OK Dinghy Chronicle - By Bill Tyler
CHRONICLE OF THE OK DINGHY IN AUSTRALIA
Compiled by Bill Tyler
OK dinghies were introduced to Australia from 1958/1959. Research indicates that the initial contact was established when Will David from WA obtained the first sets of plans from Knud Olsen the designer of the OK Dinghy. OK No.1 “Skol” and OK No. 2 “Ole” were built in Hobart, Tasmania by Tom Kirkland and Tom Paxton and were launched at Sandy Bay on the Derwent River in late 1960. OK No. 3 was thought to have been built in Perth by Will David as that numbered set of plans was recorded as being issued to him. That may or may not be so as that number wound up in Cairns, Nth. Qld. on a boat named “Ugly” sailed by Hans Koenig.
OK No.5 “Vitesse” was built by Norm Fennell at Leichhardt in NSW and was first sailed at the Balmoral SC. Norm introduced others to the class in Sydney and soon a fleet was established at the Western Suburbs SC at Cabarita on Hen and Chicken Bay on the upper reaches of the Parramatta River. Our early OK Champions John Powell and John Hardie together with Norm Fennell, Don Board and others were responsible for the early success of the OKs at WSSC. Norm built his second OK, KA170 around 1962 and OK No.5 changed ownership to Alan Clark at Vaucluse YC and later to Jim Ley who came from Dubbo, NSW in those days. Jim continued to sail actively in the OK class well into the late 1970s. Norm Fennell moved on from the OKs to the Finn class where he was very active as a competitor and International Measurer.
In Victoria, a few members of Albert SC were sailing Finns left over following the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Commodore Bill Larkins introduced the OK to the club and the Victorian OK Dinghy Association was formed in 1960. The club adopted the class and a scheme to finance the building of several boats was instituted. A club OK was exhibited at the 1960 Boat Show. By the end of 1960/61 a total of 13 boats were either built or under construction by club members. The first Victorian OK Championship was held on Albert Park Lake in 1961 and was won by Bill Cass sailing “Jinx”.
Richard Blundell from Tasmania, ex Publicity Officer for the class in those early years built his first OK No. 20 “Shiralee” in the winter of 1961. OK No. 8 “Spartan” was built by John Howell and with another new OK No. 19 “Naiad” a fleet of five boats was then racing from Sandy Bay SC during 1962.
The NSW OK Dinghy Class Association was formed in 1961. Foundation members were Don Board, Norm Fennell, Tony Hill, Mike Kirkbride, C. Lewis, Phil Maloney, C. Mansfield, Ian Nicholson, A. Pfeiffer, D. Pitt, John Powell and Ray Stone.
The OK Dinghy International Association (OKDIA) was established in 1962.
The Australian OK Dinghy Class Association was also formed in 1962. The Inaugural Meeting was held at Albert SC, Victoria on 29th December 1962.
The first Australian Championship for OK Dinghies was held in Melbourne, Vic. 1962/63 hosted by Albert SC. Richard Blundell reports that the event was to be sailed on Albert Park Lake but when the Inter-state competitors arrived in Melbourne they took one look at Albert Park Lake and forced the organisers to move the series down to the Bay. John Powell, NSW, sailing KA 176 “Pandora IV”, won the event to become our first National Champion.
In 1963 the first “Green Island Classic”, an open ocean race of seventeen miles to Green Island was organised by the Cairns SC. Local yachting enthusiasts were sceptical about the success of such an event, but the organisers persisted and the race proved highly successful. This was the forerunner to greater things for the OK class in North Queensland. Similar events were staged later in 1963 and again in 1964, with the addition of return races from Green Island to Ellis Beach. In 1965 the Ocean Classics event was to attract overseas competitors for the first time thus establishing the World’s first International Ocean race event for OKs.
The first OK Worlds were held at Maubuisson, France in 1963. Won by Svend Jakobsen from Denmark.
Second Nationals were held in Sydney, NSW 1963/64 at Vaucluse YC. John Powell from NSW retained the title he won in Melbourne the previous year.
Second Worlds were held at Roskilde, Denmark in 1964. Won by Henning Schachtschnabel from Denmark. At 19 years of age, Jorgen Lindhardtsen from Denmark competed in his first OK World Championship. Jorgen has since established himself as the grand old man of World OK sailing. He won the World Championship in 1978, was runner-up on a number of occasions including at Belmont, Australia in 2006 and is a Danish Finn Olympian. Forty four years later at the age of 63 he finished 7th overall in the 2008 Germany Worlds.
In August 1964 an International set of rules was adopted for the OK dinghy by OKDIA.
Third Nationals were held in Hobart, Tasmania 1964/65 at Sandy Bay SC. Won by John Hardie, NSW with Alan Clark, NSW second and Bram Knoop, Tasmania third.
Third Worlds were held at Hayling Island, England in 1965. Won by Goran Andersson, Sweden from Bengt Jorgensen, Denmark, 2nd and Roy Martyn, Great Britain, 3rd. A fleet of over 100 boats representing Sweden, Denmark, Britain, Belgium, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand and Poland contested the event. Jim Walker from Vaucluse YC, NSW was the first Australian to compete in an OK World Championship and finished in the top half of the fleet in a very creditable 46th place overall.
The Cairns International OK Dinghy Ocean Race was conducted over the weekend of 16th & 17th October 1965 at the Cairns SC. Won by World Champion, Goran Andersson from Sweden. Other international competitors included Rein Verweymeren, Dutch National Champion, Axel Olsen the American naturalized Dane remembered as the co-designer of the OK and Clive Roberts, New Zealand Champion. The Australian competitors included the National Champion, John Hardie and Richard Blundell from Tasmania. Peter Jones was a young local lad who grew up sailing every week-end at the Lake Tinaroo SC on the Atherton Tablelands west of Cairns. He recalls the International OK sailors visiting that club for a BBQ at the time of the 1965 event and signing their autographs on the rafters in the clubhouse. Over four decades later, Peter revisited his old club and reports that those autographs from 1965 still remain on the clubhouse rafters as a lasting memento of our early International OK visitors to North Queensland
Fourth Nationals were held in Cairns, Nth.Qld. 1965/66 at Cairns SC. Won by Dave Blundell, a New Zealander sailing in Sydney at that time, from Bill Adams, NSW, 2nd and Dan Bolton, Nth.Qld, 3rd. A fleet of 27 OKs contested this event including one of the first boats registered in Australia, KA3 “Ugly”, Hans Koenig from Nth.Qld. Noel Wheeler, Nth.Qld. finished 4th, Tony Randle, Nth.Qld, 5th, John Hardie, NSW, 6th, Hans Steller, Sth. Qld, 7th and Noel Beale, Nth. Qld. was 8th.
First Interdominion Championship was held in Sydney, NSW at Vaucluse Yacht Club, Easter, 1966. Won by Alan Clark, Australia from John Orr, Australia, 2nd and Clive Roberts, New Zealand, 3rd. John McKenzie, New Zealand was 4th, Peter Backhouse, Australia, 5th and Ted Bland, New Zealand was 6th. The contest was sailed in mainly light conditions after the first day was blown out on Good Friday when a 40 knot westerly howled across Sydney Harbour. Frustrating sailing in the light breezes of Saturday produced two wins for John McKenzie, with Alan Clark placing 4th and 2nd on the day. On Easter Sunday the day commenced with a light easterly that swung into the Nor-east later on during the afternoon. Peter Backhouse won the morning heat and Alan Clark scored his only heat win for the event in the afternoon race. The fresh sea breeze arrived for Easter Monday and produced a 15-20 knot Nor-easter for the final day. Clive Roberts enjoyed the change in conditions and won heat 5 comfortably. Alan Clark broke his tiller and recorded a DNF for that race. After the worst heat discard Alan had just enough points in hand to narrowly win the title.
Fourth Worlds were held in Holland in 1966. Won by the defending Champion, Goran Andersson, Sweden, from Bjorn Arnesson, Sweden, 2nd and Ib Andersen, Denmark, 3rd. The series was conducted under the burgee of the Royal Yacht Club de Belgique on the Veerse Meer in Holland. A fleet of 88 boats representing Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Poland, Britain, Holland, France, Germany, USA and Canada contested the event.
In 1965 OKDIA altered its rules to enable the production of OK Dinghies in fibreglass. Within 12 months an English firm had produced over eighty boats in fibreglass. September 1966 saw the first Australian fibreglass OKs built by Pamcraft. By the end of the 1966/67 season twelve boats had been produced by Phil Maloney at Pamcraft.
After the success of the first Interdominion in Sydney, the NSW Association decided to run a series of selection races to choose the best 6 skippers to represent the state at the next event. The series was arranged to consist of two races on Botany Bay, three on Sydney Harbour and two in Canberra. 26 boats entered the series. Final results were 1st John Hardie, 2nd John Orr, 3rd Bill Adams, 4th Peter Backhouse, 5th Alan Clark and 6th Jim Ley. Later fund raising contributed $112 for each of the 6 members to go to New Zealand to contest the second Interdominion Championship at Takapuna.
Fifth Nationals were held in Adelaide, SA. 1966/67 at Holdfast Bay YC. Won by Noel Beale, Nth.Qld, from Dan Bolton, Nth.Qld, 2nd and John Hardie, NSW, 3rd. The series was conducted in perfect conditions with fresh sea breezes all week. John Parrington (ex 505 World Champion) and his hard working team of race officials and other willing helpers controlled an excellent Championship. John Orr, NSW finished 4th, Bram Knoop, Tasmania 5th, Don Richmond. NSW, 6th, Tony Hill, NSW, 7th and Don Board, NSW was 8th.
1967 – Second Interdominion won by Clive Roberts. Some great statistic’s on the number of boats registered around the worlds, in 26 Countries.
Second Interdominion Championship was held in Auckland, New Zealand at the Takapuna Boating Club, Easter 1967. Won by Clive Roberts, New Zealand from John Orr, NSW, 2nd and Alan Clark, NSW and Ross Morton, New Zealand tied for 3rd. A large fleet of 54 boats contested the event and of those 11 were from Australia. Although Clive won the first of his many Interdominion titles, the Australian competitors enjoyed excellent results taking out seven of the first nine placing’s. John Hardie, NSW finished 5th, Noel Beale, Qld. 6th and Bill Adams, NSW and Peter Backhouse, NSW tied for 7th position overall.
Fifth Worlds were held in Canada in 1967. Won by Bjorn Arnesson, Sweden from Eric Fromell, Sweden, 2nd and Goran Andersson, Sweden, 3 rd. The series was conducted by the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club, Dorval, Quebec, Canada. A fleet of 69 boats representing Australia, Denmark, France, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA and Canada contested the Championships which were the first OK Worlds held outside Europe. Australia’s Dan Bolton from Qld. runner-up in the previous Nationals sailed an excellent series in this top class company to finish 23 rd overall.
The 1967/68 edition of the OK Dinghy International Newsletter reported on the number of OKs then sailing throughout the World. The numbers stated were quite staggering but even allowing for some editorial licence, we can get a good idea of how successful the OK was at that time. Twenty-six countries were listed, with 1720 registered in Sweden, 1096 in Britain, 770 in Denmark, 390 in USA, 365 in France, 265 in Australia and 255 in New Zealand. Tasmania was listed as a separate country with 25 boats registered. Richard Blundell was a great promotional man for the OKs in Australia in the early years. He had obviously sold his home state as a separate country to OKDIA. Some countries with less OKs registered included Barbados, Luxembourg, Morocco, Rhodesia and Zambia.
A Pacific Championship was held in Cairns in 1967. This was another huge promotional event organised by Dan Bolton and his crew at the Cairns SC. International competitors included - Bjorn Arnesson, 1967 World and Swedish Champion - Eric Frommell, runner-up in the 1967 World and Swedish Championships - Clive Roberts, four times New Zealand Champion and Interdominion Champion - Pete Whitmore, the New Zealand South Island Champion two years running - Rolf Svommekjar, Denmark’s light weather expert and Optimist Dinghy Champion three years in a row - Emil Verharen, 1966 Dutch Champion - Robert Lee from Canada - Hirobumi Kawano from Japan and Alex Kimball and Cris Boome from USA. The Championship was won by Clive Roberts, New Zealand, from Chris Boome, USA, 2nd and Emil Verharen, Holland, 3rd. Eric Fromell, Sweden was 4th and World Champion Bjorn Arnesson, Sweden finished 5th.
Sixth Nationals were held in Brisbane, Qld. 1967/68 at Sandgate YC. Won by Noel Beale, Qld, from John Orr, NSW, 2nd and Jim Ley, NSW, 3 rd. A fleet of 43 boats contested the event in what was described as the wildest, toughest conditions yet for a National OK Championship. During the series, 12 masts were broken in the Bramble Bay mud, 3 booms snapped and 5 boats were badly holed. Sounds more like Pearl Harbour! Norm Clarke, Qld, finished 4th, Dan Bolton, Qld, 5th, Jim Sue, Qld, 6th, Tony Hill, NSW, 7th and Rolf Svommekjar, representing Qld was 8th.
Third Interdominion Championship was held in Sydney, NSW at the Manly YC, over Easter 1968. Won by Tony Hill, NSW, from Ross Morton, New Zealand, 2 nd and Gavin Shennan, NSW, 3rd. A fleet of 48 boats contested the event sailed in predominantly light conditions with choppy seas on a big swell. Mark Paterson, N.Z. finished 4th, John McKenzie, N.Z. 5th, Jim Ley, NSW, 6th, Chris Piggott, NSW, 7 th and Alan Clark, NSW was 8th overall.
Sixth Worlds were held in Norway in 1968. Won by Erik Fromell, Sweden from Lief Enarsson, Sweden, 2nd and Per Westlund, Sweden, 3 rd. The series was conducted by the host club, Tonsbery Seilforening at Fjaerholmen, Norway with a fleet of 71 boats representing Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, Britain, Germany, France, Canada and Finland.
Seventh Nationals were held in Melbourne, Vic. 1968/69 at Frankston YC. Won by Norm Clarke from Qld. with a win in the Invitation Race and five wins from seven races in the Championship. With 58 entrants this was the largest National Championship fleet yet. From all accounts an excellent series dominated by ex-Finn skippers, Norm, with Tony James, NSW, 2nd and Peter Burford, SA, 3rd. (Norm and Peter were also ex Moth skippers whilst Tony’s early experience was in VJs.) John Stevens, Vic. finished 4th, Ian Gleeson, Qld. 5th, Gavin Shennon, NSW, 6th, Tony Hill, NSW, 7th and Don Board, NSW, was 8th.
Fourth Interdominion Championship was held in Auckland, New Zealand at the Takapuna Boating Club, Easter 1969. Won by Clive Roberts from New Zealand. A large fleet of 47 boats contested this heavy weather series. Norm Clarke from Qld. was runner-up with John Douglas from New Zealand 3rd. Gavin Shennan, NSW had one of his best ever series to finish 4th, Ross Morton, N.Z. 5th, Barry Jacobi, N.Z. 6th, Jim Ley, NSW 7th and Robin Dew, N.Z. was 8th. Clive dominated the event with five heat wins, a second and a drop of a 4th placing. However, Norm and John both sailed very well throughout the contest to give Clive great racing in all heats. The happiest man in town was veteran Kiwi Allan Mitchell. Whilst he did not appear in the first twenty in the final results he nevertheless had one moment of glory when he defeated all of the major contenders in heat 3. In winds gusting up to 30 knots the not so young 40 plus year old won the start and sailed a perfect race to lead from start to finish in a very competitive fleet.
Seventh Worlds were held in France in 1969. Won by Kent Carlsson, Sweden from Ib Andersen, Denmark, 2nd and Erik Fromell, Sweden, 3 rd. The host club was Club Nautique de Bendor at Bendor, a small island situated between Marseilles and Toulon in the south of France. A fleet of 72 boats from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, France, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, Great Britain, Finland, Zambia, USA, Switzerland and Italy contested the event. Australian Champion, Norm Clarke competed sailing a borrowed boat. He sank twice but still managed to win one race and finish 36th overall. Norm was a man of few words but was quoted as saying that he could write a book about the boats the French loaned–he said they were “junk”. For a man who was four times Australian Champion it was a disappointing experience. His results of 31, 66, DNF, 14, 52, 1, 36 – 227 points tells the story.
Eighth Nationals were held in Sydney, NSW 1969/70 at the Georges River SC on Botany Bay. Won by defending Champion Norm Clarke, Qld. from Tony James, NSW, 2nd and Ray Stone, NSW, 3rd. Jeremy Firth, NSW was 5th, Ian Gleeson, Qld, 6th, John Hardie, NSW, 7 th and Tony Howard, NSW, 8th.
