Alf Lock (right) one of the original 1949 World Championship crew, on the 18fter Komutu after she was relaunched in 2006. Richard Gladwell
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for 10 October 2011
We're sad to report the passing of Alf Lock, one of the real professionals and original thinkers of the New Zealand sailing scene.
He grew up a few doors up the road in Stanley Bay, and hung around Jack Logan's boatbuilding shed on the other side of the bay. An associate described him as 'the son that Jack Logan never had'. And it was probably that childhood, spent around a man who was a hard taskmaster, but with a wicked sense of humour that shaped the boy into the man that we knew.
Alf went on to crew for Logan in the mighty 18fter Komutu which won the World Championship in 1949. After becoming an apprentice at the Dockyard, Alf joined what was the Consolidated Chemicals, perhaps better known for its Epiglass brand, of which Alf was the lead technical consultant.
Those were the pioneering days for the paint, resin, glue industry - and Epiglass in turn paved the way for others to follow. After a bout of ill health caused by prolonged exposure to resins and paint products (of which little was known in the early days), Alf Lock turned to marine consulting being an expert witness in many cases, and was a superb investigator and adviser of rectification in others.
Lock also carved a name for himself in the then new field of boat measurement - especially in the OK class, developing a measurement jig system in 1970 to speed up, but still very accurately measure the hard-chined single hander.
Alf Lock explaining a point during a measurement session in the 1977 OK Worlds
The new system created an enormous ruckus in the class as boats which had wriggled through measurement for years were quickly picked out - and then the arguments started. However you could never win an argument with Alf and his measurement system, because no-one could ever show where it was wrong. Alf would engage in patient, very precise argument, never altering the tone of his voice, and never turning the argument personal, to show exactly where your boat was wrong, and what you had to do to fix it. Often he would almost do the fix job for you. Alf certainly had the courage of his convictions - an essential quality in any top measurer.
Then the gamekeeper turned poacher, designing boats in several one-design classes. His was a simple formula of working the allowable tolerances and the same edges - maximum legal waterline length, minimum waterline beam, and straightening the waterlines. And then Alf made sure his new progeny would measure - requiring very precise building. Probably his most notable design project was the Alf Lock designed hull in the OK Dinghy - which has performed at the top of the class since it was first launched.
Alf started learning in Jack Logan's shed, and never stopped until the end. He was a great mentor and always shared what he knew in a completely open way - so that everyone learned from the experience, and the sport was better for it.
His service is on Tuesday.
Wakatere Boating Club - Opening Day 2011 Richard Gladwell
Many thanks to those who have contributed to this edition, particularly those using our online submission and image loading facility which can be accessed by clicking here
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