It is getting to that time of year again. So, although we’re not doing a lot of dinghy sailing this year, it doesn’t stop us having a soft spot for dinghy sailing merchandise.
Have a look. Maybe there’ll be something you like.
Meantime, sail on!
A number of factors have conspired over the last year to reduce the amount of OK Dinghy sailing going on. And the factors aren’t going away any time soon.
The Laser class in Dun Laoghaire has decided that they’ll only race against other Lasers. No other single handed dinghies welcome. Which leaves the OK trying to stay intact while sharing a race-course with the IDRA14 fleet. No fun.
Plus, with a third member of the family taking up kiting, there’s been more and more time hooked into kite-lines and less and less time hiking out.
Plus, with no interest from the wider community in the OK Dinghy, it’s time for a pause.
Meantime, here’s what we’re at.
Have fun. We are.
The final results for the Autumn Series of the DMYC Frostbites were published after the last day was blown out. Blown out by a TOTAL lack of wind – the kind of which you do not expect to see in December. There are no photos of that day, but the previous week had almost as little wind and there were some great photos.
The Milky Bar Kid ended the first season in 3rd place overall. That’s a better outcome than expected. It was all very tight once you got away from Colin G in his RS Aero, who ran away with the season.
Perhaps we’ll do better in the Winter season, which starts in the New Year.
Meantime, a Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year to all.
Two races on a sunny afternoon in Dun Laoghaire. Twenty starters on the pin biased line made it hard to get clean away, but 45 seconds after the start the MBK was looking down at the vast majority of the fleet, with only the RS400, Finn and the ever speedy RS Aero sliding ahead. Still struggling for upwind speed, the OK Dinghy rounded with the RS200s, with the Wayfarer close behind. From there it was a game of staying out of trouble and trying to get clear air. That last tenth of upwind speed would be VERY useful.
A couple of laps later the Wayfarer had passed, having taken advantage of a shift on the 3rd beat and the Finn and Aero were long gone too. Plus, never to be ignored, that Harding chappy in the Mirror snuck into the results again, taking 3rd.
That’s a pretty mixed set of results, though the Aero was again untouchable.
Race 2 had the same pin bias and the OK Dinghy was lucky to get a good start after the Aero brought the two boats to a stop 20m short of the pin as the gun went. Didn’t seem much point in that, but a lucky opening let the OK tack and cross most of the fleet anyway. There was even a vague chance that the OK might have made it first to the windward mark, but in the end it was Aero, Finn and OK dinghy in quick succession. Upwind speed was definitely improved, with the settings for the North coming back from long-term memory. Most noticeable was that the Lasers were NOT catching upwind this time.
In the end the Aero still won, but only by 4 seconds from the OK Dinghy with the Wayfarer just 30 seconds further back.
Overall the Aero is gone gone gone, clear ahead in first. It’ll be tight with the OK Dinghy, the Wayfarer and the Mirror for 2nd and 3rd….discards will play a role!
Onwards and upwards, hopefully.
Another decent start – maybe a couple of seconds early at the boat, requiring a quick drop down the line – but still clear and fast. The momentary doubt that the MBK was over the line was unfounded, but someone was over.
Colin G’s RS Aero started closer to the boat and by the time the OK Dinghy tacked to clear the RS 400, the Aero was already gone. It’s fast.
Only part of the way through the season, and after a slow start things are going a little less slowly.
After 6 races, of which the MBK raced in 5, Colin G in the RS Aero is running away with PY. He’s discarding a 2nd place finish! The OK dinghy seems to be going a bit quicker. Better starts and less awful speed have put us in 2nd overall. But a LONG way back from Colin.
Also, we’re still a long way from the pace we’d reached before missing a lot of the last year’s sailing. Best guess is that we’re still at least a couple of minutes an hour off previous pace. That’s a lot. Fitness, practice, manoeuvres, etc.
Part of the improvement today was that the North sail came back out of emergency storage and was re-deployed. Straight away the MBK felt easier to sail. Best guess is that the North is easily more than a minute an hour faster than the P&B, plus a lot easier to trim. Now that’s not a fair comparison since the North was made-to-measure and the P&B wasn’t. But for here, for now, it’s a fact…..the North is faster.
As a general rule, the skipper of the MBK won’t let people overtake to windward. He warns, politely, that he can point REALLY high if needed and then the overtaking boat has to make its own decisions.
It’s a long established policy. Boats from Spain to Zeeland, much of the UK and several parts of Ireland have wondered why the policy is maintained with such vigor.
Well, last weekend policy enforcement was slack. But it provided a good reminder of why the policy is there….
See – no more passing to windward.
Getting back in the boat after a long lay-off is always a challenge. But GPS is there to help you see where you’re going slowly….which is too often.
Reviewing the last week’s races and comparing to a Finn, it’s clear that the OK can keep up most of the time, but that there are periods of sloth – particularly downwind in the first race.
Race 1 was banjaxed after an unyielding port tack boat forced the MBK into bad wind shadow on the approach to the first mark…but also by bad downwind speed.
Race 2 was a bit better…though there’s still a speed problem.
Well, the OK Dinghy was at least featuring in the action this week. Results aren’t out yet but maybe 5th in Race 1 and 2nd in Race 2 make a better result than last week.