Fifth Interdominion Championship was held in Brisbane, Qld. Easter 1970 at Sandgate YC on Bramble Bay. Clive Roberts, New Zealand, won his third Interdominion to continue his domination of OK Dinghy sailing in Australasia. Runner-up was Australian Champion, Norm Clarke, Qld., and Tony James, NSW, was 3rd. Kiwis John McKenzie, 4th, Brian Baker, 5th, and Tom Speed, 6th followed, with Tony Hill, NSW, 7th and Jeremy Firth, NSW, 8th.
Eighth Worlds were held in New Zealand in 1970. Won by defending Champion Kent Carlsson, Sweden from Thomas Jungblut, Germany, 2nd and Jonty Farmer from New Zealand, 3rd. Goran Dahlstrom, Sweden was 4th, Clive Roberts, New Zealand, 5th, Tony James, Australia, 6th, Norm Clarke, Australia, 7th and Karl Johansson, Sweden, 8th. The host club was the Takapuna Boating Club, Auckland and the series attracted 60 entries from Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, USA, Zambia and New Zealand. The efficiently organised Australian team of 20 performed well in this high standard event. Other Australian results were, Tony Hill, 17th, Jeremy Firth, 18 th, Tony Howard, 29th, Alistair Millar, 32nd, John Hardie, 33rd, Bill Russell, 35th, Gavin Shennan, 36th, Graham Read, 37th, Ray Stone, 38th, Peter Alexander and Richard Blundell, tied 40th, Alan Clark, 43rd, Jim Ley, 44th, Ian Gleeson, 47th, Leigh Bradstreet, 48th, Bruce Williams, 52nd, Barry Dean, 53rd and Tom Jordan, 57th.
Ninth Nationals were held in Hobart, Tasmania 1970/71 at Sandy Bay SC. Won by Jeremy Firth, NSW, from Bram Knoop, Tasmania, 2nd and Richard Blundell, Tasmania, 3rd. Only a relatively small fleet of 30 boats contested the event sailed in what was described as the most appalling weather on record. Jeremy won the Championship by mastering the ever-changing conditions that included flat calms, south-easterly gales and north-westerly squalls with heavy rain. He sailed a very consistent series to record two heat wins and a dropped placing of 5th. Dick Knoop, Tasmania 4th, Tony Hill, NSW, 5th, Peter Alexander, NSW, 6th, Peter Angus, Tasmania 7th followed by Doug Sharpin, Vic. completed the top eight for the series.
At the Ninth Annual General Meeting of the Australian Association held in Hobart on 30th December 1970, the name of the association was formally changed to the Australian OK Association.
Sixth Interdominion Championship was held in Melbourne Vic. at Black Rock YC, Easter 1971. Won by Tony James, NSW, from Tony Hill, NSW, 2nd and Ray Stone, Vic., 3rd. Jeremy Firth was 4th followed by Kiwis, Wayne Watkins, 5th, Glen Berleme, 6th and Peter Menzies, 7th. Peter Alexander, NSW rounded out the top eight for the event
Ninth Worlds were held at Kiel, Germany in 1971. Won by Thomas Jungblut, Germany. The series was conducted by the host club, Kieler Yacht Club and was sailed off Kiel-Schilksee.
Tenth Nationals were held in Mackay, Nth.Qld. 1971/72 at Mackay YC. Won by Norm Clarke, Qld, from defending Champion Jeremy Firth, NSW, 2nd and Terry Jordan, Qld, 3rd. A small fleet of 29 boats contested the event that was embraced by all as a very social series. The racing was basically a Norm and Jeremy match-racing event with Norm’s 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, DNF – 6 points, proving just too good for Jeremy’s 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1 – 9 points. Phil Maloney, NSW finished 4th, Jim Ley, NSW, 5th,Mal Beattie, Qld, 6th, Herb Prendergast, Qld, 7th and Geoff Dunn, Qld, 8th. It was at this series that Patrick Whittington made his auspicious Australian Championship debut in “Jo Jo”, KA306 finishing 25th overall and the legends of “Lizard Hollow” were born.
Seventh Interdominion Championship was held in New Plymouth, NZ. at the New Plymouth YC, Easter 1972. Won by Clive Roberts, New Zealand from John Douglas, New Zealand 2nd and Wayne Watkins, New Zealand, 3rd. This was definitely a “big boys” contest. Winds of 25-35 knots whipped confusing seas on top of 4 metre ocean swells to create sea conditions described as making Somers look like a “Sunday school picnic on a fish pond”. There were plenty of swims but fortunately little gear damage considering the conditions. Clive gave a magnificent exhibition of heavy weather sailing to win the seven races of the series for a perfect score. Sailing borrowed boats from the 1970 Worlds Brian Collins, Vic. placed 11th, Bill Tyler, NSW, 19th, Bill Bell, Vic, 22nd, Graeme Walliker, NSW, 23rd and Val Gersbach, NSW, 27 th. This event really was something special. The seas had to be seen to be believed. You would scream down the face of one wave only to then stop in the trough and look up to the crest of the next one to see other OKs floating almost an entire mast height above you. I had never sailed an OK in conditions like these before and still have not sailed in anything similar since. On shore the hospitality of the Kiwis was fantastic. A once in a lifetime event – truly a great experience!
Tenth Worlds were held at Marstrand, Sweden in 1972. Won by Kjell Axerot, Sweden from Graeme Woodroffe, New Zealand, 2nd and Per Wennersten, Sweden, 3rd. The series was conducted by the host club, Marstrands Segelsallskap with a fleet of 78 boats representing Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Norway, Australia, Germany, Holland, Great Britain, Finland, Poland, Belgium and Canada. Australia was represented by Norm Clarke, who finished 19th, Jerry Firth, 30th, Terry Jordan, 45th,Ian Kingsford Smith, 46th and Kevin Gumley 64 th. Norm was again able to win one race but could not display the necessary consistency required to be competitive in such a high standard event. Graeme Woodroffe was considered unlucky not to win this series as he had to contend with a pack of seven Swedes in the top ten places overall.
Eleventh Nationals were held in Adelaide, SA. 1972/73 hosted by Holdfast Bay YC. Won by Norm Clarke, Qld, from Peter Burford, SA, 2nd and reigning World Champion, Kjell Axerot, Sweden, 3rd. A fleet of 59 boats contested the event that saw Norm take out his 4th National Championship in five years. Trevor Baker, SA, finished 4th, John Smallwood, NSW, 5th, Mike Wells, NSW, 6th, Mike Shaw, Vic. 7th and Tony Hill, NSW was 8th.
Eighth Interdominion Championship was held in Sydney, NSW, at Vaucluse YC, Easter, 1973. Won by Tony Hill, NSW, from Glen Berleme, New Zealand, 2 nd and Jim Ley, NSW 3rd. A fleet of 37 boats contested the event but unfortunately only two entries were received from New Zealand. Nevertheless it was a good event and the kiwis enjoyed their trip to Sydney. Mike Wells, NSW, finished 4th, Phil Maloney, NSW, 5 th, Bob McCrossin, NSW, 6th, Bill Tyler, NSW, 7th and Ian Cameron, NSW was 8th.
In July, 1973, National Association President, Ray Stone was invited to Singapore by the Changi Sailing Club to assist with coaching the Singapore team for the South East Asian Peninsula Games. Col. Charles Willans, a retired British Army Officer was chosen to organise the yachting for the Games and to produce a good local team. The OK Dinghy was one of four classes chosen for the Games. Ten new OKs were ordered from Seamark-Nunn in England for the Games and for training. Five countries competed in the Games; Malaysia, Singapore, T hailand, Burma and the Khmer Republic.
Eleventh Worlds were held at Falmouth, England in 1973. Won by Clive Roberts, New Zealand from defending Champion, Kjell Axerot, Sweden, 2nd and John Dawson-Edwards, Britain, 3rd. The series was conducted by the Port of Falmouth Sailing Association and hosted by Royal Cornwall YC on the waters of Falmouth Bay. A fleet of 72 boats contested the series. Australia was represented by five competitors; Tony Hill who finished 20 th, Jim Ley, 27th, Mike Shaw, 43rd, Ian Cameron, 52nd and Richard Blundell, 63rd.
Twelfth Nationals were held in Adelaide, SA. 1973/74 hosted by Holdfast Bay YC. The series was a prelude for the World Championships to be held the following week. Won by John Smallwood, NSW, from Peter Burford, SA, 2nd and Bob McCrossin, NSW, 3rd. A fleet of 56 boats contested the event and it proved to be a good warm up for the Worlds. Bruce Ashton, Vic. finished 4th, Gil Calaby, SA. 5th and Ian Gleeson, Qld. 6th.
Twelfth Worlds were held in Australia in 1974. This was the first OK Dinghy World Championships held in Australia and was a great success. Won by Torban Andrup, Denmark from Jorgen Lindhartsen, Denmark, 2nd and former World Champion Kjell Axerot, Sweden, 3rd. Torban, Jorgen and fellow Dane, 15th placed Frank Lyhne, all used chartered Pamcraft hulls built for the Championship by Phil Maloney. New Zealand’s Graham Woodroofe was 4th followed by the top placed Australian, Peter Burford, 5th. Defending World Champion, Clive Roberts, New Zealand, finished 6th followed by fellow Kiwis, Peter Lester, 7th and Harold Bennett, 8th. The series conducted by Holdfast Bay YC on the waters of St. Vincent Gulf, Adelaide, SA. was contested by a fleet of 67 boats.
Ninth Interdominion was held in Auckland, New Zealand, Easter, 1974. Won by Clive Roberts, New Zealand.
Thirteenth Nationals were held in Brisbane, Qld. 1974/75 at Sandgate YC. Won by Bill Bell, Vic. from Ian Brown, NSW, 2nd, Ray Stone, Vic., 3 rd, Bob McCrossin, NSW, 4th, Ian Gleeson, Qld., 5th and Bill Tyler, NSW 6th. Mark Fisher, Vic. sailing his first OK Nationals finished a very creditable 7th overall and won the Junior Championship. A fleet of 43 boats contested the event sailed in good sea breezes and short, steep waves on the shallow waters of Bramble Bay.
1975 – Peter Lester wins Interdominions, Clive Roberts passes away, he will be missed. Ray Stone elected as Life Member.
Tenth Interdominion was held in Melbourne, Vic., Easter, 1975 at Frankston YC. Won by Peter Lester, New Zealand from fellow kiwis Clive Roberts, 2 nd and Rex Lamb, 3rd
OK Dinghy sailors throughout the World mourned the loss of former World Champion, Clive Roberts who was tragically killed in a car accident in New Zealand shortly after returning home from the 1975 Easter Interdominion. Clive was not only a champion sailor he was also a champion man. He was responsible for much of the success of the OKs in the Southern Hemisphere in the early days. Sincere sympathy was extended to Bev Roberts and her family from all involved with OKs in Australia. Bill Bell represented members of the Australian Association at Clive’s funeral.
As a memorial to the late Clive Roberts the Australian OK Association established a Trust Fund to assist with the development of Australian Junior OK sailors. Donations from OK members throughout Australia contributed to the fund that was formerly named the Clive Roberts Trust.
The International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU) granted International status to the OK Dinghy in 1975. OKDIA introduced new measurement rules as a result of the granting of International status. In Australia, the change in status of the class from a National class to an International class resulted in the Australian Yachting Federation (AYF) taking over the administration of the registration process for OKs.
Thirteenth Worlds were held at Helsinki, Finland in 1975. Won by Paul Kirkerterp, Denmark from Peter Lester, New Zealand, 2nd, and Per Hylander, Sweden, 3rd. Rex Lamb, New Zealand finished 8th, defending Champion, Torban Andrup, Denmark, 21st, Gary Lock, New Zealand, 29th, Bill Bell, Australia, 46th, John Welson, New Zealand, 58th and Peter O’Neill, Australia, 75 th.
Fourteenth Nationals were held in Melbourne, Vic. 1975/76 at Black Rock YC. Defending Champion, Bill Bell, Vic. won his second title with Jeremy Firth, NSW, 2nd, and Ray Stone, Vic. 3rd. John Stevens, Vic. was 4th, Bob McCrossin, NSW, 5th, Selwyn Parker, NSW, 6th, Mike Shaw, Vic. 7th with Mark Fisher, Vic. finishing 8th overall and retaining the Junior Championship. The 43 entrants had an unforgettable opening day’s racing, eventually wiped out as malevolent (some might say satanic) black clouds ringed Port Philip Bay at one time or another. In the morning race the fleet ploughed through a rain squall that obliterated the boats and also the rounding marks. In the afternoon a nasty looking southerly made nonsense of the course forcing another abandonment.
At the Fourteenth Annual General Meeting of the Australian Association held in Melbourne on 30th December 1975, Ray Stone was formally elected as the first honorary life member of the International OK Association of Australia.
Eleventh Interdominions were held in Auckland, New Zealand at the Murrays Bay Boating Club, Easter, 1976. Won by Rex Lamb from New Zealand. This series saw the debut of the New Zealand “Icebreaker” hull developed by Gary Lock and John Welson. Gary, John and Bill Tyler sailing the magnificent KA568 did little to enhance the reputation of the new design at this contest. These first three boats were not too flash! KA568 needed extensive surgery by Geoff Comfort before it was ready to sail in Australia but even then it sometimes behaved more like a submarine than an OK Dinghy. Over the years since then the “Icebreaker” has proven to be very successful with Richard Dodson winning two World Championships in a boat from this design. Thanks to the efforts of Gary and John at a time when not much else was happening with new ideas for the OK, the much improved “Icebreaker” mould is still being used to build new boats in New Zealand to this day.
Fourteenth Worlds were held in Denmark in 1976. Won by the defending Champion, Paul Kirkerterp from Denmark. The series was conducted by the Morso Sejlklub, Nykobing on the island of Mors, North Jutland.
Fifteenth Nationals were held in Sydney, NSW, 1976/77 hosted by the Botany Bay YC and sailed on the waters of Botany Bay. Defending Champion, Bill Bell, Vic, made it three in a row to retain his title again. Runner-up was Bruce Ashton, Vic, with Bob McCrossin, NSW, 3rd, followed by Peter Gale, Vic, 4th, Jerry Firth, ACT, 5th and Mark Fisher, Vic, 6th and successfully defending the Junior title. Rod Laing-Peach, NSW finished 7th, Terry Bellair, Vic, 8th, Jim Ley, NSW, 9th and another junior, Barry Thompson, ACT, 10th. There were 47 entries for the event.
1977 – OK Worlds help in New Zealand, won by Peter Lester, Bill Bell comes 14th. Bruce Ashton wins his first Nationals.
Fifteenth Worlds were held in New Zealand in 1977. The series was hosted by the Takapuna Boating Club in honour of the late Clive Roberts, World Champion in 1973, five times Interdominion Champion and ten times New Zealand Champion. Clive died in a car accident in 1975 when he was President of OKDIA. A memorial service attended by all competitors, officials and OK followers was held on Takapuna Beach during the Championships. Won by Peter Lester, New Zealand from Barry Thom, New Zealand 2nd, Michael Nissen, Germany, 3rd, Graham Woodroffe, New Zealand, 4th , Alex Hagen, Germany, 5th, Dette Stigborn, Sweden, 6th, Per Frode, Sweden, 7th and Per Spangs, Sweden, 8th . Best Australian was three times National Champion, Bill Bell who won one heat and finished 14th overall.
Twelfth Interdominions were held in Sydney, Australia in 1977. Won by Rex Lamb, New Zealand. Runner-up was fellow Kiwi, Tom Dodson, with Bruce Ashton, Vic, 3rd, followed by Bill Bell, Vic, 4th, Jerry Firth, ACT, 5th and Bob McCrossin, NSW finished 6th. Terry Bellair, Vic was 7th, Peter Gale, Vic, 8th, Mark Fisher, Vic, 9th and Bill Tyler, NSW, 10th. The 31 entries for the contest included 5 Kiwis.
Sixteenth Nationals were held in Hobart, Tasmania 1977/78, hosted by Sandy Bay SC. Won by Bruce Ashton, Vic.
Thirteenth Interdominions were held in Wellington, New Zealand in 1978. Won by Tom Dodson, New Zealand.
Sixteenth Worlds were held in Holland in 1978 at Medemblik on the Ijlselmaer, located about 30 kilometres north of Amsterdam. A fleet of 78 boats contested the series with three Australians, Bruce Ashton, Peter Gale and Peter Takle, travelling to Holland to compete in the event. The Kiwis were also present with both Tom and Richard Dodson and promising junior, Leith Armit all expected to perform well. Won by the great Dane, Jorgan Lindhardtsen at his fifteenth attempt to win the Worlds after being very unlucky not to win on three other occasions. Runner-up was Leith Armit providing a forerunner of things to come. Tom Dodson was 5th, with brother Richard not too far behind. Bruce Ashton finished 18th , Peter Takle, 36th and Peter Gale with not one of his best efforts in 49th place.
