine advertising is very expensive and not an option. Laser, Topper, and RS spend thousands to keep their manufacturers busy, but a good website is usually the backbone of their marketing strategy. This is somewhere that the less commercial classes, like the OK, can compete, so long as someone is prepared to be the web master, and the site design

lends itself to multiple editors having easy access to keep it up to date. The builders and sailmakers should help finance it - they could have a dedicated page and links to their own sites. Back in 1973 I can remember being horrified at reading in the British OK Newsletter: "This edition of the Newsletter is slightly 'thinner' than normal. The reason is quite simple - to cut the costs." At that point the class was only 16 years old and the number of boats being built per year was probably at it's highest level, so why no funds to print a newsletter? The Laser was at that same point just getting into its stride, and it was the new kid on the block no wonder it rolled us. Thankfully today sailing an OK is once again 'cool'. The Brits have a World Champ', the boats look better than ever, and even the top Volvo Ocean Racers have chines to make them go faster. The time is right to press ahead and attract

a new competitive generation to the world's best singlehander - but it can only happen if the class generates some cash and uses it wisely. Sponsorship is a good route, bigger subs might be another, but something positive must be done. And just remember, while you sophisticated westerners are sailing high-tech foam sandwich boats with carbon spars and modern sails, there is nothing in the world to stop a young kid buying some sheets of plywood to make a hull, and cutting down a tree to whittle a mast and boom. Perhaps the best investment the class could make right now would be reissue a definitive set of building plans so that anyone, anywhere can build a street legal OK and come to the Worlds. How about it, Don? And as for those six boats, I know Alex Hobern has 1983, but what about 709, 1400, 1744, 1825, and 1865 – are

Having heard of the passing of “C” Marshall, I would like to comment on what a great OK fleet man has left us. - Bill Bradburn South Staffs SC

OC Marshall Some of you may have heard via Andy’s email that Oliver Cecil Marshall, better known to us as OC, passed away peacefully on Monday 19 November, just short of his 91st birthday. He was a role model for sailors at Frensham or any OK sailor who visited the club. OC was still racing an OK into his late 80s and would go out no matter what the wind! He was one of the

smallest guys to sail an OK yet never capsized as he knew how hard to push the boat and how to stay upright. Off the water, OC always had a smile on his face, was always ready for a chat and loved the OK class. Let’s hope we can all live to 90 and enjoy such a long and fulfilling life (not sure I fancy the chances of the current OK generation!!) Nick Craig, FPSC

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I too was saddened to hear that C is no longer with us, he was a great character in the class, full of enthusiasm for the boat and the people. To me at the age of 13 or 14 he was the old campaigner in the fleet then, yet 20 years later he was still racing his OK. He continued to do Open meetings well into his seventies - no mean achievement. He will be sadly missed, but not forgotten. Terry Curtis, UTSC Really sad to hear this bit of news. A great character. I am the custodian of his last boat,1963, which C had for some 18 year. C and his technique for gybing this boat in his later years were talked about fondly at his club when I sailed there with 1963 as a winter member last winter. Alan Price

For full race reports, results, secondhand boat list, plus committee contact details, checkout the website on

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Snapshots of 2007

OK Sailing 2008 Seasoned traveller Terry Curtis previews the forthcoming season.

Keep up to date with OK News on the excellent UK website

The OK 50th Year came and went, but what a great year it was for the class in the UK. Nick won the Worlds again, keeping the Kiwi’s in their place for another year. We had the largest Nationals turnout since 2000 (excluding the PreWorlds at Parkstone), membership is on the up and we have more Juniors out on the circuit than for many years. Vive la Yole OK!, as they really do say in France. The 2008 fixture list is already beginning to take shape, so here are some highlights to whet your appetite. For those interested in a bit of wild winter sailing Ardleigh seems to be the place to go, which is also the venue for the Winter Champs on Feb 9th. This event was well supported last year at Oxford so dust down your dry suit and come sailing. Stuart Coles has also negotiated a great deal for