A decent start in race 1 was wasted after getting swallowed by faster boats and spat back into the melee, from which there’s no escape in a PY fleet.
But a SPECTACULAR start in Race 2 got the Milky Bar Kid out at the front of the fleet and a 2nd place finish to Colin G’s RS Aero. Colin won both races on the day and is showing great speed.
The start had the MBK port tack the whole fleet at the pin. As clean a getaway as you could ever want. Sadly, the on-board GoPro points forward so there’s no video of the scene. The GoPro did capture a not-untypical IDRA14 interaction at the windward mark,
and the usual excellent DMYC camera crew at the windward mark captured a scene of the MBK’s skipper looking unusually serious.
Another big conclusion is that the P&B main just isn’t as fast as the old worn-out North sail. Now if only North Sails UK would reply to the email asking for a price on a new one….
The DMYC’s on-water photographer got a decent pic of the Milky Bar kid on approach to the weather mark last Sunday.
The tuning question that springs to mind is whether the skipper should be sitting further forward or not….anyone?
Lots of other photos too, of the rest of the fleet.
Well, no victories, but after 6 months away that would have been too much to expect.
Still struggling with the P&B main (not ‘cos it’s bad, just ‘cos it’s different) and WAAAY out of practice, but the shoulder held up.
6th and 7th in the racing in a fleet of 24 isn’t BAD, but not great either.
Haven’t (and probably won’t) have time to cut this video down, but it shows that chewing gum is a visually unattractive habit and that the Milky Bar Kid is out of practice.
The recent DMYC regatta saw the Milky Bar Kid struggling for speed, for tactical position, and the skipper nursing recurrence of an old injury.
The results were not good on the day. Beaten on the water by a variety of boats and left for dead by the Lasers.
Looking at the GPS trace it’s apparent that pinching was the cause. Pinching makes you SLOOOW and makes you go sideways. Really easy to see on a trace.
Anyway, since then the injury has persisted and there’s been no sailing.
Another sunny Sunday with light to moderate winds brought mostly the same core of sailors to the startline, although with the SID team all away, no Finn and only two lasers it was a sparse enough crew for such a glorious day.
The committee had logistics problems getting the line ready, having to use the spare committee boat, and the first startline was drifting badly as the OK Dinghy lined up for a then VERY biased boat end. The K1 went for the gap – which wasn’t there – and the OK and K1 both ended up sailing down the line on a broad reach to avoid the K1 rear-ending the RIYC’s committee boat. The committee blew an abandonment at about the same second that the K1’s jib halyard broke in the middle of its penalty turns, leaving it bareheaded and badly handicapped for all the races but looking sleeker than before.
In the subsequent starts the OK Dinghy went for the pin each time, and pretty much won it.
However, that didn’t stop Paul Keane’s Laser easing out to a good position on the right, both times and making the mark slightly ahead. That was really the story of both races with the Laser just easing ahead and the OK unable to keep the gap close enough.
There was a moment of excitement in Race 2. Keane’s Laser found a shift on the right and was coming back along the layline, getting increasingly lifted. The OK tacked ahead and to leeward (not in an aggressive lee-bow position) and the race for the windward mark began as the tide and the right shift brought both boats along the layline. After hard work from both skippers, the Laser managed to roll over the MBK a few lengths from the mark.
That was the flavour of the day. The Laser was a little bit faster and the OK couldn’t stay close enough to make up the gap on handicap. Upwind a few seconds. Downwind a few seconds.
Interestingly, with the changes in PY over the last years, yesterday’s times would have meant a win for the OK up to 2013, a tie then, and with the numbers for the last couple of years resulted in losses by approx 20 seconds in both races.
But no argument from here. No mistakes by Keane and twas a well deserved double bullet on the day with the OK taking a pair of 2nds. Murphy’s K1 took two 3rd place finishes despite sailing bare-headed, with the others further back.
There’s a very rig focused video available here.
Back to wider angle shooting next time!
The recent light wind Tuesday was a great occasion for practicing roll tacks. But more practice is required.
Twas actually quite fun.
Tuesday night had a forecast for absolute champagne sailing. Sun, 15 knots, warm.
The dinghy fleets turned up with great enthusiasm and rigged in the sunshine. But without the breeze. After a delay while the committee boat checked the lack of wind the sailors launched and drifted out.
The racing did go ahead with just about enough wind to move, but not much more. The MBK nailed the pin end start then tacked and crossed the fleet, though it was very tight with an IDRA14 also timing the run pretty well. Being ahead and having clean air made a HUGE difference on such an evening and the OK Dinghy stayed ahead of the chasing Fireballs for the whole race.
Some people relaxed into an evening of sun and calm, while some others looked pretty peeved at racing in such light winds. The comfort of an OK Dinghy does help in light conditions. So much space!
That was it, really. The OK Dinghy won the PY race by >6 minutes. Twas tight in some of the other fleets, as you might guess from the photos.
(photos by Colin Galavan and Ros Bremner – used with permission, all rights reserved)
On a day of sunny spells and scattered thundershowers, the racing today saw wind from every possible direction. It even blew at reasonable strength except during the actual races. One of those days when your Zen level is severely tested.