Seventeenth Nationals were held in Adelaide, SA. 1978/79. Won by defending champion, Bruce Ashton, Vic.
Fourteenth Interdominions were held in Melbourne, Australia in 1979. Won by Bruce Ashton, Australia.
Seventeenth Worlds were held at Tonsberg, Norway, 1979. Won by Richard Dodson, New Zealand.
Eighteenth Nationals were held in Brisbane, Qld. 1979/80, hosted by the Sandgate YC. Won by Peter Gale, Vic, followed by Peter Takle, Vic. 2 nd, Terry Bellair, Vic. 3rd, Mark Fisher, Vic. 4th and Greg Stephenson, Vic. was 5th.
Fifteenth Interdominions were held at Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand in 1980. Won by Gary Lock, New Zealand.
Eighteenth Worlds were held at Varberg, Sweden, 1980. Won by Paul Kirketerp, Denmark to become the first ever three times OK World Champion.
Nineteenth Nationals were held at Batemans Bay, NSW, 1980/81. The event was the biggest and best Nationals held so far with a fleet of 79 boats representing all states where OKs were sailed at that time. Won by Peter Takle, Vic. with a perfect score of 0 with six wins from the first six races and a close second to Peter Gale in the final heat. Defending Champion, Peter Gale, Vic. was 2nd, followed by Bruce Ashton, Vic. 3 rd, Mark Fisher, Vic. 4th, Bill Bell, Vic. 5th and Chris Harmsen, Tasmania was 6th.
Sixteenth Interdominions were held in Melbourne, Vic. Easter, 1981 at the Mordialloc SC. A fleet of 54 boats entered the event including 3 Kiwis, David Bullock, Richard McLaren and Len Davies. Trevor Moy made the trip down from Qld. and five competitors came from SA with five more from NSW. The rest of the fleet consisted of the strong team of Victorians led by National Champion, Peter Takle. The series was generally light after a big blow for the Invitation Race that was abandoned and fresh winds for heats 1 and 2. Won by Peter Gale, Vic. from Peter Takle, Vic. 2nd with Tim Dorning Vic. 3rd. Keith Patterson, Vic, was 4th followed by Mark Fisher, Vic. 5th, Greg Stephenson, Vic. 6th, Chris Pratt, SA.7th and Bruce Ashton, Vic. 8th. David Bullock was best Kiwi finishing 12th overall.
Nineteenth Worlds were held in France, 1981 at Hyeres with a maximum 80 boat fleet. Peter Gale, Vic. won Australia’s first OK World Championship. Runner-up was Stefan Jarudd, Sweden, followed by Earl Berry, New Zealand, 3rd, Peter Takle, Australia, 4th,Ingvar Bengtsson, Sweden, 5th and Hakan Jonson, Sweden was 6th. Tomas Nilson, Sweden, 7th, Mats Bath, Sweden, 8th, Greg Wilcox, New Zealand, 9th and Yves Labbe, France rounded out the top ten. Other Australians who competed were Peter Jackson, Mark Fisher, Peter Lentz and Andy Tammesilde.
Twentieth Nationals were held in Melbourne, Vic. at Black Rock YC, 1981/82 as a warm-up series for the Worlds to follow. Won by defending champion, Peter Takle, Vic. from Chris Pratt, SA 2nd with Tony Manning, Vic. 3rd. Keith Patterson, Vic. was 4th, Larry Kleist, NSW, 5th, Trevor Butcher, SA, 6th, Glen Collings, Vic, 7th, Bruce Ashton, Vic, 8th, Brent Williams, SA, 9 th and Greg Stephenson, Vic, was 10th.
Twentieth Worlds were held in Australia, in 1982 hosted by the Black Rock YC, Melbourne, Vic. The series attracted 54 overseas entries with a further 26 competitors from Australia making up the maximum fleet of 80 boats. Won by Richard Dodson, New Zealand, followed by Stefan Jarudd, Sweden, runner-up for the second year in a row, with Australian Champion, Peter Takle, 3rd. Ingvar Bengtsson, Sweden, was 4th followed by Tony Manning, Australia, 5th and Larry Kleist, Australia 6th. Kiwis, Leith Armit, 7th, Earl Berry, 8th and Greg Knowles, 9th followed by Mats Bath, Sweden rounding out the top ten.
Seventeenth Interdominions were contested in conjunction with the 1982 Worlds in Melbourne and the trophy was awarded to New Zealand’s World Champion, Richard Dodson.
Twenty-first Nationals were held in Hobart, Tasmania at Sandy Bay SC, 1982/83. Won by Glenn Collings, Vic. from two times Australian Champion, Peter Takle with Trevor Butcher, SA 3rd. Anthony Reynolds, Vic. was 4th, Andre Blasse, Vic. 5th and Keith Patterson Tasmania 6th. The series was sailed in typical Hobart Championship weather. It snowed on Mt. Wellington on Christmas Day. A cold gusty weather pattern prevailed for the early part of the series and with three days to go only two of the scheduled five races had been sailed. The OOD, Bram Knoop, did extremely well to get seven well conducted races sailed under very trying circumstances. In five of the seven heats, Glenn and Peter took first and second places usually by significant margins from the rest of the fleet. With one heat to sail only 0.25 of a point separated the two, so if one of them won the final heat he would win the series. Again this pair cleared out from the start and fought a classic match race until disaster struck for Peter with a swim as he chased after Glenn on the square run. Glenn went on to win the heat and the first of his National Championships.
Eighteenth Interdominions were held in Auckland, New Zealand, Easter, 1983 at the Takapuna Boating Club. Five Australians made the trip across the Tasman. Juniors, Mitchell Galland and Mark Jackson from Victoria and Stuart Shimeld from NSW joined David Bullock, now wearing his Australian hat and John MacKenzie to take on the Kiwis. A fleet of 20 boats contested the event in mainly light to moderate conditions. Won by Greg Wilcox, NZ from Joe Porebski NZ, 2nd, Greg Wright, NZ, 3rd,David Gunn, NZ, 4th, Mark Crossin, NZ, 5th, Tui Scott, NZ, 6th, Michael Bamford, NZ 7th and David Bullock, NSW, was the first Australian to finish in 8th place. Other Australians were Mark Jackson, 9th, Mitchell Galland, 12th, John Mackenzie, 14th and Stuart Shimeld, 18th.
As a lead in to the Worlds in England in 1983, a team of five Australians, Glenn Collings, Mark Fisher, Anthony Reynolds, Andre Blasse and Peter Jackson embarked on a serious European campaign that was to make the OK world sit up and take notice. It started in Germany at Kiel Week with Glenn winning from Alistair McMichael, England, 2nd and Reemt Reemtsma, Germany, 3rd. Mark finished 6th, Anthony, 10 th Andre, 35th and Chocko 47th.
The team then moved on to the German Nationals at Lake Ratzeburg where Glenn was again successful in winning from Greg Wilcox, New Zealand and Rainer Rebbehn from Germany 3rd. The other Australian places are not known for this event.
Again the team moved on, this time to Arhus in Denmark for the Danish Nationals. This event was won by Stig Westergaard from Denmark, with Per Koergaard, Denmark, 2nd and Glenn, 3rd. Andre was 8th and Anthony 12th with Mark and Peter having a bit of a rest and counting a couple of DNS for the event.
The team’s next move was to Torbay in England for the British Nationals. Glenn again won from Alistair McMichael with Stig Westergaard, 3rd in a fleet of 98 boats. Glenn won two of the six races contested in light conditions and was very consistent overall. Mark won two of the races sailed in heavy conditions but didn’t feature in the top 10 so he must have been a little off the pace in the light stuff. No final results known for the other Australians at this event but Anthony rated a mention with a 3rd in the 5th heat. Overall a very successful tour of events for the young Australian team with Glenn’s three European victories following on from his Australian Championship.
Twenty-first Worlds were held at Torquay, England in 1983, hosted by the Royal Torbay YC. A maximum fleet of 80 boats contested the event. Won by Leith Armit, New Zealand from Stig Westergaard, Denmark, 2nd and Trevor Gore, Great Britain, 3rd. Greg Wilcox, New Zealand was 4 th, Alistair McMichael, Great Britain, 5th and Erwin Bergholt, Denmark, equal 6th on a count-back from Anthony Reynolds, Australia who won the Junior title with his very creditable equal 6th overall. Glenn Collings was 8th after his luck ran out in the early races of the series but he finished on a high note with a 2nd and a 1st in the last two heats. Mark Fisher was 9th, Andre Blasse, 49th and Peter Jackson finished 54th after upsetting the jury with his downwind technique! Team Meister, Patrick Whittington won 1st prize in the raffle – a Tiga Sailboard.
Twenty-second Nationals were held in Adelaide 1983/84 at the Holdfast Bay YC. Won by defending Champion, Glenn Collings, Vic, with a perfect score, six wins in six races contested to continue on from his European successes. Andre Blasse, Vic, was 2nd, Brent Williams, SA, 3rd, Alistair McClure, Vic, 4th, Mark Jackson, Vic, 5th, Peter Jackson, Vic, 6th, Anthony Reynolds, Vic, 7th and Mark Fisher, Vic, 8th
Nineteenth Interdominions were held in Sydney, NSW, Easter, 1984 at
Vaucluse YC. Unfortunately no Kiwis made it across the Tasman this time, but with a good effort from the Victorians and Brent Williams from SA joining the NSW fleet, 29 boats contested the event. With a mixture of a little breeze and the usual Sydney Harbour lottery, the best man finally managed to win the series. Glenn Collings was 1st followed by Mark Fisher, 2nd and Anthony Reynolds, 3rd, all from Victoria. Brent Williams from SA was 4th, Howard Taylor, NSW, 5th, Bruce Gunn, NSW, 6th, Justin Arthur, Vic, 7th and Andre Blasse, Vic. was 8th.
Twenty-second Worlds were held at Sonderborg, Denmark, in 1984. Won by Glenn Collings, Australia, to record this country’s second OK World Championship.
Twenty-third Nationals were held at Toronto, NSW, 1984/85, hosted by the Royal Motor Yacht Club. Won by defending Champion, Glenn Collings, Vic.
1985 – Great year of learning, three of the team that went to Europe this year, have since won the Worlds
During the European summer of 1985, a team of four young Victorian lads, Roger Blasse, Mark Jackson, Peter Milne and Neil Williamson set out to conquer the OK world. They were to be joined later by Mark Fisher to sail in lead up events to the 1985 Worlds. First stop was Germany, to compete at Kiel Week. Karsten Hitz , Germany, won the event with Matts Caap, Sweden, runner-up. Mark Fisher finished 3rd, Mark Jackson was 9th, Roger Blasse, 10th, Neil Williamson, 16th and Peter Milne, 20th in the 80 boat fleet. Not a bad start for our intrepid young adventurers!
On to Medemblik in Holland for the Dutch Nationals, where the Australians were joined by a couple of Kiwis, Leith Armit and Nigel Soper. Mark Fisher won the event that had a little bit of all conditions, from Leif, 2nd with Nigel, 3rd. Neil was 23rd and Roger, 27 th whilst Mark Jackson and Peter Milne were AWOL attending to other matters!
The Worlds then followed at the same venue, but more of that later. After the Worlds some of the team moved on to Ishoj in Denmark for the open Nordic Championship. Here, the fleet of about 35 competitors, enjoyed an excellent series. Stig Westergaard, from Denmark, won the event from Tomas Allansson, Sweden, 2nd and Peter Brogger, Denmark, 3rd. Kiwi, Nigel Soper was 5th, Mark Jackson was the best of the Australians with Roger and Peter out the back door.
This ended the trip for most of the team, but after a very slow start to his campaign young Peter was starting to get into the swing of things. He joined a couple of Danes for a quick trip to Poole ,England for the British Nationals and then back to Hornbaek in Denmark for the Danish Nationals. He was obviously enjoying himself and must have thought that he needed the practise. Trevor Gore, England, won the British Nationals from the Danes Bjorn Westergaard, 2nd and Nils Troland, 3rd. The other “Dane”, Peter, finished 8th overall to assist the “Danish” team to win the Teams Trophy.
Back to Denmark for the Danish Nationals where Reemt Reemtsma, Germany was successful with Jorgan Lindhartsen, Denmark, 2nd and Peter Brogger, Denmark, 3rd. Peter, starting to tire after all the border crossings, finished 14th to end his eventful tour of Europe. This proved to be a very beneficial campaign for the Aussies with all team members gaining much experience from their competition in Europe. Three members of the team have subsequently won an OK World Championship and who’s to say that there may not be more to follow!
Twenty-third Worlds were held in Holland, 1985 with a maximum fleet of 80 boats contesting the event. The series was again held at Medemblik, the venue for the 1978 Worlds. Won by Leith Armit, New Zealand to record his second World Championship victory. Runner-up was Reemt Reemtsma, Germany, with Mark Fisher, Australia, 3rd. Roger Blasse, Australia won the Junior Championship and finished 12th overall. Other Australians were Neil Williamson, 21st, and Mark Jackson, 24th, who both sailed very well to finish at the top end of the fleet. Peter Milne, unfortunately struck down by a mystery ailment, was very ill and unable to compete at the Worlds.
Twentieth Interdominions were held in Melbourne, Vic, Easter, 1985 at Black Rock YC. A fleet of 29 boats contested the event with one sole Kiwi entry. Mark Fisher won the series with four wins out of six heats. He was followed by local laser sailors Stuart Wallace, 2nd, and Alister McClure, 3rd. Justin Arthur was 4th, Andre Blasse, 5th, Malcolm Steel, 6th with the only Kiwi entrant Laurie McLean, 7th. Peter Milne, 8th, Mitchell Galland, 9th and Roger Blasse, 10th continued the Victorian domination of this event.
Twenty-fourth Nationals were held at the Royal Brighton YC, Melbourne, Vic. in 1985/86. Won by Mark Fisher, Vic.
Twenty-first Interdominions were held at Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand in 1986. Won by Peter Meo, New Zealand.
Twenty-fourth Worlds were held at Auckland, New Zealand in 1986 with a fleet of 52 boats contesting the event. Won by Mark Fisher, Australia to become our third OK World Champion, from Peter Meo, New Zealand, 2nd and defending Champion, Leith Armit, New Zealand, 3rd.
Twenty-fifth Nationals were held in Hobart, Tasmania in 1986/87. Won by World Champion, Mark Fisher, Vic.
Twenty-second Interdominions were held in Adelaide, Australia in 1987. Won by Roger Blasse, Australia.
Twenty-fifth Worlds were held at Lulea, Sweden in 1987. Won by Mats Caap, Sweden.
At the Twenty-sixth Annual General Meeting of the Australian Association held in Mooloolaba on 30th December, 1987, Bill Tyler was formally elected as the second honorary life member of the International OK Association of Australia.
Twenty-sixth Nationals were held in Mooloolaba, Qld. in 1987/88. Won by Roger Blasse, Vic. Runner-up was Mitchell Galland, Vic. with Malcolm Steel, Vic, 3rd, followed by Phillip Dubbin, Vic, 4th, Owen Kimberly, NSW, 5th and Ian Johnson, Vic, 6th. Peter Nielsen, SA, was 7th, Peter Milne, Vic, 8th, David Aitcheson, Vic, 9th and Craig Macauley, Vic, 10th. Junior Champion was Carl Schmidt, 1st Veteran was Bill Tyler and John Corby won the Patrick Whittington Trophy for 1st on Handicap. There were 24 entries at this event
Twenty-third Interdominions were held in Wellington, New Zealand in 1988. Won by Leith Armit, New Zealand.
Twenty-sixth Worlds were held at Travemuende, Germany in 1988. Won by Bo Staffan Andersson, Sweden.
Twenty-seventh Nationals were held in Adelaide, SA in 1988/89. Won by Mark Fisher, Vic. Runner-up was Andre Blasse, Vic. with Neil Williamson, Vic, 3 rd, followed by Roger Blasse, Vic, 4th, Alistair McMichael, SA, 5th and Phillip Dubbin, Vic, 6th. Mark Jackson, Vic was 7th, Steve Moore, SA, 8th, Peter Jackson, Vic, 9th and Malcolm Steel, Vic, 10th. There were 30 entries at this event.
Twenty-fourth Interdominions were held at Jervis Bay, Australia in 1989. Won by Leith Armit, New Zealand.