winter sailing at Burghfield with a mini series over the 20th January and 16th March. You can join any Sunday through the winter for £5 or £60 for the whole series. For many Medemblik is one of the season’s highlights, It’s a fantastic venue both on the water and socially and we are is privileged to have a longstanding fixture at one of the World’s greatest sailing venues. In 2008 the dates are 27th-28th April so get those ferries booked early. Another favourite among the International crowd is Warnemunde. Warnemunde Woche will be July 4th-6th and it’s a venue known for delivering awesome sailing conditions. The event is open to all, so if you haven’t qualified for the World’s but fancy some big course sailing come along, you may even blag yourself a place at the World’s the following week. Check with Andy Turner to see of there

are any World’s spaces available. The Nationals will be at Parkstone on 23rd-26th August. Parkstone is a wonderful club and has always supported OK events. Poole itself is a great place to bring the family there is plenty for the kids to do with a wonderful beach on Sandbanks. Why not make it a holiday and book the whole week. Let’s see if we can make that magic 50 entries! If you fancy something a bit different I can thoroughly recommend Salcombe Yacht Club Regatta 10th-15th August. For many years there has been a contingent attending from the Thames Valley. It’s a beautiful spot with interesting and varied Estuary courses, it delivers something for everyone . Whatever your standard there are OK events for you to enjoy! So get your boat ready to enjoy OK sailing in 2008.

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Pond Sailors in Poland by Bill Bradburn

Seven OK sailors from South Staffs braved the Baltic as part of the 20 strong GBR team to the 50th Anniversary OK World Championships in Poland this Summer. The fleet was to be the biggest assembly of OK sailors for a long time (fleets in the UK Nationals were last in the 100s in the seventies). The normally restricted fleet of 80 was increased for the 50th anniversary- eventually 119 sailors took part. We had been hearing of high winds and big seas from the last time the event was held at Leba, and it turned out to be the same this year. Leba is a holiday resort on the Baltic and home to, apparently, the only Marina in Poland. The OK fleet had exclusive use of the Marina for the event and most competitors camped on the site or stayed in the Marina hotel. Many of the GBR team had sent their boats ahead by means of a trailer and Sprinter van which carried 11 boats. The South Staffs crew all drove there (about 30 hours travelling from door to door if you didn’t do any proper overnight stops). The week before the Worlds, the Polish Association arranged the Leba Mayor’s Cup which

was a 3 day regatta. Some of our team sailed in that and the latecomers were welcomed by tales of awesome seas and mixed weather racing- little did they know what was to come. However, Nick Craig won the event and set out the challenge to the other nations, including strong teams from New Zealand, Australia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium. For the pond sailors away from home it was to be an experience, from measuring to racing and socialising. In fact we had all the “ings”- educating, frustrating, annoying, frightening, terrifying. Measuring: What a palaverafter much deliberation, scratching of heads and pontification, the measuring jig was not used. This was the source of much finger pointing and a variety of conspiracy theories. In truth the prospect of trying to get all 119 boats through the jig was too much for the measurement committee to bear, so they retired to the bar for a re-think!! The Brits were early into the measuring schedule and were soon seen running around with bits of lead, for extra correctors, and bits of sandpaper as they tried to make their 20mm thick

foils go through a 19.9mm gauge. There was a very strange bit of lead being passed around as a corrector which had a funny ring to it when you hit it! We think it was left over from the last regime and probably glowed in the dark. Come Sunday morning we were all ready to sail and needed to get out on the water. At the appointed hour for the practice race, the wind was blowing a bit (and the sea seemed a bit lumpy) and they cancelled the race. Frustrating: The week continued as it started – the first points race was postponed and then postponed some more – the Race Officer informed us that the seas were too bad and we would not have any safety cover (there were only 5 safety boats anyway without counting team support boats). The fleet sat around some more and looked for mischief. A keen group of lads were seen earnestly playing cards and on investigation it was discovered that they were playing “Top Trumps”- the FHM variety. Ed Bradburn was the FHM Top Trumps winner (I wondered what he got up to at school)!

