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A compelling case to sail the OK Dinghy - 26. April 2016

By Robert Deaves

The new OK Dinghy European Champion Bo Petersen of Denmark features on the front cover of the April 2016 OK Dinghy International magazine, which was launched during the recent European Championship in Medemblik.

The class president, Bio Teglers says in his letter, After reading the draft of the magazine I couldn’t stop smiling while thinking about the progression of our class. I started in the OK Dinghy exactly 20 years ago. I had read an article in a Danish newspaper about the OK Dinghy class. The article described how the class both had great sailors and a great social atmosphere. The class at the time was great, especially for a student with no money. My first regatta was the 1996 Danish Championship in Kaløvig. When looking at the list of competitors in that regatta 20 of the 49 sailors are still active sailors; this tells us that we must be doing something right. Today we are growing in numbers again and most importantly numbers at international events are increasing.

There is an extensive interview with Petersen, looking at his sailing career and why he started sailing the OK Dinghy at the age of 49. He joined the very competitive fleet at Hellerup, in Copenhagen. Despite the high level, he explains that the fleet in Hellerup is not always the best place for proper training sessions. It always turns into a World Championship. Normally, there are 4-12 OK Dinghies and we do five or six up and downwind races with rabbit starts. We all use our best gear and full power setup since no one wants to lose.

He thinks the best training session is when this concept is dropped and you do either speed training through line-ups or just practice boat handling through specific exercises. I have had many great training sessions with Stefan Myrälf and Jørgen Lindhartdsen. They have sailed so many line-ups and they know both how to do it properly to get the maximum out of it.

For a mid-fleet racer that wants to get closer to the top, he recommends time on the water. For all sailors that want to improve I can only say find the desire to train hard and sail often. Whenever you have questions or technical issues you do not grasp, ask for advice. I would say that every good sailor in the OK Dinghy class is more than willing to help out.

In another feature Grant Wakefield talks about how he also came to the OK Dinghy class late in life and how, as a relatively lightweight sailor, managed to find a rig that suited his sailing style. He says, The OK Dinghy world is a place where you quickly belong through just becoming involved. The sharing of knowledge is always only a question away and the encouragement and support of fellow competitors made the steep learning curve a little shallower.

He explains how he developed his rig to suit his weight, My first boat had a very stiff MkI C-Tech carbon mast, which was fine for a heavyweight sailor but put a 70kg sailor ‘on his ear’ at each little puff. Greg Wilcox at Turtle Sails generously recommended optimum mast bend numbers suitable for my weight and this information was passed on to C-Tech who built a really cool two-piece mast to suit. This mast, combined with a matching sail also made to suit my weight, made a significant difference.

He is also full of enthusiasm for the class. The pleasure of sailing the boat, the camaraderie among the people in the class and the wonderful opportunity to compete in World Championships in a dinghy class that contains so many good people makes a compelling case.

This issue also includes:

  • The Tiki story – the story behind a ceramic Maori icon presented by the New Zealand fleet to the top-performing Kiwi each day at major regattas.
  • Round-up from the 2015 World Championship in Puck
  • Looking ahead to the 2016 World Championship in Quiberon France and the 2017 World Championship in Barbados.
  • Return of the Dutchmen – how the Dutch class has become established and is growing
  • Results from many regattas the past year
  • The complete World Ranking List from March 2016 showing 463 sailors competing in at least one qualifying regatta.

The May 2015 Magazine as PDF (low resolution images) (PDF, 3182 KB)
Or read it online at issuu