Twenty-seventh Worlds were held at Weymouth, England in 1989. Won by Per Hagglund, Sweden.
Twenty-fifth Interdominions were held in conjunction with the Twenty-eighth Nationals in Melbourne, Australia in 1989/90 as a prelude for the World Championships. Won by defending National Champion, Mark Fisher, Vic.
Twenty-eighth Worlds were held in Melbourne, Australia in 1990. Won by Leith Armit, New Zealand to become only the second three times OK World Champion.
At the twenty-ninth Annual General Meeting of the Australian Association held in
Sydney, Terry Bellair was formally elected as the third honorary life member of the International OK Association of Australia.
Twenty-ninth Nationals were held in Sydney, NSW at Drummoyne SC over the Christmas – New Year holiday period, 1990/91. Won by three times World Laser Champion, Glenn Bourke, NSW sailing in his first OK Championship event. Runner-up was defending Champion, Mark Fisher, Vic. from Peter Jackson, NSW, 3rd. Peter Horne, NSW was 4th, Carl Schmidt, Vic. 5th, Mark Jackson, Vic. 6th, Owen Kimberley, NSW, 7 th and Bob Chapman, NSW, finished 8th. Carl Schmidt, Vic. won the Junior Championship. 1st Veteran was Bob Stuart, NSW and Mark Jackson, Vic. won the Patrick Whittington Trophy for 1st on Handicap. There were 39 entries for this event.
Twenty-sixth Interdominions were held in Auckland, New Zealand in 1991. Won by Greg Wilcox, New Zealand.
Twenty-ninth Worlds were held at Vallensbaek, Denmark in 1991. Won by the 1988 Champion Bo Staffan Andersson from Sweden from Ulf Brandt, Denmark, 2 nd and Hedley Fletcher, United Kingdom, 3rd. Anders Andersen, Denmark was 4th, Carl Schmidt, Australia, 5th and Junior World Champion and Martin V. Zimmermann, Germany was 6th. Other Australians were Andre Blasse, 19th, Paul Richards, 29 th, Graham Adams, 37th and Bill Tyler, 69th.
Thirtieth Nationals were held in Adelaide, SA in 1991/92. Won by Mark Fisher, Vic. to record his fifth National Championship victory and to become the first OK helmsman to win this event five times. Runner up was Carl Schmidt, Vic. with Graham Adams, Vic, 3rd, followed by Peter Horne, NSW, 4th, Peter Milne, Vic, 5th and Mike Williams, Vic, 6th. Matt Johnson, Vic, was 7th, Steve Wilson, Vic, 8 th, Bruce Williams, Vic, 9th and Peter Nielsen, SA, 10th. There were 24 entries for this event.
Twenty-seventh Interdominions were held at Jervis Bay, Australia in 1992. Won by Peter Horne Jnr. Australia. Runner-up was Mark Fisher, Vic. with Carl Schmidt, Vic. 3rd, followed by Graham Adams, Vic, 4th, Roger Blasse, Vic, 5th and Craig Jelfs, NSW, 6th. Marc Sier, NSW was 7th, Nick Gray, NSW, 8th, Bob Chapman, NSW, 9th and Matt Johnson, Vic, 10th. There were 29 entries for this event but unfortunately no Kiwis could make it for the contest.
Thirtieth Worlds were held at Vitrolles, France in 1992. Won by defending Champion, Bo Staffan Andersson, Sweden to become the third three times OK World Champion.
Twenty-eighth Interdominions were held in conjunction with the Thirty-first Nationals in Melbourne, Vic. in 1992/93. Won by Andre Blasse, Vic. Runner-up was Nigel Mannering, NZ with fellow Kiwis, Duncan Gawley, 3rd, and Joe Porebski, 4th. Mark Fisher, Vic. was 5th, Malcolm Steel, Vic, 6th, Roger Blasse, Vic, 7th, Wayne Andrew, Vic, 8th, Matt Johnson, Vic, 9 th and Adrian Mannering, NZ, 10th. There were 50 entries for this event including 9 Kiwis and a very special visitor from Sweden, Kjell Nystrom.
Results for the 31st Nationals run in conjunction with the 28th Interdominions were; 1st - Andre Blasse, Vic, 2nd - Mark Fisher, Vic, 3rd - Malcolm Steel, Vic, 4th - Matt Johnson, Vic, -5th - Wayne Andrew, Vic, 6th - Roger Blasse, Vic, 7 th - Peter Jackson, Vic, 8th - Bruce Ashton, Vic, - 9th - Mike Williams, Vic. and 10th - Craig Jelfs, NSW.
Thirty-first Worlds were held at Puck, Poland in 1993. Defending Champion, Bo Staffan Andersson, Sweden became the first helmsman to win three OK World Championships in a row with another great win in this event. He also became the first four times OK World Champion.
1994 – Leith Armit wins for the fourth time, Mateusz Kusznierewicz (Finn Gold Medallist - 1996) comes second in Worlds in New Zealand and Alistair McMichael wins Nationals at Drummoyne,
Thirty-second Nationals were held in Sydney at Drummoyne SC in 1993/94. Won by Alistair McMichael, SA.
Twenty-ninth Interdominions were held in Napier, New Zealand in 1994 in conjunction with the New Zealand Nationals as a prelude to the World Championships. Won by Leith Armit, New Zealand.
Thirty-second Worlds were held at Napier, New Zealand in 1994. Won by Leith Armit, New Zealand to record his fourth World Championship victory, remarkably eleven years after his first win in England in 1983. Runner-up was Mateusz Kusznierewicz (Finn Gold Medallist - 1996) from Poland with Roger Blasse, Australia finishing third in this contest.
Thirty-third Nationals were held at Glenelg SC, Adelaide over the Easter long weekend, 1995. This event also doubled up as the Thirtieth Interdominion Championship with three kiwis joining us for the contest that attracted 23 starters. Won by defending Australian Champion, Alistair McMichael, SA from Roger Blasse, Vic. 2nd and Mark Fisher, Vic. 3rd. Bob Buchanan, NSW was 4th on a countback, followed by Dave Ketteridge, SA, 5th and Matt Johnson, Vic. 6th. Andre Blasse, Vic. was 7th and Justin Graham, Vic. 8th. Marcus Wettenhall, Vic. finished 12th overall and won the Junior Championship.
Thirty-third Worlds were held at Felixstowe, England in 1995. A fleet of 80 boats contested the event hosted by Felixstow Ferry SC with Mark Fisher and Alistair McMichael representing Australia at the contest. Won by Bjorn Forslund, Sweden from Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark, 2nd with Ulf Brandt, Denmark, third. Martin Von Zimmermann, Germany was 4th, David Rose, Great Britain, 5th, Bogaslaw Moczorodynski, Poland, 6th, Karsten Hitz, Germany, 7th, and Bjorn Hultgren, Sweden finished 8th. Mark Fisher sailed well to finish 10 th and “new” Aussie, Alistair McMichael back on his home waters found the conditions to his liking for a well deserved 14th position overall. Rafal Szukiel from Poland finished 23rd overall and won the Junior Championship.
Thirty-fourth Nationals were held at Black Rock, Vic. early in January, 1996. A fleet of 27 boats contested the event sailed in typical cold, wet and windy Port Phillip conditions. Won by Roger Blasse, Vic. from Carl Schmidt, Vic. 2nd and Andre Blasse, Vic. 3rd.
Thirty-first Interdominions were held in Auckland, New Zealand at Takapuna early in February, 1996 in conjunction with the NZ Nationals. A fleet of 30 boats contested the event with four Australians including National Champion, Roger Blasse making the trip across the Tasman to compete. Won by Greg Wilcox in this Kiwi dominated contest from Peter Waymouth, 2nd and Duncan Gourley, 3rd. Joe Porebski was 4th followed by the Mannering brothers, Nigel, 5th and Adrian, 6th with Roger Blasse best of the Australians in 8th place.
Thirty-fourth Worlds were held at Varberg, Sweden in 1996 with 81 boats competing in the event. Australia was represented by the brothers Blasse with Roger finishing 12th overall and Andre 59th not all that comfortable in the trying conditions that prevailed for the contest. Won by Christian Carlsson, Sweden from Hedley Fletcher, Great Britain, 2nd with Martin Von Zimmermann, Germany, third. Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark was 4th followed by Kiwis, Duncan Gourley, 5th and Nigel Mannering, 6th. Mats Caap, Sweden, was 7th and Nigel’s brother, Adrian Mannering, New Zealand, finished 8th.
Thirty-fifth Nationals were held in January, 1997 at Glenelg SC, Adelaide, SA. The event was conducted in conjunction with the Thirty-second Inter-dominion Championship as a lead-up series for the 1998 Worlds. A fleet of 41 competitors contested the event including four visitors from New Zealand. Won by Andre Blasse, Vic. from his brother Roger, Vic. 2nd and Peter Milne, Vic. 3rd. Mark Fisher, Vic. was 4 th followed by Carl Schmidt, Vic. 5th and Russell Wood, New Zealand, 6th.
Thirty-fifth Worlds were held in Denmark at Sonderborg in 1997. A fleet of 79 boats contested the series but no Australians competed in this event. Won by the 1995 World Champion, Bjorn Forslund, Sweden from runner-up Karsten Hitz, Germany with Hedley Fletcher, Great Britain, third. Anders Andersen, Denmark, was 4th, Jonas Persson, Sweden, 5th, Jan-Eric Nystedt, Sweden, 6th, Martin Von Zimmermann, Germany, 7 th and Antoni Pawlowski, Poland was 8th.
Thirty-sixth Nationals were again held at Glenelg SC, Adelaide, SA over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, 1997/98 immediately prior to the World Championship. The event conducted as an open Championship and incorporating the Thirty-third Inter-dominions attracted 83 entrants. Won by defending National Champion, Andre Blasse, Vic. again narrowly defeating his brother Roger, Vic. 2nd with Karsten Hitz, Germany, 3 rd. Greg Wilcox, New Zealand was 4th, Peter Milne, Vic. 5th, Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark, 6th, Joe Porebski, New Zealand, 7th with Nigel Mannering, New Zealand, 8th. Hans Elkjear, Sweden, 9th and Peter Horne, NSW, 10 th rounded out the top ten for the event.
Thirty-sixth Worlds were held at Adelaide, Australia, in 1998 hosted by Glenelg SC. A maximum 80 boat fleet contested the event which was won by Roger Blasse, Australia to become our fourth OK World Champion. Fellow Australian, Carl Schmidt finished 2nd with Karsten Hitz, Germany, 3 rd. Andre Blasse, Australia was 4th, followed by John Gibson, Australia, 5th, Anders Andersen, Denmark, 6th , Hedley Fletcher, Great Britain, 7th with Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark 8th, again winning the Veteran Championship. Daniel Bush, New Zealand, was 9th and won the Junior Championship whilst Jonas Persson, Sweden finished 10th overall
Thirty-seventh Nationals were held at Wangi on Lake Macquarie, NSW over the Christmas – New Year holiday period, 1998/99. A fleet of 29 boats from SA, Vic. and NSW contested a very competitive event won by the reigning World Champion, Roger Blasse, Vic. Runner-up was Peter Milne, Vic. with John Gibson, Vic. 3rd. Mark Jackson, Vic. was 4th, defending Champion, Andre Blasse, Vic. 5th with Peter Horne, NSW, 6 th ensuring there was not a complete Victorian domination of the series. Rob Davis, Vic. was 7th, Tim Davies, NSW, 8th , Bob Chapman, NSW, 9th and Peter Burton, NSW, 10th. Junior Champion was David Clancy, Vic.
Thirty-fourth Interdominions were held at Napier, New Zealand in conjunction with the New Zealand Nationals in January, 1999. Again no Australians contested the event due to the timing involved. Won by Alistair Deaves from UK who has been living and sailing in NZ for the past year or so.
Thirty-seventh Worlds were held at Neustadt, Germany in 1999. A fleet of 82 boats contested the event with nine competitors representing Australia at the contest. Won by Peter Milne, Australia to become our fifth OK World Champion. Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark was runner-up and Nick Craig, Great Britain, 3rd. Jan-Eric Nysted, Sweden was 4th, Adrian Mannering, New Zealand, 5th, Thomas Hansson-Mild, Sweden, 6 th, Christian Midtgaard, Denmark, 7th and Michael Bachmann, Switzerland finished 8th overall. Other Australian places were Mark Jackson, 21st, Rob Davis, 23rd, David Clancy, 39th, Paul Richards, 50th, Peter Yates, 52 nd, Kevin Knott, 66th, Sean Wilson, 74th and Kyle Knott, 76th.
Thirty-eighth Nationals were held at Metung, Victoria early in January, 2000. Won by defending Champion Roger Blasse, Vic. from older brother Andre, Vic. 2nd and John Gibson, Vic. 3rd. World Champion, Peter Milne, Vic. was 4th and claimed the Veterans title, Mark Jackson, Vic. 5th, Rob Davis, Vic. 6th, Mark Fisher, Vic. 7th and David Clancy, Vic. was 8th. Tim Davies, NSW, 9th saved a complete Victorian wipe-out and Peter Jackson, Vic. finished 10th. James McAllister, NSW was 11th overall and won the Junior Championship and Bill Tyler, NSW finished 17th to win the Masters title.
At the Thirty Eighth Annual General Meeting of the Australian Association held in Metung on 10th January, 2000, Bill Bell was formally elected as the fourth honorary life member of the International OK Association of Australia.
Thirty-fifth Interdominion Championships were held over the Easter weekend, 2000 at Black Rock YC in Melbourne, Victoria.
A fleet of 30 boats contested the event including 12 from New Zealand. Won by Roger Blasse, Australia from Russell Wood, New Zealand, 2nd and Mark Jackson, Australia, 3rd. Kiwis Joe Porebski, 4th, Ben Morrison, 5th, and Paul Rhodes, 6th were followed by Australians, John Gibson, 7th and Matt Johnson, 8th. Greg Wilcox, New Zealand, 9th and Mark Fisher, Australia, 10th made up the top ten for the event. This proved to be one of the best Interdominion ever with the Australians just edging out the Kiwis for the Teams event trophy. There were seven different heat winners with Roger Blasse, Russell Wood, Mark Jackson, Paul Rhodes, Peter Milne, 12th, Andre Blasse, 13th and Bruce Ashton, 15th all winning one heat each in the event.
Thirty-eighth Worlds were held at Leba, Poland in 2000. A fleet of 68 boats competed in the Championship with one Australian entry, Junior Champion James McAllister, being assisted by the Clive Roberts Trust to contest the event. Won by Karsten Hitz, Germany with Nick Craig, Great Britain, 2 nd and Bart Bomans, Belgium, 3rd. Jorgan Lindhardtsen, Denmark was 4th, Thomas Hansson-Mild, Sweden, 5th, Dave Carroll, Great Britain, 6th, Andy Rushworth, Great Britain, 7th and Antoni Pawlowski, Poland finished 8th. James McAllister sailed very well in a chartered boat at his first World Championship to finish 33rd overall and to win the Junior Championship. Jorgen Lindhardtsen again was the winner of the Veteran Championship.
Thirty-ninth Nationals were held at Adelaide, SA, in January, 2001 and hosted for the first time by the newly established Adelaide SC. Won by Rob Davis, Vic. with a dramatic last heat win from John Gibson, Vic. 2nd and Mark Jackson, Vic. 3rd. Mark Fisher, Vic. was 4th and won the Veterans title, Paul Richards, Vic. 5th and Justin Graham, Vic. 6th. John Mackenzie, NSW, finished 7 th, Peter Nielsen, SA, 8th, Peter Burton, NSW, 9th and David Clancy, SA, was 10th. James McAllister, NSW finished 14th overall and retained his Junior Championship and Bill Tyler, NSW 17th to successfully defend the Masters title.
Thirty-sixth Interdominions were held at Worser Bay, Wellington, New Zealand in conjunction with the New Zealand Nationals early in February,2001. There were 23 entries but unfortunately no Australians could make it due to the timing of the event. Won by 1998 Junior World Champion, Daniel Bush from Paul Rhodes, 2nd and Adrian Mannering, 3rd. Nigel Mannering was 4th, Joe Porebski, 5th and Greg Wilcox, 6th.
