Thursday Snippets, 6 August

Half a dozen ASC sailors sailed on the Lake on sunday 2nd , the last day before Stage 4 lockdown of Melbourne. A post with photo has been placed on Albert Sailing Club Facebook of Phoebe Pearce, one of our new members from late 2019, sailing her OK dinghy on sunday. Phoebe lives within 2 ks of the Lake and walks in with her gear, which depending on COVID19 restrictions, has been nearly weekly since early May. She like many others looks forward to being able to get out again on Albert Park Lake later in Spring.

There is another Virtual online “ASC Drinks and Chat” 4pm – 5pm on saturday 8th August. Join us at “Doug’s Virtual Bar” using the Zoom link :  Last week Tim spoke of his new ebike and his rides in and around Camberwell. Rod shared a photo of Melbourne’s Tall Ship Enterprize in a stiff breeze in Bass Strait. What will people bring to the table this week ?

Other News
The OK on the Lake on the 2nd of August reminded me of the rich history of the OK at Albert Sailing Club, and the importance of ASC as the foundation club for OK’s in Victoria.  “The Birth of the OK Class in Victoria”, by Bob Coate, from a club Newsletter in mid 1996, tells the story of OK’s at ASC from 1960, now 60 years ago. Bob was an active member of the club and a strong supporter of the OK in the 1980’s and 1990’s. An extract from that article, with a brief update follows.

Extract from “The Birth of the OK Class in Victoria” by Bob Coate KA615 “Good Vibrations” Published in The Mudpuddler Newsletter of Albert Sailing Club in 1996.

In 1960, the then ASC Commodore Bill Larkins established the first OK dinghy class fleet in Australia at Albert Sailing Club. The OK had its origins in the mid 1950’s, when yacht designer Knud Olsen prepared drawings for a light and fast single-handed sailing dinghy based on conventional plywood construction. The design was named the “OK”, using Knud Olsen’s initials in reverse.

In April 1960 a local boatbuilder, Mr Lang, visited the club to discuss possible building arrangements and prices. This lead to ASC adopting the class and the Victorian OK Dinghy Association being formed at ASC on 14th May 1960. A scheme to finance the building of several boats was instituted. The Ladies Committee of Albert Sailing Club loaned 50 pounds each to a number of members. (The whole boat – timber, ply, mast and sail cost about 100 pounds – about 4 weeks average wages at the time).The club exhibited an OK at the 1960 Melbourne boat show, and by  the end of the 1960/61 season a total of 13 boats were either built or under construction by members.

 The first Victorian Ok championships were held by Albert Sailing Club on the lake in March 1961, with Jinx sailed by Bill Cass the winner. “Canine”. KA9, was later raced successfully as part of the ASC fleet by Peter Casdorff. This boat turned up at the Club in 1980, having been abandoned by its owner and coming apart at the seams. Deemed to be beyond a reasonable repair it was given a “Vikings Funeral”.
The second Victorian Championships were run by ASC officials at Blairgowrie (due to weed in the lake) – 1st Jinx, Bill Cass; 2nd-Peppy, Bill Larkins; 3rd Bubbamoranti, John Swift: all ASC sailors.

The Australian OK Dinghy Class Association was formed, with the Inaugural Meeting held at Albert SC  on 29th December 1962. The first OK Australian Championship for OK Dinghies was then sailed late 1962/63. It was organised by Albert Sailing Club and sailed from Royal Melbourne YS, after the Lake was deemed unsuitable due to weed.

In the mid 1960’s out of a regular fleet of all classes of 30 – 35 boats at ASC, 15 were OK’s and there were 22 on the register. These included : SALTY, Bill Larkins; CON, Bill Irwin; TEMPEST 2 John Stevens ; JINX, HEXAVATTEN, BUBBAMOANTI, CANINE, PEPPY.
Bob Coate’s article  finishes up with a quote “The OK stood out a mile, maybe it was the roach of the sail. But it looked much more masculine than any of the others … A bloke’s boat. So that was the one…” Walter Chapman May 1961.    

An update on the last 30 years from Rod Thomas

Fleets of 5 to 10 OK’s sailed in club races at ASC from 1980 until around 2000.  By this stage OKs were built in plywood, G.R.P and composite construction;  Regular club OK sailors included : Wally Chapman, Ron Parish, Mike Simpson, Gary Craig, Steve Haintz. Sean and Jamie Wilson, and John Gibson  in the 1990’s   They were joined by OK’s from other club’s, mainly from Black Rock YC, for our winter season, the annual regatta, and the big Grand Prix Regattas from 1996 – 1998. The evergreen and now class legend Bruce Ashton from BRYC has been a regular for the Annual Regatta and latter half of winter season up until 2017, and Mike Horvarth sailed in a number of club Regattas and some winter season races. The fleet dwindled in the early 2000’s. We had two or three sailing at various stages up until around 2016, with Ron Fergusson a regular in the 2014 – 2016 period, before he moved into the lighter weight and more nimble Aero 7.

OK dinghy class boats and OK sailors will always be welcome at Albert Sailing Club.

Rod Thomas
for ASC committee


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