A very large thunderhead was passing east over Dublin city and out over Howth head, creating great photo opportunities with the Laser Masters fully sunlit in the foreground and towering black behind. The wind faithfully pointed at the centre of the stormcloud as the storm went east, with the wind direction steadily cranking to the right from East to South East in the dinghy race area near Dun Laoghaire. The committee relaid the marks several times under a postponement flag while the wind blew steadily at a force 5.
Upwind tuning 5 mins before the start required hiking with the track down and the cunningham on. About 90seconds before the start, the Milky Bar Kid’s tiller extension UJ ripped about 95% of the way across, requiring a stop to reinforce with a spare line.
Today that was the main thing – stay in breeze. With winds in the mid-single digits, power was everything today. Get a puff and you could gain 30 metres in a hundred. Miss a puff and the losses were as big. With an underlying 5-6 knots these 8-9 knot puffs were hard to spot, but not quite impossible. Not quite. But in any case the wind direction was pretty stable so even if there was a shift the important thing was to stay in breeze. Tack to stay in the breeze, whether you were headed or not!
In Race 1 the OK Dinghy cleanly won the pin end, locking out Keane’s Laser from his attempted pin end flyer. Nice timing from both boats, but starboard advantage told.
Up the first beat and Keane’s Laser and the OK Dinghy swapped tacks a couple of times, with the Laser usually slightly ahead.
Both these boats had pulled ahead of the pack, with Tate’s Finn lagging a little and a couple of other Lasers and the SID Vagos quite a bit further back. It stayed like that up the long beat.
Wow, what a contrast!
Sunday 8th saw very little wind and LOTS of sun. Tuesday 10th saw strong winds and it was so dark during the racing that the support RIBs ran with their lights on.
Prior to the launch the main discussions among the fleets were;
Well, there was wind. And the big black cloud was significant.
In PY Richard Tate’s Finn was flying, certainly making up the handicap and showing that he’s been pushing ahead with his sailing level while the OK Dinghy contingent was away from sailing.
He won both races with the OK Dinghy struggling to hold 2nd. Upwind in the second race the OK Dinghy tried even MORE cunningham and a bit less outhaul and a chunk less centreboard. Helped a LOT. The Finn was still gone but the gap upwind was a lot less and the boat was a lot easier to steer over the waves.
The Lasers were capsizing all over the place, though perhaps no more than the Fireballs and the heavy 17ft Mermaids all went home after Race 1, with at least one IDRA crew falling out of the boat.
The return to the slipway was pretty tense for the Finn and OK too, with a dead downwind landing on a wave affected slip. But both boats managed it very well!
No results yet, more as we hear it.
Finally back on the water at the same time as a race is on! This time the Milky Bar kid was about an hour early – having misread the sailing instructions. Hey ho. There was a desperate need to practice and the time was used very productively.
Then the wind started to fade. Dublin bay is semi-circular so seabreezes are fickle things, and today we got fickle. Steady in direction, apart from a gradual right drift, but very weak.
The first race saw the Milky Bar kid messing around a little too far from the line once the postponement came down, only getting back to the startline at least 90 seconds after the rest of the PY fleet. But having spent time getting used to the conditions, the OK Dinghy was in 2nd on the water by the windward mark and passed the K1 down the run to take line honors. And with all the other boats giving time, it’s a win for sure.
2nd race was more or less the same, apart from being on time to the start, and the K1 being tuned in as well. The K1 was first on the water by a few seconds, with the OK Dinghy second. Corrected time should see the OK dinghy leading the way.
No video, unfortunately. Pilot error. Doh.
The first race of the summer season should have been last Tuesday, but it was blown out.
Then the OK Dinghies were aiming for this Sunday, but weren’t ready on time and missed the start. However, racing went ahead and the Milky Bar Kid did manage to get onto the water – only about two hours too late.
Still, with the breeze piping up there was some full-on planing over and back between Poolbeg and the harbor mouth. It’s certainly a lot faster than Google Maps thinks it is!
Onwards to next week.
The OK Dinghies in Ireland are emerging from their slumber.
With summer 2015 curtailed due to injury and pressures of work, and one of the windiest and wettest winters on record, the OK Dinghies have been stored out of harms way for a while. First in a garden near Dun Laoghaire, more recently behind the stables of an old stately home in Kildare. And with the prospect of more arrivals in 2015, including one potential from New Zealand, perhaps we’ll finally see a proper fleet in 2016.
One of the impressive features of the winter, particularly for the all-wood Beastie, was the fact that she stayed bone dry inside all through. That Synergy cover and proper positioning seems to do the trick.
Onwards to the summer. No activity until after the lift-out, which itself isn’t until Easter, but they’re there and ready.
The normal DBSC racing is occasionally replaced by a special regatta. This was the weekend for the Royal Alfred Yacht Club’s “Bloomsday Regatta”.
It was a glorious Saturday, for a change, and saw a good fleet of Lasers on their startline but a rather disappointing PY fleet for the OK Dinghy to take on. Nonetheless, the challenge was there and had to be faced.
Two races later, the trophy was won. Rather nice too.
The racing itself was tactically challenging, with bigger and longer windshifts embedded within a pattern of small oscillating shifts. Get one wrong and you were in trouble!