For full race reports, results, secondhand boat list, plus committee contact details, checkout the website on

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Keep up to date with OK News on the excellent UK website

Tuesday dawned on a few hangovers and a pleasant breeze from the East with a gentle sea and we all set off for a 10:00 o’clock start to hope to get three races in. We had a General recall and a postponement and then the wind did a 180 and it all stopped. We sat around for an hour or two and the wind came and went and then did another 180. Then we had a bit of South Westerly breeze for enough time to make you think we were going to race and then it stopped again. The fleet went in, mostly by towline, and we sat around for another hour (on top of the 7 ½ hours on the water) until the day was finally given up. The sail to and from the race area was via a narrow river entrance between two concrete walls with lots of trees about. South Staffs winds are dead steady compared to this channel. To make it more interesting, pleasure boats, including one made to look like a pirate ship (HMS MDF!), powered down the channel blowing their horns and generally causing more mayhem. The Aussies soon named this stretch of water the “Far Canal”. Frightening!: Wednesday dawned with a good breeze

forecast and we had a brisk sail out to the start line. The fleet started the first race of the series in a decent F4 with a good sea running. The wind picked up a bit during the race but it was exhilarating sailing and most of the fleet had a good race. Ed B broke his mast on the first triangle, took his sail down by the committee boat and drifted towards Russia. He was towed home in the end but the rescue team were busy and he had a traumatic time when he couldn’t actually see anyone. The wind increased for the second and third races with a lot of retirements – only about half the fleet started the last race of the day. The waves were awesome and a number of men were seen to return in a somewhat pale condition. Ed Dutton did better than his dad in that he actually returned home with his boat, Keith finished the races but then was separated from his boat when they went to rescue others. It was well into the late afternoon/evening when everyone was back and accounted for and the big repair job began. The race officer insisted that the race starts were not in excess of 14m/sec wind (about 28knots) which is the maximum allowed in the rules for the regatta, but others came up with readings

well into the F7 mark at times. Quite an experience! Thursday was an excellent days racing in F4 dropping to 3 ish in the middle but three excellent races were sailed leaving many people a bit tired but more satisfied with the quality of the racing. Friday- the last racing day dawned with a nice F2-3, thunder storms, an even sea and the first race set off with the forecast of more wind to arrive later. It arrived with a flourish, with the fleet 2/3 of the way up the first beat, from the right of the course and the water started to fizz. The first reach was exciting, the gybe mark a bit tricky and the next reach a close hard blast – wind on the beam and boats tripping over waves and dipping booms in on the way down. Really exciting if you were good enough to drive the boat to its potential! This wind stayed for the last race of the series when even some of the top boys were seen to be wearing round instead of gybing. Nick Craig demonstrated why he is such a worthy champion by winning the last race. The talk in the dinghy park was of wild downwind sailing and some of the experts were saying that

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races normally wouldn’t be held in the UK in such conditions, and most fleets would have suffered a lot of damage. The OK proved itself to be a very tough boat. A couple of Staffordshire lads are now looking for a lake on a slope to replicate some of the excitement. Entertaining: The shore activities were a little curtailed by three days of mourning declared in Poland for 23 people killed in a coach crash. The planned rock concert was postponed but still happened later in the week. There was a band on the beach a couple of miles away, on the last day of racing, and we could hear them at the start line more clearly than the start signals! Quite interesting - we had been told that the coastal nature reserve was a “quiet” area.