Thirty-ninth Worlds were held at Bastad, Sweden in 2001 with a fleet of 79 boats including eight from Australia contesting the event. Won very comfortably by defending Champion, Karsten Hitz, Germany from Bart Bomans, Belgium, 2nd and Thomas Hansson-Mild, Sweden, 3rd. Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark was 4th, Nick Craig, Great Britain, 5th, Hedley Fletcher, Great Britain, 6th,Olle Albrektsson, Sweden, 7th and Paul Rhodes, New Zealand, 8th overall. Mark Jackson was the best of the Aussies with 11th , Rob Davis was 18th, Peter Burton, 35th, Bill Tyler, 54th, Peter Yates, 57th,Paul Richards, 62 nd, Damien Smith, 63rd and Peter Blunt finished 71st. Young Kiwi, Andrew Phillips, finished 47th overall at his first Worlds and won the Junior Championship. Jorgen Lindhardtsen retained his veteran title.
Thirty-seventh Interdominion Championships were contested at Napier, New Zealand in conjunction with the 2002 New Zealand Nationals as a lead in event for the Worlds and attracted 73 entries. This proved to be a very tricky series sailed in light shifty breezes and big swells and was well won by New Zealand’s Alastair Gair sailing in his first International OK event. Jin Hong-chul from Korea was 2nd followed by Kiwis Jayson Herbert, 3 rd and Richard Barker, 4th. Denmark’s Jorgen Lindhardtsen was 5th, Russell Wood, New Zealand, 6th, Roger Blasse, Australia, 7th and Paul Rhodes, New Zealand, 8th. Thomas Hansson-Mild, Sweden finished 9th and Nick Craig, Great Britain was 10th. The New Zealand team completely demolished the Australians for the Interdominion Teams Trophy event with Roger being the only Aussie to finish in the top twenty overall. Mark Jackson was our next best at 24th with John Gibson, 28th, Peter Horne 34th, Phillip Taylor 46th whilst the rest of our team struggled in the difficult conditions
Fortieth Worlds were held at Napier, New Zealand in 2002. Following the tragic events of September, 2001 it was feared that the series would not proceed. However good support was forthcoming from the Northern Hemisphere countries and a near maximum fleet of 78 boats contested the contest. For the first time we had a representative from Korea together with competitors from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, India, Poland, and Sweden joining with the Australians and New Zealanders for the event. The series was dominated by the Kiwis with a powerful display of consistent sailing in the mainly light conditions and lumpy seas on Napier’s off shore courses. Won by veteran Greg Wilcox, New Zealand contesting his 12th Worlds from Paul Rhodes, New Zealand, 2nd and Alastair Gair, New Zealand, 3rd. Korea’s Jin Hong-chul was 4th, Richard Barker, New Zealand, 5th, Roger Blasse, Australia, 6th, Russell Wood, New Zealand, 7th and Nick Craig, Great Britain, 8th. Defending Champion, Karsten Hitz, Germany was 9th, Thomas Hansson-Mild, Sweden, 10th, Bart Bomans, Belgium, 11 th with Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark, finishing 12th.overall. Mark Jackson was the next best Australian at 16th,with John Gibson, 27th, Peter Horne, 36th, Paul Richards, 45th, Phillip Taylor, 49th, John Mackenzie, 51 st, Justin Graham, 57th, James McAllister, 58th, Tom Pearce, 70th, Les McAllister, 72nd, and John Corby, 74th, rounding out the Aussies for the event. Andrew Phillips, New Zealand, finished 24th overall to retain his Junior Championship and Greg Wilcox is now also World Veteran Champion taking the title from Jorgen Lindhardtsen for the first time in many years.
Fortieth Nationals were held at Wangi, NSW over the Easter long week-end, 2002. Following the Napier, NZ Worlds in January it was thought that we may not receive full support for this event. However a super effort from all concerned saw a fleet of 40 boats contest our 40th Australian Championship. Won by Roger Blasse, Vic. from brother Andre Blasse, Vic. 2nd and Mark Jackson, Vic. 3rd. Mark Fisher, Vic. was 4th and successfully defended his Veterans title, local newcomer Mick McQueen, NSW, was 5th with a top effort in his first National OK event and Justin Graham, Vic. 6th. Tim Davies, NSW, 7th, Peter Burton, NSW, 8th, Bob Chapman, NSW, 9th and Peter Jackson, Vic. 10th rounded out the top 10 places. Bruce Ashton, Vic. finished 15th overall to claim the Masters title and James McAllister, NSW, 24th to retain the Junior Championship.
Forty-first Nationals and the thirty-eighth Interdominion Championships were held at St. Kilda, Vic, 2002/2003 hosted by the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron. Typical Melbourne New Year weather greeted competitors for the first few days of the Regatta resulting in only one race completed with two days to go. The Race Committee did very well in the last two days to sail three races each day to complete a seven race series. Overall results were Mark Jackson, Vic. 1st, winning the Championships for the first time, Matt Johnson, Vic. a well-deserved 2nd, and three times past winner Andre Blasse, Vic. 3rd. Bruce Ashton, Vic. was 4th successfully retaining the Masters title, with Peter Jackson, Vic, 5th and the winner of the Veterans title. Mick McQueen, NSW, 6th, Peter Horne, NSW, 7th, Tim Davies, NSW, 8 th, Chris Visick, Vic, 9th and Phil Taylor, Vic. finished 10th to complete the top ten placing’s. James McAllister, NSW was 13th overall and again the winner of the Junior Championship.
A small but nevertheless competitive fleet of 25 boats competed in the event. India’s Nitin Mongia became his countries’ first ISAF World Champion with his outstanding victory at his 3rd OK Worlds. In 2001 at Bastad, Sweden, Nitin finished 20th and in 2002 at Napier, New Zealand he came 26th. For the first Worlds on his home waters Nitin prepared well with a serious training programme on the Goa course in the four weeks leading up to the Worlds. He was on the water daily with a full-time coach getting used to the local conditions and developing the blistering down-wind speed that he produced in the events to follow. This preparation paid great dividends as Nitin was clearly the outstanding competitor in the prevailing conditions of light to moderate breezes and lumpy seas. He was a convincing winner of the India Nationals that preceded the Worlds and then produced another great effort to completely dominate the Worlds series against a top class fleet. Ben Morrison from New Zealand came second and Nick Craig from Great Britain was third. Rob Coutts, New Zealand finished 4th, Rudiger Prinz, Germany, was 5th, followed by New Zealand’s defending World Champion, Greg Wilcox, 6th, and fellow Kiwis, Joe Proebski, 7th and Paul Rhodes, 8th. Sweden’s Hans Elkjer was 9 th, and Australia’s sole entry in the event, James McAllister, finished a very creditable 10th at his first Worlds as a senior competitor.
The inaugural Asia-Pacific OK Championships was held at the Penghu Islands, Taiwan, early in October 2003.
This event was held in conjunction with the Taiwan Corona Extra King of Wind regatta that formed part of the 49er class world-series events for 2003. A small fleet of 11 OK dinghies was assembled for the series with boats transported to Taiwan with the assistance of China Airlines. The event was well sponsored and attracted a great deal of attention from the local TV and other media. Current European Champion, Bart Bomans from Belgium won the event and was much too good for the rest of the fleet. Russell Page-Wood, New Zealand, was 2nd and OKDIA Secretary, Robert Deaves from Great Britain was 3rd. John Ball from Great Britain was 4th, followed by local Taiwan laser sailor, Pan Wei Hua 5th, and Alex Scoles, Great Britain, 6th. Australia’s sole entrant, Bill Tyler was 7th after struggling in the fresh conditions with Audrey (Bart’s coach) from Belgium and Anna, Jason and Tila from the Canary Islands making up the rest of the fleet. This event provided a great promotional opportunity for the OKs to be seen at a new venue with extensive media coverage. Substantial prize money was provided for the championships by the event organisers and the major sponsors.
Forty-second Nationals and the thirty-ninth Interdominion Championships were held at the Whitsunday Cruising Yacht Club, Airlie Beach, Queensland over the Easter holiday period 2004.
This was an excellent series with fresh conditions providing a solid test for our first international contest with the new carbon masts. Roger Blasse dominated the event from the opening practice race through to heat 6 with convincing victories in all races. His new C-Tech mast and perfectly matched Gale and Rimington sail looked superb on AUS678 and together with Roger’s unmatched skills on the water, proved to be an unbeatable combination at this event. For heat 7 Roger used his old aluminium mast to provide some comparison for the other rigs but unfortunately broke some gear and finished back in the fleet. Overall this was a very impressive performance which showed that Roger has lost none of his well proven ability in the OK despite little time in the boat over the past couple of years whilst campaigning his 14ft skiff. Runner-up and first Kiwi was Mark Perrow, a former laser sailor who finished 4th in the 2004 New Zealand OK Nationals. Mark sailed an excellent series and counted four seconds in his results. Defending National and Interdominion Champion, Mark Jackson placed third. This was a very good result as Mark has not sailed an OK since last year’s contest which he won sailing Roger’s boat. He recently acquired a new C-Tech mast and Port Nicholson sail and borrowed the ex Peter Milne AUS674 for this event. Previous National Champions, Andre Blasse and Mark Fisher using aluminium masts finished 4th and 5th to show that they too have lost none of their outstanding OK skills. Mike Williams made a welcome return to the OK fleet and sailed a great series to finish in 6 th position. Peter Burton was the first NSW placed competitor finishing 7th, Trent Pryce, NZ was 8th, Chris Visick, Vic. was 9th and Phillip Rzepecky from NZ rounded out the top 10. Mark Fisher won the Veterans title and Bill Tyler battled on to the end to take out the Masters title. Trent Pryce won the Handicap series whilst James McAllister was awarded the Patrick Whittington Trophy for the first Australian competitor in the Handicap series.
With a maximum fleet of 81 boats entered. The event was hosted by Parkstone Yacht Club and contested on open water off shore from Bournemouth on Poole Bay. The course area was up to 1.5 hours sailing time from the yacht club located inside Poole Harbour. Negotiating the narrow entrance of the Harbour with the tide flow, vehicle chain ferry and shipping traffic was very frustrating before and after the racing each day. A moderate westerly off the shore for the first two days enabled four evenly contested races to be sailed to get the event off to a good start. For the next two days, the summer heat haze prevented any sea breeze building and all races were abandoned. On one of those days competitors sat for five hours on the water and waited a further three hours ashore on the nudist beach before being towed back to the club at around 1800. The next day in a very sick sea breeze, competitors were on the water for 10 hours to complete three painful races. The final day of the event was also light for most of the day and only two races could be sailed. However, at the completion of the generally well run 9 race series, seven different heat winners had been decided. In one of the most competitive International fleets ever present at an OK Dinghy Worlds, the best bloke still won! Jim Hunt became the first OK Dinghy World Champion from Great Britain and his training partner Nick Craig finished as runner-up following his win in the British Nationals the previous week. Jim won two heats and was only once outside the top 5 to win the event by a massive margin of 32 points. Third place went to defending Champion, Nitin Mongia from India proving his win the previous year was no fluke. European Champion, Bart Bomens, Belgium was 4th, Joe Porebski, New Zealand, 5th, Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark, 6th, Karsten Hitz, Germany, 7th, Thomas Hansson-Mild, Sweden, 8th, Steve McDowell, New Zealand, 9th and Paul Rhodes, New Zealand, 10th. Six more Kiwis in the next 10 places highlighted the outstanding effort of the New Zealand team at this event. Six Australians competed with some welcome sponsorship support from Pall Australia assisting with costs for the transport of the boats. Nick Gray finished 33rd, Peter Burton, 42nd, Chris Visick, 54th, Bill Tyler, 72nd, Tom Pearce, 75th and Richard Furneaux, 76th.
Six Australians made the trip across the Tasman to compete in the combined New Zealand Nationals and 40th Interdominion Championships sailed from the Napier Sailing Club. Sponsorship support for the transport of the boats was obtained from Jetset Travel Black Rock. The series was won by Steve McDowell with ex Laser sailor Karl Purdie, 2nd, and Greg Wilcox, 3rd. Mark Perrow was 4th with top placed Australian, Andre Blasse, 5th, Alistair Deaves, 6th, Ben Morrison, 7th, Paul Rhodes, 8th, Joe Porebski, 9 th and Russell Wood, 10th. Other Australian placings were Nick Gray, 18th, Richard Furneaux, 27th, Tom Pearce, 28th, Peter Lynch, 29th and Chris Hall, 31st.
This event proved to be a good warm up series for our important 2006 events. Its fair to say that we all learned something from the Championships and this should enable us to improve our performance in a number of areas for next year. We will need the co-operation and support from all members of the Australian OK Association and the Belmont 16 footers leading up to February, 2006. Forty-third Nationals were held at Belmont 16ft Sailing Club on Lake Macquarie, NSW over the Easter week-end 2005. This event was conducted at Belmont as a test event for our 2006 Australian, Interdominion and World Championships to be hosted by the club in February 2006. The Championship was sponsored by Zhik and attracted 42 entries from 5 states together with Mark Perrow from New Zealand, who competed by invitation. Defending Champion, Roger Blasse was again successful in a closely contested series with brother Andre Blasse, 2nd and Peter Horne, 3rd. Tim Davies finished 4th, Paul Foster, 5th, Mick McQueen, 6 th, Mark Perrow, 7th, Mark Jackson, 8th, Mike Williams, 9th and Peter Lynch was 10th. Andre Blasse won the Veterans title and Bill Tyler retained his Masters title. For the first time in many years we had three lads competing for the Junior Championship with Tom Burton winning from David O’Donnell and Jonathon Hogan. The highly coveted Patrick Whittington Trophy was awarded to David Ketteridge
Forty-third Worlds were held at Skaelskoer, Denmark in 2005. As with the preceding Worlds in the UK, conditions were variable throughout the week providing difficult racing for the fleet of 63 boats. Australia was well represented with our two best OK sailors, brothers Roger and Andre Blasse joined by Peter Nielsen and Paul Richards all sailing their own boats transported to Denmark for the Worlds. The Kiwis too were again well represented with 10 competitors contesting the event. Very close racing saw five different heat winners over the 9 race series with last year’s runner-up, Nick Craig from Great Britain finally breaking through to win his first OK Dinghy World Championship. Nick was very consistent throughout the week with 2 heat wins and a worst placing of 5th in the first 8 races enabling him to sit out the final race of the series. Jonas Quist, a Laser sailor new to the OK fleet in Sweden with 2 heat wins was 2nd followed by 2002 World Champion and winner of the Veterans title, Greg Wilcox, with 3 heat wins, 3rd. Roger Blasse was always in contention counting 3, 6, 6, 11, 3, 10, 14, 1 including his great win in the fresh conditions of the last heat to finish 4th. Denmark’s Jorgen Lindhardtsen, was the best of the locals finishing 5th ahead of team mates Mogens Johansen, 6th and Ulf Brandt, 7th whilst Steve McDowell, New Zealand finished 8th, Martin Von Zimmermann, Germany, 9 th and Peter Wibro, Denmark was 10th. Andre Blasse didn’t do himself any favours with 2 black flags on the first day giving him a poor start to the series. He then had a couple of good races to finish 26th overall with Paul Richards, 43rd and Peter Nielsen, 52nd.
2006 – Forty-fourth Nationals were held in conjunction with the forty-first Interdominion Championships
Held at Belmont 16ft Sailing Club on Lake Macquarie, NSW early in February 2006. The contest held as an open Championship with 78 entries from six nations was sponsored by TOSHIBA. This was a top series with fresh breezes and great summer weather giving our visitors a good introduction to Belmont and the superb sailing conditions experienced on Lake Macquarie. Defending Australian Champion, Roger Blasse won the closely contested event from Russell Wood, New Zealand, 2nd with World Champion, Nick Craig, Great Britain, 3rd. Andre Blasse was 4th, Mark Perrow, New Zealand, 5th, Karl Purdie, New Zealand, 6th, Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark, 7th and Greg Wilcox, New Zealand, 8 th. Peter Horne was the next best Australian finishing 9th and Mike Williams was 10th. Andre Blasse retained his National Veterans title, Bruce Ashton regained the National Masters crown and Tom Burton retained the Junior Championship. The Patrick Whittington Trophy was awarded to Mike Williams.
During the week of the Belmont World Championship event a “Golden Oldies” Masters Reunion of OK sailors from the 1960s and 1970s was held at Belmont 16ft Sailing Club. The reunion organised by the Australian Association’s first President and Life Member, Ray Stone, with assistance from his wife Robyn, was a great success. Over 60 guests attended the function that was superbly catered for by the staff at the club. Without mentioning names invited guests and former members of our Association and partners from Great Britain, Denmark, New Zealand, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory and throughout New South Wales were able to join us for the event. Many of the reunion participants also viewed the Worlds racing on the day from the chartered ferry “Wangi Queen” and a great time was had by all. This very successful day did much to contribute to the overall success of the Belmont Worlds.
