2022 Allen OK National Championship Gear Review
by Karen Robertson Aug 5 3:41 AM PDT
14-17 July 2022
The OC is one of those classes where the sailor has multiple options for choosing equipment and how to set it up to suit him.
Of course it’s also possible to buy a full plug and play package from the main manufacturers, either here in the UK or from overseas, and be ready to win even at the highest level, but there are plenty of options for those too who want something different. Recent UK Nationals saw a range of kits with some interesting touches.
Both Ovington Boats and Synergy Marine have enviable records in the OK class. Both offer high quality, win-win packages with a proven track record. The Phil Morrison designed Ovington is legendary for its upwind speed while the current Synergy Marine hull is a Dave Hollom development of the Skipper hull design already renowned for its downwind speed.
Idol Composites, whose Icebreaker-based hulls have won world championships, has been quiet in recent years as Alex Scoles focused on other projects. However, rumors surface of an evolution of his Icebreaker-derived hull shape for class chairman Richard ‘Burt’ Burton. We’ll have to see what changes Burt and Alex come up with.
JJ Boats have over the last few years manufactured several top of the range hulls to the Leech Mk4 design, originally intended as a do-it-yourself kit but rated for heavier sailors and/or fresh water (e.g. Garda) with a world class performance record.
While each of the main designs has its own pros and cons, there is no doubt that they can all win in the right hands. To illustrate, the chocolates were fairly evenly spread at the recent UK Nationals, with Ovington having four boats in the top 10 (1st, 2nd, 4th, 10th), Synergy three (3rd, 6th, 9th and 9th). .) and idol two boats (7th and 8th). ). To shake it up a bit, there was also a home built boat that took an excellent 5th place.
Indeed the introduction of Dan Leech designed home build kits from New Zealand to the OK class was truly revolutionary worldwide and for most classes it has probably been decades since home build or semi home build boats were considered as a competitive opportunity. Not only has it enabled competitive boats to be built at home, but it has also allowed the class to expand into other territories where there are currently no manufacturers, such as: B. the USA, Italy and South America.
Using an Ikea-like laser cut template and laser cut panels, hull build is quick and precise with epoxy moldings and finished with glass encasement. Jim Downer had a credible 5th place finish at Nationals in the boat he built at his parents’ house during the 2020 lockdown, proving the concept is as good in practice as it is in theory.
Most European sailors use the Ceilidh masts from the Netherlands, but there are some C-Tech masts from New Zealand. Sails in the UK tend to come from North or HD Sails, both major players in the class but with a few other sailmakers in the UK fleet including Turtle, run by Kiwi OK legend Greg Wilcox in Germany, and UK Sails in Denmark have developed new designs together with Bo Petersen from Denmark.
Allen Sailing has made strong progress in the OK class in recent years with Ben Harden finishing 6th in the Allen Sailing sponsored Nationals. They have produced a new boom and kicker arm design and other OC specific components and while the top three sailors at the Nationals used New Zealand AOR booms we expect many more Allen booms to join the fleet.
For many years OKS has universally used fixed rudders due to the mix of power and weight and the relatively flat sheet makes launching with a fixed rudder perhaps less difficult than some other classes. In recent years, more lifting blades with Ovington’s new alloy shaft and JJ Boats beautiful carbon rudder stock have become widespread across the fleet.
Set up and optimize
When you walk around many dinghy classes, you sometimes find it difficult to tell the difference between most boats except by the color of the ropes. The OK fleet can be very diverse and even on “standard” boats there is always something interesting to look for. Here are some examples from the UK Nationals 2022 fleet Below deck controls were a thing in the 80’s but are making a comeback with sailors looking for a cleaner, low drag solution. This example is from Alex Scoles’ boat at Idol Composites
With the advent of 3D printing, we see various components appearing on boats. Synergy Marine produced colour-matched deck rings, mast chocks and steering pads using 3D printing technology to great effect on Patric Mure’s boat and Karen Robertson’s new Leech Mk 4 had a 3D printed compass mount made using her son’s 3D printer.
Two-time OC World Champion Jim Hunt came to the national teams in one of the most radical boats seen in several years. Another home built boat with input from Andy Rushworth and based on Dave Bourne’s ‘Neo’ design evolution of the skipper hull shape. Jim’s boat proved incredibly fast in the first race it had sailed and disappeared into the distance, although Jim’s undoubtedly formidable talents had quite a bit to do with it. Some of the most obvious features include “offset” side decks that make it look a bit like a stealth fighter, and a solid seat for the traveler that made the fleet wonder if it was Jim’s fault with his snacks versus the to hold wind. Less obvious touches included carbon and Velcro mast chocks instead of the usual shockcord system.
With OK Worlds coming to Lyme Regis in 2022 the UK fleet is sure to be hotter with several new sailors joining the fleet discovering not only the joys of the boat but also the possibilities of world class sailing and socializing at the many international events in the OK travelers. The 2021 World Cup, the first since 2019, is taking place in Sweden in August, but it appears the British fleet is opting to save itself for the Europeans at the must-see site of Bandol in the south of France at the end of September.
The next national OK event will be held at Stokes Bay in early September together with the Europeans, with whom we again share a stand at the Dinghy Show, and the RS300s. With a large contingent from Great Britain heading out for the European Championships a few weeks later it is likely to be a well attended and very competitive event.