There was a night out at a rocket test site! This included a boat trip on a huge lake (just what everyone was looking for after over six hours on the water) and a visit to their sand dunes (40+m high and moving down the coast at 3m per year – engulfing forests and villages). To stand on top of one of these dunes was amazing. Some of the best bits of entertainment were home grown as usual, the fleet could always find some amusement…. The Polish young ladies were quite an attraction, especially the staff of the marina chandlery. A large number of the competitors were seen to go of in search of cheap rope etc., and a guided tour of the shop! Neil insists that the price of rope was so good that he had to go back - before Amanda arrived - but if you

want a mainsheet, try Mike Edwards- he seems to have won a lot of spare rope from somewhere. This subject could be discussed at length but it is worth talking to Gavin about the Meercats, and the real purpose of a security tag around the neck. Young Ed Dutton was the star businessman of the week for negotiating a deal on the pedal cars for rent in the town- he will go far in life. We are not quite so sure about his performance at the foam party in a local nightclub after the prizegiving and closing ceremony. That Amanda can be a bad influence! The rest of the evenings were spent in good company, fuelled by lots of free Polish beer courtesy of the sponsors. Even the midges didn’t seem quite so bad after a few half litres. I think it is fair to say that the week was quite an experience for everyone and tall tales will abound, although the ones about the wind and waves were true. Old friends were met and new friends made and this is what international competition is all about.

For full race reports, results, secondhand boat list, plus committee contact details, checkout the website on

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2007 Endeavour Trophy Nick Craig shares his experiences of the Champion of Champion’s Race

Keep up to date with OK News on the excellent UK website

It was a great honour to sail for the OKs again at the Endeavour Trophy – it’s been 3 years since I’ve been able to do that. 3 years ago, we won the Trophy for the 1st time for the OK class and 1st time for me, so the aim was to do that again! It was going to be tough as my usual crew, James Stewart, had sailed with Roger Gilbert in a Merlin all year and no surprises won the Nationals, so he was sailing with him. My Ent crew was doing a ½ marathon (she is in the British squad, pacing at 1hr19, perfect for straight leg hiking an Ent all day!) But I was lucky enough to get hold of Steve Dunn (not then one who won the OK Nationals) – he’s won the RS400 Nationals crewing and been top10 helming an RS200, so knows his way round a boat. We did a days practice before the RS400 Inlands (our racing practice for the Endeavour) and it came together well.

The RS400 Inlands didn’t look good on paper for us but we went away pretty happy. We should have won 2 of the 3 races but did an extra lap in one and nearly got sunk by a back-marker in another. Both avoidable errors though, so we needed to be a bit slicker the next weekend. But we were starting well and going quick. In the week leading up to the Endeavour, there was virtually no wind forecast. Always going to be challenging with 24½ stone in a boat with a small rig, but we were planning on pushing off the jetty hard in the morning and carrying the momentum all day! We turned up a day early for event for a practice day. It’s some practice day with 25 National Champions all on a start line. The wind was light, force 1-2 and we came away feeling good. We weren’t fast but we weren’t slow either, so were generally in the top 5 ie enough to be contenders even

in light airs. The Xenon is very heavy so sailing it like a Finn seemed to work – free upwind and focusing on gusts rather than shifts to get the barge moving. The evening coaching talk by Adam Bowers was the most fun. Adam is renowned for talking bullsh*t so we set up a game of bullsh*t bingo where we had to count the number of times Adam referred to “the 4th corner of the jib”, whatever that is! Not that we weren’t paying attention to his coaching points! We woke up on the Saturday to zero wind as forecast. Always frustrating but no bother because the Endeavour is my favourite event because you get a 3 course breakfast, lunch on the water, pasta on arrival ashore and a 3 course dinner! It’s also exceptionally well run with 8 races packed into 2 days, always with perfect courses and no hanging around between races.

The race officer sent us out despite there being zero wind, but as ever he made the right call! The wind picked up to a force 2 as we launched and by the end of the day had built to a force 4, lovely! We were having a good day with results of 3,2,7,6. Pretty consistent in the company we were in, that would normally be a potentially event winning scoreline. However, Steve Tylecote/ Tobytastic Lewis had found the go button in the light winds and put together an exceptional scoreline of 1,1,2,1. With so many races in a day and so many top sailors it’s hard to keep track of who is doing what. We didn’t quite know just how good their results were, but knew we were down on points despite decent results so it was time to respond! We decided to go for a riskier approach in Race 5. The line was very port biased so we started right on the pin, just getting away with it, tacking and crossing the fleet. (After the race we learnt that the pin end boat had actually called us over but the race officer had overruled them, the margin between winning and losing is certainly tight!) We got away to a nice lead but I was a bit sluggish downwind. Definitely barely sailing an asymmetric all year was hurting as I was really struggling to get the angles right, I’ve got pretty used to sailing by the lee! I managed to throw away a decent lead every run and then we’d have to work flat out to grind the lead back upwind, in the thankfully increasing breeze. Steve was very pleased about this as it gave him a wonderful chance to straight leg hike for 5 beats and see how much pain he could inflict on himself. We finally reclaimed the lead for the 5th time in the last 100 yards to the finish, it hurt a lot! The race committee found it very funny that we finished and I asked “Can we go in now?”

