"Those were the days my friend, I thought they'd never end...." - With my new Ok Dinghy - Pleasant Point Yacht Club. Christchurch. - circa 1968.
When I grew out of my P Class yacht ( although one never really grows out of a P Class as the Cygnet Project shows) I bought this Ok Dinghy called 'Okere' - a Maori name the meaning of which I never knew at the time and now having just looked it up in my Maori Dictionary cannot find the word at all! - The closest is 'Okereha' which means orchestra..
I purchased Okere for NZ$140 in 1967 when I was 16 and too old by class rules to race my P Class 'Elusive'. It was quite a step up from the little 7 foot P Class to the Ok Dinghy at nearly 14 feet. Everything was bigger in every way possible and a lot more effort was needed to keep the Ok sailing on an even keel and sailing well - But the reward was there - if the P Class is a smart little sailer, then the Ok Dinghy is a rocket ship - off the wind with the sheets eased in any sort of breeze the Ok planes with a vengeance - it is fast and furious stuff in a big wind but incredibly exciting - pure joy, yippeeeee sailing!.
The Ok Dinghy started life in 1956 when the Ok Dinghy design was created in the hands of two Danes - Knud Olsen who was asked to design a yacht by a group of Danish 'Pirat' class sailors who wanted an inexpensive one man planing, racing dinghy that was cheap, could be amateur built and was able to be transported on top of a car - and Paul Elvstrom the four times Olympic Finn Class salior who was asked to design the Ok Dinghies rig. Paul suggested a flexible unstayed mast similar to that used on the Finn. The rest is history as they say and class numbers boomed around the world. Fleets of OK Dinghies sail and race all over the globe to this day.
After the successful completion of the Cygnet project I would really like to find an Ok Dinghy that I could do a similar restoration on.
But finding a suitable boat to purchase may be difficult. Today's competitive racing Ok dinghy is built of exotic fiberglass, with a carbon fibre mast and a lot of other expensive go fast gizmo's. What I am looking for is a boat similar to the one I had when I was younger - i.e. a classic plywood Ok Dinghy with a wooden mast and a nice wooden deck that I could varnish up like a Steinway piano. To date I have not seen anything of this classic nature for sale - But I am sure there is a lovely classic OK lady out there all ready for a bit of TLC from yours truly - so I will keep my ear to the ground and my eyes on the online boat section of 'Trade Me'
If you know of one For Sale / For Sail - please let me know!