Held at Belmont 16ft Sailing Club on Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia in February 2006. The great support received from Toshiba (Australia) Pty. Ltd., NSW Sport and Recreation, ESP Promotions, Ronstan, Zhik, Netwerks and Chippendale Printing Company Pty. Limited enabled the Management Committee to host a first class event. Excellent sailing conditions prevailed throughout the entire week of the series. The Race Committee headed by PRO, Kevin Wilson was able to complete the scheduled programme of 10 races for the first time since the introduction of the new race format to the International OK Dinghy World Championships. As the series progressed an epic contest developed between defending World Champion, Nick Craig, Great Britain and Denmark OK legend, Jorgen Lindhardtsen. The result was in doubt up to the last race with Jorgen just in front at the completion of race 9. Nick finally retained his title with a last heat win counting 7, 3, 6, 3, 2, 2, 1, 2, 1 for 27 points. Unfortunately for him, Jorgen had his worst heat placing of 10th in the last heat and counted 1, 3,7,8 ,2 ,3 ,8 ,2 ,1 for 35 points. Very close racing in all heats resulted in seven different heat winners with Greg Wilcox, New Zealand, 3rd overall, being the only other sailor to win two heats. Australian and Interdominion Champion, Roger Blasse was 4th with one heat win and Karl Purdie, New Zealand was 5th. Mike Williams, Australia, also won a heat finishing 6th overall from Peter Horne, Australia, 7th. Andre Blasse, Australia, had a heat win too and finished 8th, Adrian Mannering, New Zealand, was 9th and fellow kiwi Steve McDowell rounded out the top 10. Tom Burton, Australia, finished 35th overall and won the World Junior Championship not awarded since 2002. Jorgen Lindhardtsen regained his Veterans title last passed back to Greg Wilcox in Denmark at the 2005 Worlds.
2007 – 50th Birthday Celebrations for the OK Dinghy – a record 119 entries accepted for 45th Worlds at Leba, Poland
The Worser Bay Boating Club in Wellington, New Zealand hosted the combined New Zealand Nationals and forty-second Interdominion Championship over the long week-end early in February, 2007. Two Australians, Andre Blasse from VIC and Peter Wallace from NSW competed in the event using borrowed boats courtesy of the Kiwis. Wellington has a reputation for big breezes but a high pressure system produced a light weather series with winds coming from all directions other than the west. The series was dominated by the Kiwis and won by veteran sailor Paul Rhodes from Steve McDowell, 2nd and Volvo Round-the-World sailor, Stu Bannatyne, 3rd. This was Paul’s first National Championship and Interdominion Championship after 27 years in the OK class. A very well deserved and popular win was suitably celebrated by all competitors at the event. Luke O’Connell was 4th, Matt Stechmann, 5th, Mark Perrow, 6th, Karl Purdie, 7th, Andy Pardington, 8th, Alistair Deaves, 9th and Ben Morrison, 10th. Andre Blasse won a heat and finished 12th overall with Peter Wallace 16th in the 24 boat fleet.
Forty-fifth Nationals were held at Adelaide SC, South Australia over the Easter long week-end, 2007. A very good fleet of 39 boats contested the well conducted 7 race series. National Champion for the 9th time was Roger Blasse. Mike Williams was 2nd and Bruce Ashton was 3rd. Peter Horne finished 4th, David Ketteridge, 5th, local junior, Todd Hughes, 6th, Tim Davies, 7th, Andre Blasse, 8th, another local newcomer, Aaron Heritage, 9th and Bob Chapman, 10th. David Ketteridge was awarded the Veterans title, Bruce Ashton retained his Masters title and Todd Hughes won the Junior Championship. Adelaide’s Ellen Ketteridge won a hard fought Ladies title from Emily Furneaux from Black Rock YC. The Patrick Whittington Trophy was awarded to Bob Chapman.
Forty-fifth Worlds were held in Leba, Poland in 2007 as a celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the OK Dinghy. A record of 119 entrants was accepted for the event to commemorate this occasion. Conditions were extreme with racing not possible on the first two days of the scheduled programme due to the heavy conditions. The third day was also lost due to light frustrating conditions so the series did not get off to a good start. An eight race series was then sailed on the last three days of the event in very fresh conditions. Defending World Champion, Nick Craig from Great Britain sailed a great series to win his third World Championship in a row. Nick countered 4 wins, two seconds and a third placing and dropped another third for a total of 11 points. This was a wonderful effort in such a hard fought event. Mark Perrow from New Zealand won 3 races and finished 2nd on a count-back from team mate Karl Purdie who won 1 race and finished 3rd after both of the Kiwis were tied on 27 points. Karsten Hitz, Germany was 4th, Paul Rhodes, New Zealand, 5th, Gunter Arndt, Germany, 6th, Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark, 7th, Matt Stechmann, New Zealand, 8th, Andre Blasse, Australia, 9th and Oliver Gronholz, Germany finished 10th. David O’Donnell, Australia, sailed superbly in the conditions to finish 57th overall and won the Junior World Championship. Karl Purdie was the winner of the Veterans title. Other Australians were Bob Buchanan, 35th, Peter Lynch, 46th, Glenn Yates, 61st, Darren Hunt, 62nd, Richard Furneaux, 63rd, Tom Pearce, 96th and David Swales, 103rd.
At the opening ceremony for the 2007 World Championship the class unveiled the OKDIA Hall of Fame. OKDIA President, Greg Wilcox, introduced the initiative to honour the 50th year of the OK Dinghy. Greg said that it is hoped that our Hall of Fame will eventually include not only the great sailors among us but also those who have contributed in many special ways to the class we all love. Long term OK sailor Jorgen Lindhardtsen from Denmark was bestowed the honour of being the first inductee to the OKDIA Hall of Fame.
At the annual NSW Yachting awards held at Darling Harbour on Saturday, 4 August, 2007 OK Dinghy veteran Bill Tyler was awarded the prestigious Services to Yachting award. In making this presentation, Stephen Leahy CEO of Yachting NSW, paid tribute to Bill’s 50 plus years continuous sailing record in VJs, 16ft skiffs, Moths and the OK Dinghy and to his outstanding contribution to the OKs with his many years as an honorary official of the class associations.
The New Zealand OK Dinghy Class Association celebrated the 50th year of the OK Dinghy with a gala dinner at Takapuna Boating Club on 20 October. Nearly 70 OK Dinghy sailors from the past and the present came together for a week-end of racing and to remember some of their heroes from the past 50 years. During the ceremony, OKDIA President Greg Wilcox, proudly announced the induction of two fellow New Zealanders, the late Clive Roberts and Leith Armit, to the OKDIA Hall of Fame. Accepting the award on behalf of her late husband, Bev Roberts was visibly moved when Greg presented her with a memento of the occasion. Leith is a man of few words but in his short acceptance speech he said he was humbled, surprised and very proud to receive induction to the OKDIA Hall of Fame.
2008 – Roger Blasse 10 times Australian Champion. Bruce Ashton elected as a Life Member and Bill Tyler inducted to the OKDIA Hall of Fame.
The combined forty-sixth Australian Nationals and the forty-third Interdominion Championship was conducted at Black Rock YC on Port Phillip in January, 2008. Roger Blasse won the event and was crowned Australian Champion for a record 10th time. Unfortunately no Kiwis made it to the event on this occasion but a very competitive 32 boat fleet sailed a solid six race series. Roger won two races and scored two seconds and a third for a total of 9 points. He again just defeated his brother Andre who had one win, two seconds, a third and a fifth for a total of 13 points. Tim Davies was 3rd just holding out Bruce Ashton by one point to finish 4th. Justin Barr was 5th, Peter Wallace, 6th, Glenn Yates, 7th, David Ketteridge, 8th, David Clancy, 9th and Mick McQueen, 10th. The Masters title was retained by Bruce Ashton, Andre Blasse won the Veterans title and the Junior Championship was won by Morgan Stanley. Ellen Ketteridge again won the Ladies title in a close contest from Emily Furneaux. The greatly prized Patrick Whittington handicap trophy was won by Bill Tyler.
At the forty-sixth Annual General Meeting of the International OK Association of Australia held at Black Rock YC, Bruce Ashton was formally elected as the fifth Honorary Life Member of the Australian Association. It was considered appropriate for this honour to be announced at Bruce’s home club at the Australian Championship Presentation Dinner. Bruce now joins Ray Stone, Bill Tyler, Terry Bellair and Bill Bell as our Honorary Life Members. Bruce’s contributions to our association over the past 36 years or so have been enormous. As well as being a two time National Champion and wonderful competitor on the race course over all the years, Bruce has been responsible for assisting with much of the technical development of our boats and rigs throughout the past three decades. He greatly assisted Terry Bellair with his sail development programme during the 1980s onwards and has consulted with boat builders and rig developers to ensure we continue to be competitive with overseas developments. On the local Victorian scene at Black Rock YC, Bruce is always available to assist newcomers to our fleet with their introduction to sailing the OK Dinghy. He is always competitive and highly respected by all for his sportsmanship and comradeship. His dedication to our class over all the years is very deserving of this honour of Life Membership.
Forty-sixth World Championship was held at Warnemunde, Germany in July, 2008. This was an excellent event in a great location. At the conclusion of a very tense nine race series three times World Champion, Nick Craig from Great Britain, just failed in his attempt to become the first person to win four consecutive OK Dinghy World titles. Karl Purdie from New Zealand won two races on the first day and scored two seconds on the second day followed by a 2nd and a 3rd on day three to establish an early lead in the event. A 16th and a 7th on day four were enough to make up his winning series score of 34 points after another 16th for his drop in the only race on the final day of the contest. Nick Craig started relatively poorly for him with 7th and 3rd on day one, 3rd and a win on day two and 11th and 8th on day three. He had another win and his drop of 22nd on the fourth day and finished with 4th on day five for his total of 38 points. Australia’s Andre Blasse finished 3rd with very consistent racing. His score of 2, 9, 4, 3, 2,(46),7,11,2 for a total of 40 points highlighted his quality performance in the event. Only one race was possible on the last day due to the prevailing storm conditions. Who knows what the result may have been if a tenth race had been sailed! Former two times World Champion, Karsten Hitz from Germany finished 4th, Thomas Hansson-Mild from Sweden was 5th and Mark Perrow from New Zealand 6th. With yet another top ten finish in a World Championship OK legend Jorgen Lindhardtsen from Denmark was 7th,followed by Terry Curtis, Great Britain, 8th, Christian Olesen, Denmark, 9th and Greg Wilcox, New Zealand, 10th. World Champion, Karl Purdie also won the Veterans title. The Junior Championship winner Matthew Stephen from New Zealand sailed a great contest to finish 11th overall and scored an impressive heat win. Young Matt is a very talented sailor and hopefully he will remain with the Kiwi OK fleet leading up to the 2010 Wellington Worlds. The two Australian juniors sailed well with defending Champion David O’Donnell finishing 52nd overall and Morgan Staley in his first International contest finished 82nd in the 90 boat fleet. Other Australians were, David Clancy, 28th, Rob Davis, 38th, Bob Buchanan, 48th, Glenn Yates, 51st, David Ketteridge, 57th, Darren Hunt, 65th, Bill Tyler, 83rd and Peter Wallace, 87th after a bad head injury prevented him from sailing after the second day.
At the Championship Dinner held in Warnemunde during the Worlds, three of the most influential OK Dinghy sailors from Australia, Germany and Poland were honoured by being inducted to the OKDIA Hall of Fame. Bill Tyler (AUS), Norbert Petrausch (GER) and the late Marian Jankowski (POL) were recognised for their profound influence on the growth and development of the OK Dinghy class in their three countries. OKDIA President, Greg Wilcox, spoke of the inductees by saying that all amateur classes depend to a large extent on the enthusiasm and dedication of many unpaid individuals. He said that without people such as Bill, Norbert and Marian, OK Dinghy sailing in their countries would be far poorer as a result.
2009 – Andre Blasse wins the Nationals on a count-back from Peter Horne. Mike Walker elected as a Life Member.
The forty-seventh Australian Championship was held at Sunshine on Lake Macquarie, NSW. The series was hosted by the South Lake Macquarie ASC over the New Year period 2008/09. Extremely close racing in the 37 boat fleet saw Andre Blasse win his 4th National title on a count-back from Peter Horne with Mike Williams 3rd. Rob Davis finished 4th, Peter Robinson, 5th, Tim Davies, 6th and Bruce Ashton 7th. Joel Skelton in his first OK Nationals was 8th with Eddie O'Donnell, 9th and local club sailor Paul Foster, 10th. Andre retained his Veterans title and "Super Bruce" retained his Masters title. David O'Donnell placed 12th overall and won the Junior Championship. Frank Prater was the worthy winner of the Patrick Whittington Memorial Trophy for the Handicap event.
At the forty-seventh Annual General Meeting of the International OK Association of Australia held at the South Lake Macquarie ASC, Mike Walker was elected as our sixth Life Member. Mike has been a member of our association since 1970 and is our longest serving member still actively sailing OKs. Mike now joins Ray Stone, Bill Tyler, Terry Bellair, Bill Bell and Bruce Ashton as our Honorary Life Members. Mike has served on the Committee of the NSW Association for much of his time in our class. He was the NSW Secretary leading up to and during the 2006 Belmont Worlds serving on the Worlds Committee as the direct contact for the Race Management team. His total commitment to the planning and organisation for the event contributed greatly to the overall success of the Championships. Mike's continuous involvement with OKs for the past 38 years has been significant and he is a very worthy recipient of Life Membership of our National Association.
The forty-fourth Interdominion Championship was held in conjunction with the 2009 New Zealand Nationals at Worser Bay, Wellington, NZ, from 6-8 February. This event certainly lived up to the "Windy Wellington" reputation with a huge first day and moderating conditions for days 2 and 3. Three races were held on the first day with conditions described as "extreme" for the long and very testing run back to the club at the completion of the day's event. There were 35 entries with 7 Australians crossing the Tasman to compete in the 7 heat series. Mark Perrow won the event with a total of 8 points from 2,2,1,1,1,1 from World Champion, Karl Purdie with 9 points from 1,1,2,2,2,2 with Roger Blasse 3rd on 23 points from his places of 3,3,5,4,3,5. Paul Rhodes was 4th, Russell Wood, 5th, Adrian Mannering, 6th, Matt Stechmann, 7th, Luke O'Connell, 8th, Ben Morrison, 9th and Owen Anderson, 10th. Next best Australian was Rob Davis, 17th with Peter Lynch, 19th, Richard Furneaux, 23rd, Nigel Harvey 26th, Peter Robinson, 30th and Andrew Baker, 31st. From all reports this was another memorable contest with the Kiwis being much too good for us on this occasion in the team series.
The forty-seventh Worlds was held at Kalmar, Sweden from 26-30 July. There were 71 competitors with three Australians travelling to Sweden for the event. In another close contest Sweden's National Champion, Thomas Hansson-Mild finished on 18 points to just edge out the defending World Champion, Karl Purdie from New Zealand who finished on 19 points. Thomas has been a very consistent top ten finisher at the Worlds during the past decade and his win in this event on his home waters proved to be a very popular victory. Jorgen Lindhardtsen from Denmark placed 3rd on a count-back from Andre Blasse from Australia in 4th place after both finishing on 31 points. Greg Wilcox, New Zealand was 5th, Nick Craig, Great Britain, 6th, Terry Curtis, Great Britain, 7th, Pawel Pawlaczyk, Poland, 8th, Martin Zimmermann, Germany, 9th and Gunter Arndt, Germany was 10th. Australia's junior competitor Jonathan O'Donnell was 49th and his fellow Wangi club member Glenn Yates finished in 53rd position. Karl Purdie, New Zealand won the Veterans trophy and Bartosz Rakochy, Poland finished 24th overall to win the Junior Championship. Sweden's four times World Champion from the late 80s and early 90s, Bo-Staffan Andersson competed in this event after a long time out of the OK class. He finished in 11th position overall and his 4 top 10 heat places proved that he still has the skills to be competitive in our current fleet. During the Championships Bo-Staffan and the late Basil Crosby from Great Britain were honoured as inductees to the OKDIA Hall of Fame.
The Myuna Bay National Sprint Championships were held on Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra over the week-end of 26-27 September and hosted by the Canberra Yacht Club. This proved to be a little early in the season for the event as Canberra turned on a typical winter week-end, very cold, wet and windy. However we had 24 competitors turn up with members travelling from SA, Vic and NSW to contest the event. This was very encouraging support for the National Sprints and this should now become a regular event on our programme each year. Three races were sailed on Saturday and two on Sunday before everyone threw in the white towel and decided that enough was enough! Tim Davies won the event on 11 points from Mike Williams on 19 points and Eddy O'Donnell, 3rd on 21 points. Jono O'Donnell showed that he had learned much from his trip to Sweden to sail a great series for 4th overall on 25 points. Peter Lynch was 5th, Andre Blasse sailing the borrowed "Hot Rod", 6th, Nigel Harvey, 7th, Mark Roberts 8th, Gary Lokum, 9th and Marcus Wettenhall, 10th. The Myuna Bay Handicap Trophy was won by Andre Blasse. Canberra Yacht Club members did a great job conducting this event over the coldest September week-end in Canberra for 26 years.