whereas in previous years (when I was younger!), it’s been windy on the Saturday so I’ve always tried to convince the race team to lay on a 6th race! Steve/Toby didn’t like the breeze so much and came in 8th, their discard so far. Part of the great tension of the event is that no-one really knows the overall scores with so many races and so many top sailors until they are posted after sailing. So overnight, Tylecote/Tastic were looking good with 6 points, us on 12, Lark sailors Tom Jeffcoate/ Chris Hogan not far off on 14 and Roger/James on 18. Our last race had closed us in a bit. However, 6 points is a lot to close in 3 races so we made a plan that we’d go for broke on the Sunday ie push our luck on starts etc. to try to win the event rather than sail a solid few races which would probably secure us 2nd. Again, Sunday emerged windless as forecast. The race officer, Kim Allen, sent us out anyway and again he was right, the wind came in and built to a force 3. We had a frustrating race 6 & 7. The tide was heavily against us downwind so at the windward mark a critical

decision had to be made – hit the right or left bank. No chance for conservative sailing the middle of the course which given our strong starts would have been a nice plan! All my notes from previous years said there is less tide on the right bank so that was our plan. We rounded the 1st windward mark in reasonable shape in 7th, Tylecote/Tastic back in 12th, Roger/James 4th. A rare boathandling error saw Roger/ James trawl their kite and get rolled by the pack forcing them to gybe out to the left bank. Roger went into meltdown (very rare!), things were looking good. We worked the right hand side taking a place or two, gybed across to the leeward mark on the layline and found every boat that had gone left had taken us!! Roger/ James won the race. I was convinced left was paying because of a gust on that run rather than tide so we went right again and lost more. We kept making it back upwind so we coming back towards about 10th. But a 10th would not win us the event, so we kept gambling on right downwind to no avail. Not a total disaster though as Tylecote/Tastic were not liking the more wind so came in 9th - it was still a 3 boat race for the event.

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For full race reports, results, secondhand boat list, plus committee contact details, checkout the website on

Photo Nick Champion

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After the opening race, we did some thinking and reckoned that right was still the best side tidally but left had paid because due to the wind/land angle; only 1 gybe was needed to stay on the left bank whereas going right meant lots of gybes to stay near the bank. Xenons don’t gybe very well as they weigh more than Mike Edwards belly!

Keep up to date with OK News on the excellent UK website

We arrived at the windward mark of race 7 again in good shape about 5th. Our plan was to go left downwind but up the 1st beat we noticed the wind had shifted meaning left would require lots of gybes, right probably only 1 so we went right as did Tylecote/Lewis who were just behind us. Roger/ James hit left so this run was going to be pretty key! Halfway down the run, we knew it was game over, left had paid again, doh! It was now, I finally decided to tear up my tidal notes from previous years. Left was clearly paying but it was game over unless we got a top 3 result this race so in a last ditch attempt to save the event, we kept hitting right but limped home 16th. Roger/James got a 2nd so were within striking distance of Tylecote/ Tastic who chipped away to come back to 6th to just stay in the lead overall from Roger/ James. The wind dropped for the last race to a force 2 which favoured Tylecote/Tastic – they came in 2nd to win the event, massive smiles for them! We got a 4th in the last race which was enough to keep us on the podium in 3rd but a disappointment against what we’d hoped for in the morning. Time to revise my tidal notes on Burnham!! Hopefully we will get back there next year and do a bit more assymettric sailing in the build up to release my downwind handbrake! Nick Craig OK National Champion

