OUR KIT BOAT WAS LAUNCHED AT WANGI ON SATURDAY, 19 NOVEMBER, 2011
Since our last update on the kit OK from May, 2011 we have been sorting out a rig for the boat. Peter Wallace donated a couple of his Linton sails and his old C-Tech carbon mast that he managed to drop off the car roof and then have it run over by a truck. Our attempts to have this mast fixed to a satisfactory serviceable level were not successful. When our container returned from the Scotland Worlds I decided to have my carbon mast fitted to the boat so that we could have the boat officially measured, registered and get sailing as soon as possible in our 2011/12 sailing season. Tim Davies delivered the mast back from Melbourne for us and then his brother, Gareth Wells, offered to finalise the rigging by fitting my mast to the boat. Tim then completed his measuring and organised our registration for "True Blue", AUS 751 with Yachting Australia.
On Saturday, 19 November we launched "True Blue" at the Wangi RSLASC. The club Commodore, Les McAllister, an old OK sailor himself and the Rear Commodore, Graham Parker attended for the occasion. Our builder, Col Lynch, only recently returned home from hospital was also able to be there together with Eddie O'Donnell our association President and other members of the International OK Association of NSW. Jan Tyler as joint benefactor of the "True Blue" project had the honour of pouring the "bubbly" over the bow to complete our launching ceremony.
I sailed the boat in the club handicap events that afternoon and again at Drummoyne SC on the following day in our Sydney Harbour Championship. "True Blue" looks great on the water thanks to the efforts of Col and our local Wangi painter who did a superb job with the finish on the boat. The rig will be well suited to our lighter junior sailors as one of Penguin's donated Lynton sails looks quite good on my reasonably soft C-Tech carbon mast. The boat was very responsive to windward and seemed to have good pace downwind. Conditions were variable on both days but sailing in close company with Tim, Gareth and Eddie on Saturday and also with Cracker, Robbo and Penguin on Sunday showed that "True Blue" was competitive in our fleet.
Thanks again to all concerned for the assistance necessary to complete this project. When Damien Smith produced the drawings for his kit boat back in 2006, I was immediately impressed with the concept of a laser cut kit for assisting home builders to once again construct their own timber OKs. This of course was where it all began for our class with the design of the boat by Knud Olsen in the late 1950s and the foundation of our associations in the early 1960s. All of the boats built in the early years were of plywood construction and the enthusiasm of members from the 1960s provided the foundation for the success of OKDIA. Hopefully, 50 years later, this project might encourage a renewal of interest in our class for the many thousands of small boat sailors still keen on building their own timber boats.
Col and Damien have addressed a few minor issues to assist finalisation of the kit production process and preparation of a manual to provide construction details for home builders. This project has shown that it is still possible for an amateur home builder to produce an inexpensive and competitive International OK Dinghy hull. Anyone interested in following through on this project and building their own boat should enquire via our association or contact Damien Smith direct at www.damiensmithdesign.com.au