Due to the New Zealand Worlds in February, 2010 it was necessary to schedule our forty-eighth Australian Championships for season 2009/2010 in December. The series was hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club and run in conjunction with the 2009 Sail Melbourne event. Mike Williams won his first National Championship finishing on 11 points with ten times National Champion Roger Blasse, 2nd on 15 points. Four times National Champion Andre Blasse was 3rd on 16 points with Tim Davies finishing 4th on 21 points. Mark Jackson was 5th, Glenn Williams, 6th, Bruce Ashton, 7th Eddy O'Donnell, 8th, Brent Williams, 9th and Peter Wallace, 10th. David O'Donnell retained the Junior Championship, Roger Blasse won the Veterans title and again "Super Bruce" Ashton retained his Masters title. The Patrick Whittington Memorial Trophy for the Handicap event was won by local Black Rock sailor Gary Lokum who sailed a great series to finish 11th overall in the Championship.
2010 – Mike Williams runner-up at the Wellington, New Zealand Worlds and wins his first Australian Championship.
The forty-fifth Interdominion Championship was held in Wellington, New Zealand in conjunction with the New Zealand Nationals as an open lead up event for the 2010 Worlds. This proved to be a very solid ten heat contest and gave competitors a good indication of what the conditions might be for the World Championship to follow. The Kiwis dominated the event that was won by Karl Purdie on 16 points from Paul Rhodes, 2nd on 24 points and Nick Craig, Great Britain 3rd on 25 points. Steve McDowell was 4th, Russell Page-Wood, 5th, Ben Morrison, 6th, junior Matt Steven, 7th, Brad Douglas, 8th, Adrian Mannering, 9th and Daniel Bush finished 10th. The Australians were lead home by Roger Blasse, 16th, Mike Williams, 25th, Gary Lokum, 33rd, Peter Robinson, 35th, Don Williams, 41st,Glenn Williams, 42nd, Eddy O'Donnell, 43rd, Andre Blasse 46th, Richard Furneaux, 47th, Andrew Baker 50th, Mark Roberts, 51st, David O'Donnell, 52nd,Peter Wallace, 54th, Brent Williams, 57th, Peter Lynch, 58th and Bill Tyler, 60th. The New Zealand team was a very convincing winner of the Teams event. Karl Purdie won the Veterans trophy and Matt Steven won the Junior Championship.
The forty-eighth Worlds were held in Wellington, New Zealand in February. The event was very successfully hosted by the City of Wellington in conjunction with the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club. There were 71 competitors for the Worlds with 24 sailors travelling from Europe to contest the event. New Zealand's Karl Purdie was successful in regaining the World Championship in his home town. He finished the series on 49 points with Australia's Mike Williams runner-up on 62 points with local New Zealand junior Matt Steven a very creditable 3rd overall. Paul Rhodes, New Zealand was 4th, Nick Craig, Great Britain, 5th, Brad Douglas, New Zealand, 6th, defending World Champion Thomas Hansson-Mild, Sweden, 7th, Steve McDowell, New Zealand, 8th, Andre Blasse, Australia, 9th and Ben Morrison, New Zealand, 10th. Australia's other competitors followed with Roger Blasse finishing 11th, Glenn Williams, 34th, Peter Lynch, 39th, Brent Williams, 45th, Peter Robinson, 46th, Gary Lokum, 48th, Peter Wallace, 51st, Eddy O'Donnell, 52nd, Mark Roberts, 53rd, Justin Barr, 54th, David O'Donnell, 55th, Richard Furneaux, 58th, Bill Tyler, 60th, Don Williams, 61st, Daen Dorazio, 62nd, and Andrew Baker, 64th. Karl Purdie won the Veterans trophy and Matt Steven won the Junior Championship.
The forty-ninth Australian Championship was held at Hobart, Tasmania hosted by the Derwent Sailing Squadron. This was a very well supported series with 33 boats competing in the event. The OK Nationals were last held at Hobart in 1987, 24 years ago. Those of us who competed then remember the wild conditions experienced for that series. Hobart again didn't disappoint when on the last day of racing a 40 + knot southerly buster flattened the fleet causing our PRO Jeremy Firth to abandon further racing for the day. In a five race all to count series, Mike Williams, Vic. won three heats to win on 12 points from Andre Blasse, Vic. on 18 points with Bruce Ashton, Vic, 3rd on 27.5 points. Then came Mark Jackson, Vic, 4th on 28 points, Peter Robinson, NSW, 5th on 29 points, Tim Davies, NSW, 6th on 44 points, Glenn Williams, NSW, 7th on 47.5 points, Gary Lokum, Vic, 8th on 49 points, Nick Gray, NSW, 9th on 56 points with Rob Davis, Vic, rounding out the top 10 on 59 points. Local lad Ollie Nicholas finished 23rd in his first OK Nationals and won the Junior title. Andre Blasse won the Veterans Trophy and Bruce Ashton retained his Masters title. Glenn Williams was awarded the Patrick Whittington Trophy for first on handicap.
The forty-sixth Interdominion Championship was contested at Black Rock YC, Melbouirne over the Easter long week-end. A very strong team of 12 Kiwis crossed the Tasman to compete and they dominated the event with an outstanding result of seven out of the top ten places in the Championship. Bradley Douglas, NZ won the series with two heat wins for a total of 12 points from World Champion, Karl Purdie, NZ with one heat win on 18 points with the top placed Australian, Roger Blasse, Vic, 3rd with one heat win on 21 points. Luke O'Connell, NZ also won a heat and finished 4th on 30 points, Mark Jackson, Vic with one heat win too was 5th on 43 points from Ben Morrison, NZ, 6th on 46 points, Mike Williams, Vic, 7th on 48 points, Alistair Deaves, NZ with one heat win was 8th on 49 points, Mark Perrow, NZ was 9th on 51 points with Paul Rhodes, NZ, 10th on 52 points. Karl Purdie was the first of 25 Veterans in the fleet whilst Bruce Ashton finished 13th on 82 points to be the first of our 8 Masters who contested the event. Jonathon O'Donnell was 37th on 207 points and the only Youth sailor in the 47 boat fleet. Simon Davis from England was a very welcome special visitor for the contest and he finished 38th overall on 213 points. Again, the New Zealand team were very convincing winners of the Teams event.
The forty-ninth Worlds were held at Largs, Scotland in July. Very mild Scotland summer weather ensured that competitors did not have to cope with the expected cold, wet and windy series. Instead the 76 boat fleet experienced light and variable conditions resulting in a very close contest for the World Championship. In a series reduced to only 6 races due to the light weather Nick Craig, Great Britain on 24 points did just enough in a nerve racking last race battle to edge out Martin von Zimmerman, Germany on 26 points and Thomas Hansson-Mild, Sweden on 27 points to win his 4th World Championship title. Greg Wilcox, New Zealand was 4th on a count-back also on 27 points. Bartok Rakocy, Poland was 5th on 31 points, followed by Stefan Myralf, Denmark, 6th on 37 points, Gunther Arndt, Germany, 7th on 38 points, Alistair Deaves, New Zealand, 8th on 41 points, Soenke Behrens, Germany, 9th on 48 points and Roger Blasse, Australia 10th on 48 points. Other Australian competitors were Mark Roberts, 21st, Peter Robinson, 26th, Tim Davies, 27th, Andre Blasse, 38th, Bill Tyler, 51st and Glenn Yates, 54th Martin von Zimmerman won the Veterans trophy and Richard Burton, Great Britain won the Junior Championship.
2012 - Mike Williams wins his third successive Australian Championship and Andre Blasse was elected as a Life Member of the International OK Association of Australia.
The fiftieth Australian Championship was held at Adelaide, SA hosted by the Adelaide Sailing Club from 3-8 January, 2012. A fleet of 27 starters contested the event to celebrate 50 years of continuous National Championships for the International OK Dinghy class. Mike Williams from Victoria was again successful in defending his title to record his third Australian Championship in as many years. Runner-up was our 2003 National Champion, Mark Jackson, Vic. with four times National Champion, Andre Blasse, Vic. finishing in third place. Next was Brent Williams, SA, 4th followed by local SA Laser sailor, Todd Hughes, 5th, Tim Davies, NSW, 6th, Peter Robinson, NSW, 7th, Mark Roberts, SA, 8th, Bruce Ashton, Vic., 9th and Glenn Williams, NSW, 10th. Jake O'Donnell, NSW won the Junior title, Andre Blasse retained the Veterans Trophy and Bruce Ashton again retained his Masters title. Brent Williams won the Patrick Whittington Trophy for first on handicap for the series.
At the 50th Annual General Meeting of the International OK Association of Australia held at the Adelaide Sailing Club, Andre Blasse was elected as our seventh Honorary Life Member. Andre's leadership of our class particularly in more recent years has been outstanding and has contributed significantly to Australia's development as one of the most active members of the OK Dinghy International Association (OKDIA). Andre is the immediate Past President of our National Association and is currently President of OKDIA. His valued assistance to fellow members over many years in encouraging our participation in International events and organising transport of our boats to Interdominion and World Championship events is very much appreciated. On the water Andre and his younger brother Roger have been Australia's most outstanding competitors at the National and International level in their OK Dinghy sailing careers, so far extending over the past three decades. Andre has competed in at least 20 Australian Championships, has won the National title on 4 occasions and has been runner-up in another 7 events many of those finishing a very close second to Roger, our 1998 World Champion and 10 times National Champion. Andre has also won the Interdominion Championship on 3 occasions and has been runner-up in one other Interdominion event. He has competed in at least 15 World Championships finishing 3rd at Warnemunder, Germany in 2008 and in the top 10 competitors on another 7 occasions at World Championships. Andre is very deserving of Life Membership of the International OK Association of Australia in this our association's 50th year. He now joins fellow Life Members from previous years; 1975-Ray Stone, 1987-Bill Tyler, 1991-Terry Bellair, 2000-Bill Bell, 2008-Bruce Ashton and 2009-Mike Walker.
The forty-seventh Interdominion Championship was contested at the Wakatere Boating Club in Auckland, New Zealand over the Easter period, 6-9 April, 2012. A fleet of 40 competitors included 15 Australians who shipped their boats from Melbourne and Sydney for the event. Ben Morrison, the long serving NZ Association Secretary, was a very deserving winner of the contest with a consistent score of 1,4,1,3,3,1 for a total of 13 points after six races to wrap up the event without needing to sail the final heat. Runner-up was Paul Rhodes, NZ, counting places of 3,5,3,6,1,2 for 20 points with Australian Champion, Mike Williams, 3rd counting places of 1,9,1,4,8,1 for 24 points. Bradley Douglas, NZ, was 4th, Roger Blasse, Australia, 5th, Luke O'Connell, NZ, 6th, Alistair Deaves, NZ, 7th, Mark Skelton, Australia, 8th, Mark Jackson, Australia, 9th and Russell Paige-Wood, NZ, 10th. Jake Weeks, NZ won the Junior Championship and the New Zealand team was again successful in winning the Teams Trophy.
The 50 year anniversary of the International OK Association of New South Wales was celebrated by current and former members and partners at a very successful social function held at Drummoyne Sailing Club on Saturday, 30 June, 2012. President, Eddie O'Donnell welcomed the 68 guests to the 50 year dinner and thanked everyone for attending to celebrate the success of the association over the past 50 years. Bill Tyler introduced our "golden oldies" and congratulated them for their great sailing and promotional efforts during our early days in the 1960s. Foundation members at the function included; Don and Berenice Board, now 89 years old Norm Fennell builder of the first OK Dinghy in NSW, Tony Hill, Mike and Denise Kirkbride and Ray and Robyn Stone. Life Member of the Australian Association, Ray Stone, was the first Secretary and then President of the Australian Association for most of the 1960s and into the 1970s. He and other members of his committees established the sound foundations for the success of our associations during those early years. Thank to their efforts OKDIA approved Australia to host our first World Championship in Adelaide in 1974. Again for the Melbourne Worlds in 1982, Ray lead the organisational team for that event. Ray is still involved with our association as a Trustee for the Clive Roberts Trust. Other members from the 1960s at the function included: Peter Alexander, Rodney Bassetti, Bob and Vicki Hale, John and Joan Hardie who travelled from Victoria to attend the dinner, Tony and Pam James, Ian Kingsford Smith, Rod and Fiona Laing-Peach, Jim and Judy Ley, Graham and Pam Read and Gavin and Carol Shennan. From the Lake Burrendong Sailing Club era of the early 1970s we also welcomed Val Gersbach and his daughter Stella-May Miller who joined us from Wellington NSW for the function.
The fiftieth Worlds were held at Vallensbaek, Denmark in July, 2012. A record fleet of 145 competitors contested the event to celebrate 50 years of our World Championship events. As in Scotland last year we experienced perfect summer weather for the event and again this resulted in light to moderate conditions for all races. A newcomer to our fleet was three times World Masters Finn Champion, Andre Budzien from Germany. Andre did not win a race but sailed an excellent series to count six top 10 places and win the event on 27 points. Runner-up was 2002 World Champion, Greg Wilcox, New Zealand with one heat win on 32 points. 2009 World Champion, Thomas Hansson-Mild, Sweden was third on 39 points. Then followed four times World Champion, Nick Craig, Great Britain, on 69 points, 4th, Jorgen Holm Nielsen, Denmark, 74 points, 5th, European Champion, Bartosz Rakocy, Poland, 82.5 points, 6th, Jorgen Svendsen, Denmark who won two heats to finish 7th on 83 points, Bo Petersen, Denmark, with one heat win for 85 points, 8th, Gunther Arndt, Germany, 89 points, 9th with Martin Von Zimmermann, Germany, 92 points, 10th. Our Australian team performed well in this top class fleet but lacked necessary recent competition in the prevailing light conditions. Mark Jackson finished 21st overall with our next best Andre Blasse, 39th, Roger Blasse, 46th, Andy Baker, 53rd, Mark Roberts, 67th, Daen Dorazio, 100th, Michael Horvath, 111th, Bill Tyler, 124th and Donald Williams who injured his leg and withdrew from the series finishing in 131st place. Greg Wilcox, New Zealand won the Veterans Trophy, Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark, finished 18th and won the Masters Trophy and Johannes Dagerbrant, Sweden, finished 26th to win the Junior Championship.
Over the week-end of 6-7 October, 2012 the Victorian Association enjoyed a long awaited return to Horsham Yacht Club for the renewal of their Inland Waters Championship. For the first time in the past 12 years Green Lake is at full level enabling the club to conduct their sailing events once again. A top fleet of 22 starters saw the old master "Super Bruce" Ashton win the event from current Australian Champion, Mike Williams, 2nd with NSW visitor Peter Burton a close 3rd. Mark Jackson was 4th, followed by 1999 World Champion Peter Milne making a welcome return visit to the OK fleet, 5th, David Ketteridge from South Australia, 6th, Peter Yates, 7th, Andy Baker, 8th, Andre Blasse, 9th and Chris Visick, 10th. To add to the excitement of the return to Horsham the Williams family experienced another first when Mike's wife Emily gave birth to son Bobby after dashing off to hospital on the Sunday afternoon. By far the best trophy Mike has ever taken home from an OK regatta!
2012/13 - Mark Jackson Australian Champion 10 years after his first National title in 2003 and the concept of a CAD timber kit built OK Dinghy is further developed Internationally by members in Denmark and New Zealand.
The fifty first Australian Championship was held at Wangi, NSW hosted by the Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club. A fleet of 40 boats contested the mainly light weather series over the 2012/13 New Year period. Mark Jackson from Victoria, our National Champion in 2003 and runner-up to Mike Williams in 2012, was successful in winning the title again 10 years after his first Australian Championship success at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron. Very close racing was experienced throughout the week with six different race winners from the seven races contested. Three times National Champion, Mike Williams from Victoria was runner-up with local Wangi sailor Mark Skelton, the only two race winner, NSW, 3rd. Andre Blasse, Vic., finished 4th after yet another count-back result over Peter Horne, NSW, 5th. Next was Peter Robinson, NSW, 6th, Tim Davies, NSW, 7th, Bruce Ashton, Vic., 8th, Eddie O'Donnell, NSW, 9th and Mark Roberts, SA, 10th. Jake O'Donnell, NSW retained the Junior title, Mark Jackson won the Veterans Trophy and Bruce Ashton again retained his Masters title. Elizabeth Williams, Vic., finished 21st overall and won the Ladies title. Folkert Janssen, Vic. sailed a great series to finish 14th overall and won the Patrick Whittington Trophy for first place on handicap for the series.