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2007 Vintage Boats by Colin Page (1927) At the beginning of 2007, there was much discussion on the Forum asking for older boats to be represented within the association. The OK Committee considered this suggestion, and asked me to be the committee member for Vintage boats. At the time the committee defined a Vintage boat as one that is 25yrs or more old. For 2007 Vintage means sail numbers 1977 or less. The aim was to encourage those with Vintage boats to take part in the racing at Open meetings, and to provide a focus to help sailors with older boats. We have aimed to have a special prize at the Championship events to get some of the older boats out, and for the Nationals Craftinsure provided sponsorship for a trophy. The year’s racing has seen a sprinkling of Vintage boats at most Opens, with “stalwards”, Tony Thresher (1774) and David Rollison (1944) joining in with many of the Opens. Often helms with Vintage boats are not able to travel, so they bolster the Open fleet at their local event. (this is especially true at Upper Thames and South Staffs). Before I review the ‘runners & riders’ at the Opens, may I make a special note of a truly vintage boat, K16, Ping Pong, made a welcome appearance this year for our 50th anniversary celebration. It added to our stand at the Dinghy Exhibition and was at Upper Thames for 50th Anniversary party. I was lucky enough to sail it and admire those who managed to master the boom-wedge/‘kicking strap’. Thank you to all those who prepared the boat. As I look back at the championships through the year, it seems that they were all in light winds. The Nationals at Felpham took place in beautiful sunny weather, but the best

wind was on the training day, which was on the day before the racing started. At the Nationals, which took place over the August Bank Holiday, there were 6 vintage boats, who raced with variable success. Tony Thresher (1774) won the Vintage trophy, sponsored by Craftinsure. Second Vintage boat was Tim O’Leary (1966). (Tim should also be thanked for performing sterling work scrutinising all the boats, when we arrived). The Vintage Championships in September were incorporated into the Open meeting at Ardleigh. The fleet, containing 6 Vintage boats, had to contend with very light winds. The Vintage prize was won by Terry Curtis (1894) who showed that a good helm always shines through. The Inland Championships took place at Northampton, in October. Tony Thresher had handed over his normal Vintage boat to Richard Burton, and in his ‘new’ boat (2053) he won the event. The Vintage prize went to David Rollison (1944), who worked hard to stay at the front of the fleet, with ultimate success of being 8th overall. Second helm in a vintage boat, was Richard Burton (1774). Although that covers the winners at the Opens, a final note should be made for those who attend the Opens, but do not feature in the prizes. David Taylor (1959), Jonathan Walder (1915) and I have provided a supporting role in the success of others, in many of the races. Well, that was 2007. Those of you with boats, with sail numbers 1978 to 1989 should now be tuning your boats, as next year you will qualify for prizes for your Vintage boats. I look forward to Keith Byers (1985) joining our fleet. See you there. If any members with vintage boats wish to contact me, my email address is I look forward to hearing from you.

Vintage Championships at Ardleigh - Sept 2007 The Ardleigh Sailing Club Open meeting in September was also the Vintage Boat championship. (for boats with sail number 1977 or less). Of the 18 boats that sailed at the Open, 6 boats qualified for the Vintage championship. (Alex Hobern was practising for next year’s Vintage fleet, when his boat (1983) will be eligible). On the day the fleet was greeted with a lovely sunny day, but very little wind. For the first race the officer tried several times to set a good course and to persuade the helms to stay the right side of the line. In the end the wind would not cooperate and racing was abandoned for lunch. In the 2nd race, Terry Curtis in 1894 showed us that a good helm can make any boat move and was up contesting with the new boats. In the very light winds, he managed 5th. Further down the field were David Rollinson (1944), who finished 8th, and Tony Thresher at 13th in the race. The rest of the Vintage boats formed a group, struggling to find forward motion. As they got near the slipway, first of all the last person retired and then the rest followed suit, in domino fashion. Having finished the race, the remaining fleet decided they had had enough and returned to the slip, and the Race Officer was obliged to follow them. So, due to the very light winds the racing sadly consisted of one race. Thank you to all those who made the effort, to trail their boat to the Open. I will organise greater winds next year !