See the videos below
No racing this past Saturday either!
37 knot gusts on Dublin Bay through the morning and up to lunchtime caused the committees to decide a cancellation/abandonment was in order. And with the wind continuing for the afternoon I think that they were right.
So instead of sailing we were watching a very sunny and VERY windy Dublin Bay from the land side.
It’s been a windy season so far!
Saturday and Tuesday last didn’t see any OK Dinghies on the line. Timing on Saturday May 30th saw the MBK missing the racing and it appears that Tuesday 2nd June was a washout with 36knot gusts cancelling racing. And meantime Beastie has lost her skipper for the summer with a non-sailing injury. Darn!!
So, a quiet few days on the OK Dinghy front! Onwards and upwards. MBK should be on the water again on Saturday, chasing Finns and K1s around the course.
Tuesday night 26th of May saw one of the few Tuesdays this year where the racing (i) happened at all and (ii) happened on Scotsman’s Bay, where it’s supposed to happen. It’s been a windy spring with many cancellations or retreats to the sheltered conditions inside the harbor walls.
On this night, with the Milky Bar Kid lining up against two Finns, a K1 and a variety of IDRA14s and Mermaids it was going to be important to have a good start. But with a strong pin bias and a windward flowing tide and no watch the OK Dinghy skipper had not set himself up for success. But it had to be tried anyway!
Half way up the line the OK dropped back out of the lineup and reached along behind the fleet to find a new gap, finally finding one surrounded by IDRA14 and the K1. At the gun the K1 was ahead and looked to have got it right but was called back leaving the lucky (skillful??) OK Dinghy sitting pretty, ahead of the IDRA14s and with just enough space to tack and cross the Finn.
Up the beat it was a tacking match with the leading Finn, and similarly down the run before the Finn got ahead. Up the next beat the OK Dinghy got some good shifts and led around the windward mark, but over time the first Finn and the K1 started to haul the OK Dinghy back into their sights and they both just about overtook the Milky Bar Kid in the run to the finish. On corrected time the OK dinghy should come out ahead and it was a great battle. But length and sail area pay off!
The evening got interesting with the Lasers causing a general recall in their start, being pushed to the end of the starting sequence, and the committee not shortening the Laser race. Many of the Lasers expected it would be shortened and went for the line instead of the next lap, but the dying wind started to turn the race inside out with smarts overtaking speed in the battle for honours. Ross O’Leary was finally the leading Laser Standard but Shirley took the overall prize in her Radial, finishing 3rd across the line.
All this left the other fleets waiting for the Lasers to finish instead of everyone starting a second race. In the end, with the wind confused and the fleets getting cold, everyone gave up and came home and the 2nd race was abandoned. Hey ho. A pity.
Ok, we’ve sailed and swum on windier days, but this Saturday was still pretty windy. The weather station on the downwind side of Dun Laoghaire harbor registered 25 knot steady with 30knot gusts and there were certainly a few knots more – and big chop – on the upwind side of the walls.
But we stayed upright, went fast, and had fun.
Heading out to the start through the building wind there was a moment wondering “are there any other dinghies out here?” and unfortunately there were not. Apparently there had been a meeting of the minds, or a briefing in a bar somewhere, and all the other dinghies knew not to appear. The Flying Fifteens and Squibs had come onto the course, but there were no other PY boats, no Mermaids, no IDRA14s, no anything without lead or iron fixed solidly underneath.
Sailing around before the start in “only” 25 knot gusts we put in a few gybes and they came off very well. Power reaching was nicely under control and – unlike later – there was no solid water coming over the bow.
Onwards to the start.
Now since there was no competition on the line this should have been straightforward. Big pin bias. So the plan was to cruise along and start at the pin. But a confused or merely discourteous Squib was following us closely down the line and a last-second windshift made it all a bit hectic with an unplanned tack at the gun. Turned out well with a pin end flyer on port…crossing the whole fleet….ehem.
So off we went upwind nicely under control, mainly experimenting with leech tension and crossing the very short and very steep chop. A little bit loose certainly makes life easier and – from the GPS tracks – a little faster too. And sometimes the chop was just brutal, practically stopping the boat entirely.
Downwind we also experimented. Is broad reaching faster than going straight downwind? The calculations are pending.
Reaching is certainly more exciting! Water over the bow, 12.5knot+ speeds, lots of whoosing. With the main sheeted well in the dead run is actually pretty stable and since it seems to be almost impossible to get the boat to plane properly on a dead run there seems little point in taking more risk than necessary on that course. Now to run the arithmetic.
A couple of laps in to the race we noticed that there were bits falling off some of the Flying Fifteens and that the wind was building even more. So we headed home, and getting home to a warm shower under our own power is better than needing to be rescued. As retirees for the day it’s possible we get the same points as those who didn’t even turn up, but that’s just life.
The trip home was power broad reaching all the way, including one moment when the MBK went through the wake of a passing cruiser. I don’t mean over, I mean through. Solid white water over the deck, cockpit half full afterwards. And all on video, hopefully!!
