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Focus on development in July 2020 edition of OK Dinghy International magazine

by Robert Deaves 27 Jul 11:07 PDT

With hardly any sailing to report, the July 2020 issue of OK Dinghy International focuses on the continual development of the class worldwide, including many building projects that are helping the class to expand.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of all international events so far, there are high hopes for a number of events in the coming months. The Danish nationals already has more than 100 entries, the rescheduled Kiel Week was quickly oversubscribed, with the Autumn Trophy in Bandol and the Dutch nationals following soon after.

In his President's Letter, Mark Jackson writes, "It is important to bring the impact on our class into perspective in relation to the tragedy and uncertainty being felt around the world, both as a health crisis and an economic crisis. Our thoughts are with sailors who may have lost family, friends or are, or have, been sick themselves. It is tough we can't gather in numbers and see each other, and have a beer, as we were planning in August in Marstrand. But it is better to be safe so we can get together for many years to come."

"We will get past this. In the meantime, for those of you able to go for a sail, whether that be on your own, at your local club, within your country or even across a national border, enjoy. The OK Dinghy was perfectly designed for isolation."

There is an exciting amount of OK Dinghy building and growth worldwide, both in terms of new boats being built, but also new nations coming into OKDIA. One of the key drivers of this has been the Dan Leech CNC plans, which have inspired many to go back to basics and build their own boats. In addition two of the major builders retooled over the winter and are building boats as fast as they can.

In recent years, new boats have, or are being built, in Italy, Russia and Thailand with several new countries also starting to sail the boat. The OKDIA office has been inundated with news of home builds and used boat registrations around the world. The fleet in the USA is now taking off with a container load of used boats being imported, as well as a set of moulds kindly offered by Strandberg Marine in Denmark. The magazine includes a summary of all the developments, all of which are positive news for the class in an uncertain time.

Over the past few years the OK Dinghy fleet in Queensland, Australia, has been one of the fastest growing regions for the class. Local boatbuilder Damien Widdy has been an instrumental part of that growth building. This issue included an interview where he explains the evolution of the Leech hull shape and his role in that. The class is looking forward to its 2024 World Championship in Queensland and the growth building up to that event.

Matt Mason from New Zealand is a veteran of seven America's Cup campaigns, including being on the winning team four times. He moved into the OK Dinghy in 2013 at Wakatere Boating Club on Auckland North Shore, the venue for last year's world championship.

He says he has learned plenty from sailing the OK Dinghy.

"If you get the basics right and as long as you are on the pace, pretty much everything else will line up."

The OK Dinghy "...allows amazing racing across a very wide range of ages and abilities. You can be going tack for tack with an ex-Olympian, or getting your ass kicked by a 70 year old on any one day."

"When you compare it to other classes the OK Dinghy is pretty good value for money, cost and numbers and a good all round boat. We need to keep encouraging people into the class - once they get in it's pretty hard to get out."

At the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, current OK Dinghy World Champion, Dan Slater, ran a series of online webinars for singlehanded sailors from his home in Auckland. One series of talks focused on masts and sails for OKs and Finns. With kind permission, we have reproduced some of those talks in this issue, a fascinating read for anyone consumed by mysterious mast bends

The OK Dinghy Ranking list is 15 years old this year, though is currently suspended due to the pandemic. While it was started as a bit of fun and to give the class some promotion, it has become a regular fixture two or three times each year. As well as the full list of 538 sailors on the list, the magazine looks at the statistics and high performers over the past 15 years.

The July 2020 edition also includes:

  • Extended interview with Göran Andersson on his inclusion in the OKDIA Hall of Fame
  • A look at the huge development of the French fleet over the past 5 years
  • Updates from the USA fleets
  • Interviews with Strandberg Marine and Synergy Marine on their new tooling
  • The first OK Dinghy in Italy and Russia for a generation
  • Tribute to Bill Bell
  • Overview of all rule changes that are now effective
  • Report on the growth in the Stockholm fleet.
A final word to thank all our sponsors. At a time when everyone was struggling, and the future uncertain, the response for advertising support was amazing. This issue carried more advertising than any previous issue - a clear demonstration of the confidence in the class at the moment.

The OK Dinghy Magazine was published on July 27 and can be read online via Issuu or downloaded as a PDF (4.5mb) here.

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