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More new OK dinghies were built in 2020 than in any year since 1980 - July 2021 magazine reveals

by Robert Deaves 16 Jul 2021 08:41 PDT
Jens Lauge © Robert Deaves

Despite little international racing over the past two years, the OK Dinghy class is growing at a phenomenal rate worldwide. More new boats were built in 2020 than in any year since 1980, and already in 2021 newbuilds are looking likely to be just as high. In fact, more new boats have been built in each of the last four years than in any year since 1980.

There is huge demand for new and used boats and the boatbuilders are working flat out to keep pace with demand.

In addition, OKDIA has welcomed three new member nations in the past year: Brazil, Bulgaria and Italy and is hoping to join up three or four more new members in the coming year. In addition to the many commercial builders, boats are also being built in Russia, Brazil, Italy, Spain and a new venture is about to start building in the USA, after Danish builder Jesper Strandberg generously provided some old moulds to get them started.

The new edition July 2021 of the OK Dinghy Magazine highlights all these developments and includes a number of interviews with sailors worldwide.

Read the whole magazine here

Jens Lauge has been sailing OK Dinghies for around 12 years and is regularly in the front group in Danish fleets. Now sailing out of Hellerup, which boasts one of the largest fleets of OKs in the world, he is the perfect example of the demographic that the Danish expansion has attracted, middle aged, looking for relatively cheap, easily accessible and strong competition.

He says the attraction of the class is, "...really a mix of the simplicity of sailing on your own time, and the complexity of the gear that's intrigued me. I think I must have sailed locally for just a year, before I moved my dinghy to Hellerup. On a bad day, we're no less than 5-6 dinghies on 'Stormy Bay' and on good days we have 15."

Read the full interview here

Pontus Gäbel talks about the fastest growing OK Dinghy fleet in Sweden, OKWiken, in Viken on the west coast.

"After careful consideration I bought the best boat I could find whilst still allowing me to hit water the same season and get ready for the Worlds in Marstrand around the corner. From the first tack in my new boat, it felt like coming home. I realised how much I had missed the freedom of being able to sail anytime conditions allowed; my first summer back in the OK class was a mix of pure joy and excitement trying to stay upright on the downwind legs.

"During the summer of 2019 you could see two boats on the water outside Viken almost every day. The new OK fleet was a fact although still small. Every day when we launched or pulled up the boats someone came by and talked of fond memories from their own youth spent in an OK Dinghy or other similar boats. The word spread quickly.

"The latest count is 24 boats, and growing."

Read the full story here

In 'The best OK Dinghy sailors of all time' chapter in Completely OK, Michael Nissen is number 34. He sailed the OK Dinghy from 1966 to 1977, picking up bronze medals at the 1976 Worlds in Nykøping, Denmark, and the 1977 Worlds in Takapuna, New Zealand. Now, after a 44-year break from the class he is back with a home built Dan Leach Mk 4.

He hadn't really followed the class in the intervening years, but "My interest started again with using Youtube and watching videos. I looked at every photo or video so I could get an impression of what had happened in the class since 1977. But nevertheless it was a jump into cold water. Not surprisingly many things have changed. I think the main reason [I came back] was the possibility to build it myself relatively easily from CNC cut parts."

He just finished sixth at the International Regatta at Arco on Garda in the boat he built for himself.

Read the full story here

Olympic medalist and coach, and pro sailor John Cutler describes how and why he recently got into OK Dinghy sailing in New Zealand

"I called Rod Davis and said I was interested in the class and asked if there was a boat I could borrow, just to see if I remembered how to sail. That was organised instantly. I called Josh and Andy (NZ Olympic Finn Sailors) and asked for recommendations of what sailing kit I needed and promptly I had all the gear, with no idea what awaited me.

"The first sail was a real shock - I was a complete beginner, but managed to stay upright and not hit my head on the boom. I expected to be at the back of the fleet and extremely tired, but was further back and completely stuffed. A couple of weekends like this and I decided that it was time to purchase a boat and take things slightly more seriously.

After the Olympics and some TP racing he is, "..finally back home ready to go OK sailing late November. There will be a new OK waiting in my garage when I get home."

Read the full story here

Matt Mason also talks in depth about building the new Dan Leech Maverick Mk5 design, one of which is for John Cutler.

"The first three boats are for John Cutler, John Cobb and myself. John Cobb was the main sponsor of the 2019 Symonite World championship in Auckland, and he has now joined the class. We are now able to go into production and streamline construction, which is key. The cost of the OK is very competitive which I feel helps with the success of the class. This is definitely not going to be a money making venture.

"However, we are now into the fun time and it's time to go sailing. I have sailed the boat several times now. After not sailing for 18 months and with the small amount of racing I have done, the boat feels really, really nice. As they always say, 'speed is your friend'.

Read the full article here

The July 2021 issue of OK Dinghy Magazine also includes:

  • Previews to the 2022 and 2023 World Championships
  • Overview of the rules of Certification, Registration and Paperwork for new boats
  • Results from the past year
  • And lots of news, great photos and adverts from the class's fantastic suppliers.

Hard copies are in the mail to sailors worldwide, but this edition, like always, can be read online here.

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