After a weekend on Committee Boat duty and another weekend when the racing was blown out it was nice to get back on the water in the OK Dinghy. Absurdly, the skipper of “Beastie” banjaxed their knee again so was not available only weeks after getting back in the boat, leaving the MBK lining up at the start as the only OK Dinghy on the line again. We’ll have to wait a while yet for Trevor’s boat to be ready!
With the competition in PY fairly thin on the ground the plan for the day was to concentrate on the starts and on trying different tune options for the mainsail – and to see if we could get a good race against the Dublin Bay Mermaids. Despite being 17ft long Mermaids are about the same speed in all but power planing conditions downwind so it all worked out pretty well. We had a couple of nice matched beats upwind and a couple of leeward mark roundings with them and the you-never-know-what-they’ll-do-next IDRA14s.
Two races on the day and an abandoned (and resailed) 2nd race meant a good workout and a lot of ground covered. The beats were only .75km long but plenty of laps and that abandoned race meant a total of 25km of sailing on the day was a good return to action.
So…on to the learnings on the day….
Now they’re sailmakers because they’re good sailors as much as them being good sailors because they’re sailmakers, but it was a notable outcome in any case.
After a varied weekend of sailing we have Cumbly first (North), Hunt second (HD Sails), and Wilcox third (Turtle sails). With Brits one and two and a Berlin-based Kiwi 3rd it was also a bit of an Anglophone shutout, but in OK Sailing you can always be sure that the only stable thing is that no country or trend dominates for long.
Medemblik threw up an unexpectedly calm last day, with moderate winds declining. A late charge from Rene Johansson almost catching Wilcox for 3rd was additional spice on a competitive and hard fought day’s racing between multiple former World and European champions.
Here’s the full report from Robert Deaves.
Medemblik is putting on a smorgasbord of weather for the OK Dinghy fleet. Moderate on Friday, light on Saturday, forecast windy on Sunday.
The main contrast to that theme was the uniformity of the winner on the first day, with Charlie Cumbly (North) winning all three races. It did seem a battle of the sailmakers, with Jim Hunt (HD Sails) and Greg Wilcox (Turtle Sails) coming in next.
With all dinghy sailing cancelled in Dublin on Saturday due to high winds and low visibility, the closest we’re getting to the action is from these photos. We’re jealous.
Meantime, here’s the Saturday Report from Robert Deaves:
The DBSC Season started with the OK Dinghy members of the fleet pulling Committee Boat duty.
It wasn’t a bad day to miss being on the water. Little wind. Chilly. Flukey. And at least cold hands on the comittee boat get warmed up by a nice cup of hot tea.
In any case, no sailing for the OK Dinghies. And not great sailing for anyone else either, to be honest.
Beastie’s skipper has had a frustrating winter and spring trying to get back on the water after a long lay off. Too many weekends with 25knot+ forecasts. But it’s Spring now and she’s had two good days on the water this weekend. Easter Monday saw the MBK working mostly as a camera boat to get some views of Beastie and the sail in action.
While we can now definitely say that none of the sails Beastie has are at all matched to Beastie’s soft Boyce mast, it’s also pretty clear that Beastie is a quick little boat, at least for a lightweight.
And DAMN, it’s a pretty boat.
But, while we knew there was a need for a new sail to allow for the skipper’s mere 60kg weight, a new sail is just needed anyway. And the boat will fly!
A glorious Easter Sunday saw no racing, most people concentrating on chocolate and mass, and only a few boats out on Dun Laoghaire Harbor. But the OKs were out there.
While “Beastie” did some proper practice, the skipper of “MBK” concentrated more on messing with his kids. Fun, but there really isn’t space in an OK Dinghy to have two people on board so eventually they went back to their own boat. But not until they tried a couple of man-overboard exercises, various ways of tacking and gybing and a couple of other adventures.
A great day.
It was the day after the equinox and Spring landed with a bang. Air temperatures were chilly in the morning, but my mid-afternoon the light to moderate breezes were desperately needed to keep the sailors cool in their winter suits and the blazing sunshine.
Today the two main things were a focus on understanding the different trim of the P&B sail compared to the old North, and on pointing the GoPro upwards a little more to see if we could understand trim a little better.
Both worked pretty well.
The P&B reacts quite differently to outhaul than the North, much more continuously rather than the North’s apparent “on/off” setting. But we’re getting there. After some slow legs pacing the Finns during their first race of the day the trim was improved during the second race and the Finns weren’t gaining much ground upwind at all.
Now we just need to figure out where to sit on light to moderate breeze broad reaches, when an OK Dinghy seems a little lost. Not enough power to plane and no angles to work. But keeping the boat still, level and with the right trim fore-and-aft does make a difference! The full bow on the Hoare shape makes movement fore and aft particularly important when the emphasis moves from low wetted surface to low wave-making drag.
Finally “Beastie” got back on the water. After multiple days with too much wind and MBK forced to sail alone, at least “Beastie” got on the water today. The MBK didn’t, with sick kids the cause, but it was great to see the wooden wonder back at sea.
The skipper hadn’t been on the water since November, and that was the first day for a while too! With her 60kg weight she was a bit overpowered upwind, but downwind was fine and gybes were unexpectedly smooth and trouble free.
The race fleets sailed around in the background and several sailors were delighted to see “Beastie” back in the game.