For full race reports, results, secondhand boat list, plus committee contact details, checkout the website on

Congratulations! Some recent events worth celebrating Don gets an award... Don O'Donnell, our Chief Measurer, has been awarded the prestigious RYA award for his services to sailing. As all OK sailors know Don has been building OKs for many years from the 70s onwards and has contributed greatly to many of the designs of hull which are at the front of the fleet today. He is also an international measurer, attending many world championships in that capacity e.g. the 505 worlds this year and the OK worlds in 2004 at Parkstone. His award is richly deserved and was presented at the RYA AGM on November 22nd 2007 (gold anchor lapel pin, commemorative medallion and certificate signed by the Princess Royal as president of the RYA). Andy Turner Class Secretary ...Dan gets a car... As 2008 sees the 20th anniversary of owning an OK (I

agree, after that amount of time one would have thought that results would be better than they are) I thought that it was important that I do something to mark the occasion, and so I have. I have bought a car. Now I have owned a car before but it was a stupid one that you were not allowed to put a towbar on. After it came to grief on a notoriously dangerous piece of road close to my home, it seemed a heaven sent opportunity to take responsibility for getting myself to open meetings by getting a car with a towbar. This I have now done. Therefore it seems that my proud record of participating in events around this country, Europe and beyond but always having someone else take my boat is at an end. Unfortunately I now owe about 19 years worth of lifts to Simon and Robert. I am hoping Alistair stays in NZ, otherwise he will also be on the list as well. Dan Ager

And this great event did not go unnoticed - an excerpt from the OK Forum Dear all, I have to tell you that today, November 17th, at about 16:00, Daniel Ager towed his own OK out of Waldringfield SC car park using his own car and his own trailer and his own towbar. He even packed the boat onto the trailer all by himself. This is the end of an era. After nearly 20 years of thumbing lifts off mugs like Alistair, Simon, Jon and myself, Dan has broken with tradition and moved his own boat with his own car for the first time in his life. Admittedly it was only the four miles to his house, but I’m sure you’ll agree we all have to start somewhere. Robert Deaves ...And Robert gets a baby Many congratulations to Robert and Hannah Deaves on the birth of Beth Lily who arrived on 6th November weighing 7lb11oz.

Endnotes from the Editor Well what a jam-packed issue! So much so that not only is it a bumper 12 page edition, but I have had to demote myself to the back page. Thank you to all those who contributed to this issue - and I barely had to nag. It has been a great year and I think that Mike should be congratulating himself (as well as everyone else) on a job well done. I for one have really noticed a new energy in the fleet and this is definitely something that needs to be

fostered at all levels. The title ‘Endnotes’ is particularly appropriate as I have (slightly reluctantly) decided that life is too busy to carry on as OK Newsletter editor. Anyway it’s about time we had a fresh approach. So - and don’t all beat the door down at once - I need a willing volunteer to take over. It really isn’t that difficult and if this issue is anything to go by, there are plenty of you out there

For full race reports, who are happy to contribute. All it requires is someone to pull it all together. The next issue due out is for the dinghy show (early March), so don’t let me down. Applications on a Christmas card please! All that remains for me to say is thanks for reading (if you got this far), Merry Christmas and a Happy Sailing Packed New Year.

results, secondhand boat list, plus committee contact details, checkout the website on

Jo Curtis

Contact details

• Eastern

Paul Pike -

• For further information on the class, please contact the secretary or your area representative

• Midland

Rodney Thorne -

• Secretary

Andy Turner -

• Northern

Daren Prior -

• Thames Valley Deryck Lovegrove - • Southern

Chris Arnell -

All OK Dec 07  

UK Newsletter of the International OK Dinghy British Class Association

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