The OK Dinghy is an International Class currently sailed in 15 countries throughout the world. The origins of the OK class in Australia and New Zealand began in the early 1960s and the 48th Australian Championship was contested at Sandringham YC, Victoria in December, 2009. Over the past 48 years many sailors of high calibre have been associated with the OK class and many have gone on to achieve international success. During this time Australians have won 5 World OK Championships and New Zealanders have won 11. This is a significant achievement when one considers that the World Championship is sailed in the southern hemisphere just once every four years and usually attracts a maximum 80 boat fleet each year. It is testament to the support and encouragement given to OK sailors from down under to pursue development of their sailing experience by competing overseas on a regular basis.
Clive Roberts, from New Zealand, won Australasia’s first World OK Championship in England in 1973. Clive was five times Interdominion Champion between 1967 and 1974 and NZ National Finn and OK Champion on numerous occasions. He was also the inspiration and driving force for the foundation of the Rothmans Youth Training programme in New Zealand. Many of New Zealand’s most talented sailors have since graduated from this programme under the guidance of another great ex OK sailor, Harold Bennett. Sadly Clive’s life ended early as a result of a tragic motor accident in 1975 after attending a youth training camp at Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand’s North Island.
Because Clive was so highly regarded by members of the Australian OK Association a youth scholarship fund was established in Australia to commemorate his memory and to perpetuate his outstanding contribution to the OK class and the sport in general. Three Trustees who are all Life Members of the Australian OK Association administer this fund known as the Clive Roberts Trust. Contributions to the Trust have come from members’ donations over many years. Income from the monies held in trust is used to assist junior Australian OK Dinghy sailors to develop their sailing skills by competing in international regattas and such other regattas or sailing seminars as the Trustees consider appropriate. For the purpose of the Trust a junior sailor is any sailor under the age of 21 as at the 30th June preceding the current sailing season.
The first junior to receive assistance from the Trust was a young Mark Fisher, who later went on to win the World OK Championship in New Zealand in 1986. Mark competed regularly in OK events up to a few years ago and last won the Veterans Championship at our 2004 Nationals. Ten times Australian Champion Roger Blasse was assisted by the Trust to win the World Junior OK Championship in Holland in 1985. Roger was World OK Champion in 1998 and is regarded as one of the most outstanding OK sailors in the world today. Carl Schmidt was successful in winning the World Junior OK Championship in Australia in 1990 and again in Denmark in 1991 with his assistance from the Trust. James McAllister was the World Junior OK Champion at the Poland Worlds in 2000, and later competed at the Napier Worlds in New Zealand, 2002 and the Goa Worlds in India, 2003 with financial assistance provided by the Trust.
In 2006 the Trust supported the three year development programme of our three juniors who competed in the World Championship at Belmont, Australia. Tom Burton won the World Junior OK Championship at that event and later won the NSW OK Championship in 2008. He then was selected to represent Australia at the 38th Volvo ISAF Youth World Championship in Denmark later that year in the single-handed Laser event.
Over recent years the Trust has provided further support to assist David O’Donnell to travel to Poland to contest the 2007 OK Worlds where he won the Junior title. David, and another promising newcomer Morgan Staley, then competed in the 2008 Worlds in Germany. Last year Jonathon O’Donnell contested the 2009 Worlds in Sweden and this year cousin David was again supported to compete in the 2010 New Zealand Worlds.
Application for assistance from the Trust is made via recommendation from the International OK Association of Australia. Such recommendation is made based upon suitable involvement in the OK class and successful performance at state and national regatta level.
Members of the OK Association are keen to assist juniors who may be interested in learning more about our class. We have regular club events throughout the season at Drummoyne S.C. and Wangi RSL Amateur S.C. Inter-club racing is also conducted during the year consisting of Traveller’s Trophy events and other various Championships. Our next National Championship will be in Queensland - Tuesday 2nd to Sunday 7th January 2018 at the Southport Yacht Club Hollywell Sailing Squadron, located at 1 Marina Crescent, Hollywell, QLD 4217
The OK Dinghy International Association (OKDIA) Web site can be visited on www.okdia.de and our Australian Web site is www.ok.yachting.org.au .
Further information may be obtained by contacting:
Black Rock Yacht Club – email@example.com
Bob Chapman —
Drummoyne SC – (02) 9809 1609 – firstname.lastname@example.org