We do need to sort out a smaller sail for Beastie so that the wind limit doesn’t have to be so low, but in any event the Beast is back
Them cloggies are a funny bunch. For them, being normal is being crazy enough. That’s what they say, more or less, although perhaps the opposite is more accurate. For a Dutchman, being crazy is quite normal. But however crazy they may be, the revival in the OK Dinghy fleet has taken a real jump.
The class website has long been a model of clarity and good information. The 2015 Easter regatta in Loosdrecht is going to have OK Dinghies visiting from all over Europe, adding to the long success of the Spring Cup in Medemblik. There’s an online shop with the possibility to buy ANOTHER type of plywood homebuilt OK Dinghy.
And now it seems that a previously dominant OK Dinghy mast builder – Ceilidh Masts – is going to rejoin the fray with three standard mast designs. From <75 kg to >85kg, there’ll be a mast for everyone.
We’re jealous we are!
After a couple of weekends sailing Finns it was time to get back into an OK Dinghy. Time to try out an alternate (P&B) sail since MBK’s long serving North seems to be really on its last legs and time to try the new GoPro mounting position.
With the wind AGAIN forecast at levels that made Beastie’s return to service inadvisable, MBK headed out alone while the Frostbites went on around. The wind was up and down during the day, as low as Force 2 and as high as 25 knots. Once the races get going the easiest way to stay out of the fleets’ way is to sail around the course too, easing out of the way if faster boats come through. It’s not the best practice session, but it’ll have to do.
The day was interesting on a couple of levels.
First, the P&B – acquired with Beastie – actually fits the Ceilidh mast on MBK pretty well and feels quite like the North to use. The other alternate, an older Gale & Rimington, feels completely different with a much “softer” feel. Probably a more open leech. The P&B may be familiar to some of the UK fleet, and it still carries GBR 2144.
Second, after two trips in a Finn it was interesting to sit back in the OK. Just tricky to remember where to step during tacks and gybes. Really amazing how quickly the moves get mixed up!
Third, the new GoPro mount gives a hugely better view of the boat, the surrounding water and the rig. Probably worth tilting it upwards to get a better view of the mainsail, but it’s pretty good. And it shows that I still need to shorten the footstraps a little so that I don’t droop hike. And that I need to put Rain-X on the GoPro lens.
Finally, we met another OK Dinghy sailor and must get in touch.
Here’s the vid of the day – again too long. We need to get more practice at editing out the superfluous moments.
One of the unusual things about the OK Dinghy is the diversity of hull builders that build winning boats. Add to that the fact that homebuilt wooden boats can win a world championships and you have a unique situation. An ISAF International Class where you could build your own boat and expect it to be fast enough to win the worlds.
We’ve been watching the story for a few years now. A few years ago the Aussies started with a CNC kit, then the Danes, and now the New Zealanders. And perhaps not-surprisingly, it’s the New Zealanders that have done most with the DIY approach. A great story! Read and enjoy this tale from the International OK Dinghy Association, written by Robert Deaves.
Again, the plan had been to get in some good practice this weekend. Again, it wasn’t to be. Sunday dawned with the previous evening’s ominous forecast still looking accurate, and all racing was cancelled early. While kitesurfers headed for the beach with their smaller kites the idea of dinghy sailing seemed off the menu.
But then the wind died off and tempted one of the OK Dinghies and a local Solo out onto the water. Where they were becalmed in the middle of Dun Laoghaire Harbor. No wind. Force 1, max.
For a while.
The front wasn’t long in passing. The southerly was first confused, then calm, then gusty, then gusty with hints of a westerly, then an increasingly wild westerly with abrupt southerly lulls (or vice versa), before finally settling in to a strong westerly with Force 10 gusts by the time darkness fell.
The OK Dinghy and Solo did each manage to pull off some high wind gybes and fast reaches before retreating.
So, another lovely weekend in Dublin, but not much sailing to show for it.
Once again the Dublin weather wasn’t kind to OK Dinghy sailors. With a forecast of wind rising later in the day the plan was to get out early and get Beastie back on the water. But the wind got there first. 28 knot gusts and 6 Deg water temperatures made it an inadvisable moment to return to action. This must be the third or 4th time we’ve gotten “Beastie” ready to go before changing conditions forced a re-think!
Meantime, the skipper of the Mikly Bar Kid was again asked to step in and sail a Finn. With the wind now going from 10 knots up to 28 knots in the gusts and the harbor walls making the wind direction very unstable even the experienced Laser sailors were looking with some apprehension at the conditions.
But…on we went. Conservatism was the order of the day but despite hanging back at the start the borrowed Finn was leading the PY fleet within about 45 seconds and was well ahead at the windward mark. Although trimmed for the gusts down the runs, none actually passed until just around the leeward mark. At that point the skipper noticed that the luff panel above the cunningham was separating under load. So followed a retirement rather than bring a damaged boat back.
Retiring was a pity, but Richard Tate in the other Finn won the racing, which was good and well earned in the conditions. Learning of the day? A Finn may actually be easier to sail than an OK Dinghy – as long as you can handle the sheet loads. Heavier, slower to react, less unstable. But we still haven’t sailed one in a sustained 25 knots. That’s gotta be a different story.
Lots to learn from looking at this video, for OK Dinghy sailors. But otherwise it’s amazing how boring sailing can seem on TV.
Two hours cut down to 8 minutes. And it’s still too long! But if you have technique suggestions, do let us know! Probably easiest on the IOKDA Facebook page.
Today may have been the last day that the Milky Bar Kid isn’t entered in the Frostbites. There are at least a few days left.
But, this Sunday was a lovely day’s sailing and the GoPro newly mounted on the rear deck gave a reasonable view of technique and events.
With the ongoing technique discussions with the Finn sailors continuing onshore at the George, the MBK decided to forego standalone training and to sail around in proximity with the Finns to see if there were mutual learnings. Since we’re not entered we stayed away from the startline and sat about a minute up the course from the actual racers, but the Finns soon popped out ahead of the PY fleet and sailed around with the OK dinghy.
Des Fortune’s Finn caught and passed in both races and Tate’s Finn in one of the two, but the main focus was on practicing and getting back up to speed. Sailing the race course turned out to be the best way of not bothering the race fleets too, since the only boat we were ever near was a Finn. Standalone training would have had us up and down through the fleets and it was a bit cold to go outside the harbor unaccompanied.
The hiking problem is a real puzzle… the toestraps are already as tight and as low as we can get them, but still long enough to encourage a drooped hiking position, which is comfy but apparently bad for the knees. The straight leg position requires wedging feet under the straps to the ankle, a position that can’t be held for long unless you’re quite fit. A solution is needed! Shorter legs, perhaps. Or maybe windsurf style footstraps on the floor.
And, as usual, pinching is tempting, but a disaster. Bad helmsman!
Meantime, with the camera mounted a new name for the boat is under consideration. Something like “ISWACN” or “DTMWFI”…for “I sail with a camera now” or “Don’t take my word for it”.
Lastly, sadly, “Beastie” wasn’t able to sail due to child minding problems for the skipper. A pity on such a glorious day. Onwards and upwards…
Someone was out taking pictures last summer and caught this view of the Milky Bar Kid zooming across Scotsman’s Bay in Dublin.
It’s a nice picture.
A rather mixed up day had Dublin Bay’s OK Dinghy sailors making it up as they went along on Sunday.
The weather forecast was highly uncertain, showing gusts up to 32 knots, while the day itself looked very pleasant. Since neither boat is entered in the racing yet we planned to do some training. Tacking in particular.
Then it all got mixed up. With Beastie’s skipper in demand as an RS200 crew and the MBK’s skipper offered a Finn for the day our plans all changed. In the end the RS200 didn’t sail, but the Finn did.
Experience in an OK Dinghy transfers pretty well into a Finn, but it was a nice surprise to win the first PY race of the day and be 2nd in the last race. A flukey day on the water too, so best not to read too much into a victory.
The comparison between a Finn and an OK Dinghy is interesting too. The Finn is quicker through the water but everything feels slower. Sedate almost. Heavier. Like sailing a single-handed Flying Fifteen. But the wind maxed out at about 15 knots on the day…and that’s probably not the same as a Finn in 25 knots.
A nice days sailing, but back to the OK Dinghies for us next week!
Well, it looks like that was exciting!
OK Dinghy Worlds are often interesting affairs, but this one had everything. Sun, too much wind and not enough, the tightest finish ever (?), disqualifications, home made boats winning the event, measurement drama, world champions of the past turning up and showing they’re not over the hill, Olympians turning up with high expectations. You name it, this had it.
In the end there was a winner, just barely. Matt Stechmann took the title on 18 points just ahead of Luke O’Connell (19 points), with Roger Blasse (19 points) taking third just ahead of Greg Wilcox (also on 19 points). WOW doesn’t cover it.
Three NZL boats in the top 4, ages from youngish to quite oldish, and the event dominated by the Southern Hemisphere.
And there’s another story. With few of the top Euro boats attending it wasn’t completely surprising to see only one Euro boat in the top 10. But the circumstances seem to have left a bad taste. Jorgen Svendsen’s charge to the top of the fleet was interrupted by a measurement DSQ in Race 3. Excessively heavy toestrap reinforcements were deemed to be an attempt at weight concentration and out he went having won the race. The momentum never returned.
The Danes were not amused and there are indications that they thought many of the Aussie and NZL boats had exactly the same measurement problem as Svendsen, but weren’t being measured in the same way. The New Zealanders in particular are adamant that their boats passed muster from the international measurer – himself a long time OK Dinghy sailor. A debate will rumble on, with the details of the weight rules in the hull likely to be the main point.
On the equipment side, there was a new feature in the top 10. The Top 2 boats were homebuilt (in plywood, we believe) to a design by Dan Leech, a NZL boat designer. Perhaps there is something new in OK Dinghy design after all…though we retain some doubt on that front.
And wood? Well…who would have thought? To be fair there’s never really been any indication that the epoxy foam sandwich boats were faster, although the perceived maintenance needs of wood put some people off. But with epoxy over the top the wooden boats are maintenance free too and have the potential for even longer competitive lives than glass boats. As if 30+ years wasn’t enough.
After that came a not-untypical mix of Icebreaker, Delfs, Strandberg (now legal), and Jason Kings. Masts have become a C-Tech whitewash. Without the Brits and their Aardvarks and Synergy masts it was all C-Tech. And with few Europeans present the top 10 sails were dominated by North, by Turtle (Greg Wilcox’s sail loft, formerly Quantum, but now independent), and the lone Danish Green sail of Jorgen Svendsen. As before, no indication that there’s really any dominant design or brand in any area except in masts. And the Brits will tell you their masts are every bit as good as the Kiwi C-Techs.
Other than all that, the racing, the race organization and the social aspects were all as good as usual. With Black Rock hosting its 3rd Worlds it was all likely to go well, and it did. Initially excessive wind was replaced by unpredictable breezes and the event only completed the required 5 races on the last day, but they were all good ones and the racers had a good time.
It was also interesting to see that the two recent Finn Olympians, Matt Coutts and Anthony Nossiter, showed that they had the speed to compete but still found the level in the fleet really high. Coutts finished 6th, with Nossiter (a 3 time Olympian) in 16th. Alongside them were two OK Dinghy World Champions from long ago. Collings (1984?) and Milne (1999?) finished in 14th and 22nd. Milne was in his old boat, updated with a carbon mast. No better illustration of the merits of the OK Dinghy.
The full results are below, along with the equipment details of the top 10 boats. (the format’s a bit wonky…sorry)
And Robert Deaves wrote up his usual excellent reports, which are on the OKDIA site here.
Pictures from OKDIA’s Flikr account, leechboats.com and the event galleries on Facebook. All rights are theirs!
While a select few OK Dinghy sailors were down in Australia having light winds and warm weather, the pattern in Dublin Bay has been different. We have had temperatures as high as 16DecC, which isn’t bad for January, but also winds up to Force11 gusts.
The forecast for this weekend’s racing time is gusts of 42knots, peaking at 50+knots later and overnight. We suspect there’ll be no racing.
So, time to dust off the Rooster Upwind DVDs and imagine getting fit.
Down in the Southern Hemisphere it’s championship season. Here in Ireland the Frostbite sailing in Dublin has been blown out a couple of weeks in a row.
But it’s Xmas time. If you’re stuck for gifts, we made up a few things that might appeal to the OK Dinghy sailor. Which means, of course, that anyone visiting this site is exactly the wrong audience.
You wouldn’t buy an Xmas present for yourself, would you?
Anyway, have a look here. We thought they were funny.
Greg Wilcox (NZL) will head into this month’s World Championship in Melbourne, Australia as the OK Dinghy World No. 1 for the fourth consecutive release. Another great season from the 2002 World Champion has seen him lead the rankings for the whole of 2014, having reached the top spot this time last year. At 1035 points, he also holds the record for the highest cumulative points in the decade long history of the ranking list.
As well as the European Championships in Steinhude, Germany in July, this release includes the National Championships from Great Britain, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, France and the innovative combined German/Danish Nationals, which was dubbed ‘Crossing borders is OK’.
Wilcox has extended his lead at the top, overtaking Nick Craig’s (GBR) previous points record, and is still benefitting from his performance last season when he won the Interdominion Championships, which were also in Melbourne. Because of that, Jørgen Svendsen (DEN) could only move up two places to second despite winning the Europeans and the 84-boat German/Danish Nationals. Meanwhile the 2012 World Champion André Budzien (GER) moves up five places to third and becomes only the sixth person to pass the elusive 1000 point margin.
Jim Hunt (GBR) is slowly creeping up the list after winning three ranking events this year, including his first British Nationals, as well as the Belgian Nationals. 2009 World Champion Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) took the Swedish Nationals while Paweł Pawlaczyk (POL) won the Polish Nationals. Alain Renoux (FRA) won the French Championship.
It’s that time of year again and the Frostbites are back. With the OK Dinghies returning late to the dinghy park after their third enforced exile this year there was no time to get the boats entered, but they at least made it onto the water.
Unable to participate in the racing, the OKs lined up to leeward of the other dingle handed dinghies to test tune and leg fitness. And to make sure they stayed out of the way!
The Frostbite series mostly takes place inside the walls of Dun Laoghaire harbor, but on this occasion the good weather tempted the fleets outside and the committee set up a large 5-lap trapezoidal course.
There were probably 70 boats on the water fighting a big chop and initially limp breeze. But the day came good and saw Fireballs, OK Dinghies, Finns, RS400s all planing on the reaches. A good show.
Boats returning to the slipways at the George saw more adventure as an strengthening onshore breeze and that swell made landing on the slip quite a task.
With the skipper of the wooden “Beastie” having been out injured for a long time and the skipper of the “Milky Bar Kid” suffering from lack of pace, it was time for some two-boat training.
Saturday saw great conditions and two OK Dinghies training around inside Dun Laoghaire harbor. Gybes, tacks, and upwind trim were the main focus and lots of progress was made. The pair even got in some “weaving” practice as the cruiser fleets returned to the harbor after their Saturday racing. The hard work was followed by a beautiful, scenic and entirely gratuitous cruise out to “Boyd”, one of the DBSC racing marks in the middle of Dublin Bay.
It was a good day. No racing, just the fun of sailing an OK Dinghy.