When Knud Olsen designed the OK Dinghy in 1956 his task was to create an inexpensive, light, one-man racing dinghy that could be home built by enthusiastic amateurs. Whilst the quality of new OKs built over the past two decades by commercial builders using the latest techniques in epoxy composite production has been greatly improved and new boats are now available in many OKDIA member countries, the cost of introducing new sailors into our class is a cause of some concern. Current members of our Australian Association will recall the introduction of a home built timber OK Dinghy from a kit designed by Damien Smith early in 2006. Damien, a former active member of our Association, is a Naval Architect living in Perth, WA a long way from our OK activities mainly based in SA and the eastern states of the country. The basic idea of Damien's concept developed with CAD (Computer Aided Design) software was to have all the plywood panels and various components for the curved chines, stringers, etc. pre cut in a kit using a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) routing machine to assist with the construction of a relatively inexpensive boat for enthusiastic home builders. Some of Damien's ideas for the internal construction of his boat differed from the available OK Dinghy plans last updated in 1986 so those issues of difference were cleared with the assistance of Andre Blasse then Chairman of the OKDIA Promotions Committee and the OKDIA Technical Committee before proceeding with the project. It's fair to say Damien's progressive design detail did not receive much support at the time but his concept for the CAD timber kit build for the OK Dinghy was met with enthusiastic approval by OKDIA. In 2010 we eventually proceeded with building a boat from Damien's kit with Wangi RSLASC member, Col Lynch, assisting with the construction of "True Blue"-AUS 751 for the NSW Association. Fast forward to 2012/13 when members from Denmark and New Zealand progressed the development process for the build of CAD timber kit boats with their designs. A Christian Hedlund designed boat built in Denmark won the 2013 European Championship and since then further development has simplified the build design and more timber boats have been constructed in Denmark using the kitset process. In New Zealand, Steve McDowell, Luke O'Connell and Matt Stechmann commenced investigations into a kit boat building programme early in 2012. Christchurch based Dan Leech, already established as a kit boat distributor for Sports Boats, assisted the group from Wellington refine their CNC files to produce their first boat by the end of July 2012. With further development of rigs for the new boats Luke and Matt placed 3rd and 6th in the 2013/14 Interdominion Championship and Luke won the 2014 New Zealand Nationals with Matt 3rd and Steve 5th sailing their kit built timber boats. Still early days yet but there certainly does seem to be a future for the CAD timber built boats developed from Damien's kitset concept introduced to us here in Australia early in 2006.
The fifty first World Championship was held at Pattaya, Thailand from 29 March to 5 April, 2013. The event was hosted by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club and sponsored by the Singha Corporation an important subsidiary of Boon Rand Brewery. Singha supplied welcome bottles of cold water for the sailors to assist them to remain hydrated whilst sailing in the hot and humid conditions and also provided ample supplies of their very popular beer for after race activities. OKDIA under the leadership of President Andre Blasse from Australia handled much of the pre regatta organisation. The Race Management team was lead by International Race Officer Kevin Wilson from Australia who also controlled the last very successful World Championship conducted in Australia held at Belmont, NSW in 2006. Seven containers of boats were shipped to Thailand from Europe and Australasia to make the regatta such an outstanding success. The fleet of 73 boats entered represented nine countries and included competitors from the host country Thailand. After a wonderful week of very competitive racing in mostly fresh conditions Roger Blasse from Australia secured his second OK Dinghy World Championship to win the gold medal for the event. Four times World Champion, Nick Craig from Great Britain, took the silver medal and Mike Williams from Australia runner-up at the 2010 Wellington, New Zealand Worlds had to settle for the bronze medal on this occasion. The overall results highlighted Roger's consistency throughout the event. He won one race and counted five seconds and two thirds for a series winning score of 17 points. Nick had one race win included in his series score of 32 points. Mike won three races in his series score of 35 points but unfortunately lost his rudder during race 7 on a drama filled day four when strong winds up to 20 knots and big waves tested competitors on the hardest day of the event. Paul Rhodes, New Zealand was 4th on 46 points, Mark Jackson, Australia, 5th on 49 points, 2002 World Champion Greg Wilcox, New Zealand, 6th on 55 points, Jorgen Svendsen, Denmark, 7th on 59 points and Stefan Myralf, Denmark, 8th on 68 points. The defending 2012 World Champion, Andre Budzien from Germany won four races but after dropping his OCS from race 4 had to count a DNF for a second yellow flag infringement from the jury in race 8 on day four to finish up in 9th place on 91 points. Terry Curtis, Great Britain, rounded out the top ten on 95 points. Other Australian team results were Brent Williams, 11th, Eddie O'Donnell, 20th, Mark Skelton, 21st, Gary Lokum, 27th, Mark Roberts, 32nd, Peter Robinson, 33rd, Don Williams, 36th, Andrew Baker, 37th, David Ketteridge, 42nd, Peter Lynch, 47th, Michael Horvath, 49th, Elizabeth Williams, 52nd, Andre Blasse 58th (only able to fly in late for the event to sail the last three races), Jake O'Donnell, 64th, Rik Thompson, 65th, Tom Pearce, 70th and Steve Schmidt, 72nd. Roger Blasse won the Veterans Trophy, Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark, finished 12th and won the Masters Trophy yet again, Elizabeth Williams won the Ladies trophy and Jake Weeks, New Zealand, finished 48th to win the Junior Championship. Roger's first World Championship success was achieved 15 years ago when he won in Australia at the 1998 Adelaide, SA event. His record of achievements over thirty years sailing the OK Dinghy in Australian and International events is quite outstanding. Roger has now won two World Championships, five Interdominion Championships and ten Australian Championships since he won his first National title at Mooloolaba, Qld. in 1988.
2013/14 - Greg Wilcox four times Interdominion Champion over the past 30 years and Mark Jackson successfully defends his Australian Championship.
The forty eighth Interdominion Championship and the fifty second Australian Championship were held at Black Rock Yacht Club in Melbourne over the 2013/14 New Year period. The event was used as an important practice regatta for the 2014 Worlds to be held at the same venue over the 2014/15 New Year period. This regatta was well supported by our New Zealand and Australian fleets with the Kiwis strongly represented by their 12 competitors including Brett Graham from South Africa in the 57 boat fleet. All sailors enjoyed the very competitive contest in typical Black Rock mid-summer conditions. In other words, light to moderate breezes of 6 to 8 knots for the first two days with freshening winds of 8 to 12 knots for races 5 and 6 on day three, 13 to 15 knots for races 7 and 8 on day four with a very solid 18 to 25 knots on day five to round off the week for race 9. There were no complaints heard when the Race Committee decided that we had all had enough practice and headed for shore when race 10 was blown out due to the still building wind strength and dangerous sea conditions on the final day of the regatta. At the conclusion of the contest two of our top competitors, Greg Wilcox, New Zealand and Mark Jackson, Australia finished equal on 28 points with Greg winning the Interdominion Championship on a count-back with his two race wins to Mark's one race win. Luke O'Connell, New Zealand was 3rd on 34 points, followed by defending Champion Ben Morrison, New Zealand, 4th on 52 points, Mike Williams, Australia, 5th on 54 points, Matt Stechmann, New Zealand, 6th on 57 points, Anthony Nossiter, Australia, sailing in his first International OK event, 7th on 60 points, Nigel Mannering, New Zealand, 8th on 65 points, Brent Williams, Australia, 9th on 78 points with Tim Davies, Australia rounding out the top 10 places on 82 points. The closely contested Teams Race trophy was won by Australia on 71 points from New Zealand on 73 points. Greg's win in this event was his fourth Interdominion Championship in a remarkable 30+ years career in the OK Dinghy class. With a World Championship from Napier, New Zealand in 2002, five New Zealand National Championships and many successes in European events over more recent years, Greg has proven to be one of the most consistent competitive OK Dinghy sailors in the history of the class.
As mentioned above the fifty second Australian Championship was contested in conjunction with the forty eight Interdominion Championship at Black Rock YC, Melbourne over the 2013/14 New Year period. Our PRO Mark Taylor together with the Black Rock YC race management team ran a fantastic series in the variable conditions experienced throughout the week. The National Championship fleet of 45 boats included the welcome addition of two very experienced Finn sailors with three times Olympian Anthony Nossiter and Rob McMillan from NB Sailsports sailing their first OK events. Anthony finished the combined event in fine style with wins in the last three races. His performance in the final race of the series with wind and sea conditions approaching maximum sailing conditions was very impressive. It was also great to see our 1999 World Champion, Peter Milne and his Flying 15 crew, Philip Dubbin back in the OKs once again. They can still do it! Mark Jackson from Victoria, successfully defended his Australian Championship with Mike Williams, Vic., runner-up to Mark once again as he was last year at the 2012/13 Wangi Nationals. Anthony Nossiter, NSW was 3rd, Brent Williams, SA, 4th with Tim Davies, NSW, 5th. Next was Peter Milne, Vic., 6th, Philip Dubbin, Vic., 7th, Bruce Ashton, Vic., 8th, Peter Horne, NSW, 9th and Peter Robinson, NSW, 10th. Mitchell Wilson, NSW won the Junior title, Mark Jackson retained the Veterans Trophy and Bruce Ashton won the Masters title yet again. Elizabeth Williams, Vic. finished 28th overall in the combined event and won the Ladies title. Michael Horvath, Vic, sailed well throughout the week to finish 41st overall and won the Patrick Whittington Trophy for first place on handicap for the series.
The fifty third Australian Championship was held in conjunction with the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne event at Sandringham YC, Melbourne during the invited International classes racing of the regatta week, 7-14 December 2014. Difficult fresh conditions and big seas were experienced on our scheduled race days. PRO Mark Taylor and his race management team endured four very tough days on the water conducting multi-class racing during the International classes events. Our National Championship fleet of 29 boats took the opportunity of using this event as a final warm up series before the 2014 Black Rock Worlds to be contested over the forthcoming New Year period. It turned out to be a solid training regatta as the fresh conditions prevailed for most races during the event. Mark Jackson from Victoria, again successfully defended his Australian Championship winning two races and finishing on 8 points with two times World Champion, Roger Blasse, Vic., 2nd also winning two races on 9 points and Mike Williams, Vic. with one race win 3rd, on 17 points. Mark Skelton, NSW, on 27 points was 4th and Tim Davies, NSW, on 31 points finished 5th. 1999 World Champion Peter Milne, Vic. with one race win on 36 points was 6th, Brent Williams, SA, on 39 points, 7th, Eddie O'Donnell, NSW on 40 points, 8th, Peter Horne, NSW on 41 points, 9th and Peter Robinson, NSW, on 48 points was 10th. Mitchell Wilson, NSW injured his collar-bone and had to withdraw from the contest but finished one race to retain his Junior title. Mark Jackson again retained the Veterans Trophy and Peter Milne, who had just recently celebrated his 55th birthday, won the Masters title. Grant Wakefield, NSW sailed very well to finish 17th overall and won the Patrick Whittington Trophy awarded for first place on handicap for our National Championship events.
2014/15 - At the 2014 Black Rock YC World Championship, New Zealand's Matt Stechmann and Luke O'Connell take out the quinella in their Dan Leech wooden kit boats. Three more Australians, Bill Bell, Roger Blasse and Andre Blasse were inducted into the OKDIA Hall of Fame at their home club during the event.
The fifty second World Championship was held at Black Rock YC, Melbourne, Australia from 28 December 2014 to 4 January, 2015. The fleet of 77 boats from 6 countries included two competitors representing the USA, four from Great Britain, five from Denmark, five from Germany, twenty from New Zealand and forty one from Australia. The Invitation Race day was abandoned when 30-40 knot winds welcomed competitors from early in the morning and buffeted the club throughout the day. At the event's Welcome Night function three more members of the Australian Association were inducted to the OKDIA Hall of Fame. Bill Bell, Roger Blasse and Andre Blasse all long serving members of the host club at Black Rock joined Australia's 2008 inductee Bill Tyler and some of the biggest names in the class over the past 58 years in this elite group whose qualification for induction is the gratitude and respect of fellow members of OKDIA member countries. Bill, Roger and Andre were presented with mementoes to mark the occasion and to acknowledge their enormous contributions to the ongoing success of the OK Dinghy class in Australia over many years. Robert Deaves summarised the on-the-water action for the week in his comprehensive report for the Championship; "It was not quite what it said in the brochure but it was still a fantastic event. The 2014 OK Dinghy World Championships at Black Rock Yacht Club was beset by bad weather almost from the moment that the practice days had finished. However five quality races were sailed out of a possible ten and Matt Stechmann from New Zealand was the deserving winner. It was also perhaps the closest OK Dinghy World Championship in history with five boats capable of winning going into the final race. In the end Stechmann crossed in 10th to win by one point from training partner Luke O'Connell, while defending Champion, Roger Blasse, of the home club, took the bronze medal. Only one point separated the top four boats." Day one of the Championship was lost when the strong winds of the abandoned Invitation Race day continued overnight and all of the next day sending crashing waves into Half Moon Bay making launching of the boats from the boat ramps impossible. The weather conditions abated overnight and day two commenced with no wind and a calm sea. It wasn't until around 1500 when a light southerly started to develop that PRO Mark Taylor was able to drop the postponement flag and get the fleet onto the water to commence the contest. The breeze slowly built to around 7-8 knots and after one general recall the first race was started under the U flag at around 1600. Matt Stechmann was best away towards the pin end of the line and was then able to cross the fleet and control the race in the slowly developing breeze. Jorgen Svendsen and Greg Wilcox worked their way clear of the chasing pack to finish 2nd and 3rd in race one. The breeze then really started to build as the Race Committee quickly reset the course to take advantage of the opportunity to get race two of the event underway in a solid 20 knots of wind and rising seas. These were fantastic conditions for the OK Dinghy and proved to be very much to the liking of Australia's Finn Olympic representative Anthony Nossiter who was the convincing winner of race two from defending Champion Roger Blasse, 2nd with Ben Morrison finishing 3rd. After a very long and testing day the fleet finally made their way ashore at around 2000 thankful to have two completed races for the Championship before commencement of New Year's Eve celebrations at the club. With a Lay Day scheduled for New Year's Day racing resumed for day three on 2 January when competitors were again greeted with glass like sea, rising temperatures and very little wind. After a brief postponement a hot north-west land breeze gusting to around 20 knots developed but by the time the fleet commenced a starting procedure the wind strength was down to around 8-12 knots. Jorgen Svendsen didn't get the best of the start but he made the most of the building pressure on the left side of the course to close on the early leader Christian Olesen and worked his way to the front up the second windward leg of the race. As the breeze continued to drop Luke O'Connell fought his way up to second and almost into the lead with assistance from a late 30-40 degree wind shift. Svendsen's final cover on O'Connell was just enough to enable him to cross the line first with Christian Olesen holding off the rest of the fleet to be 3rd boat across the line. With the breeze now rapidly fading the fleet waited on the water for over an hour in stifling temperatures until the PRO abandoned racing for the day at around 1700. However, the drama for the day was not yet over! Once back on shore Jorgen Svendsen was protested by the Race Committee for a measurement issue detected on his boat following a random inspection after racing on day two. The protest was upheld and Svendsen was scored DSQ for race three. The race win went to Luke O'Connell with Christian Olesen 2nd and Mark Skelton 3rd. Day four of the Championship dawned and it was another long day as the strong northerlies returned with the hot and stifling temperature approaching 40 degrees. Racing was eventually abandoned early in the afternoon but a more favourable forecast for day five provided encouragement that two races could be completed on the last day of the event to enable the Championship to be completed. Day five delivered the promised 15-20 knots sea breeze and big waves. The PRO brought forward the scheduled start time for the day and two excellent races went ahead without delay in the fantastic conditions. Race four was won by Mike Williams after he started well and passed the early race leader Ben Morrison at the gybe mark. Mike was then able to hold off the closely bunched fleet for the rest of the race to lead across the finish line from Matt Stechmann 2nd and Greg Wilcox 3rd. The result of race five delivered a popular and well deserved win for the Commodore of the host club Andre Blasse. Andre started well at the starboard end of the line and found a clear lane up the middle of the first windward leg to lead comfortably around the first mark. He then sailed quick downwind to dominate the race in perfect Black Rock conditions. Ben Morrison finished 2nd and Roger Blasse was 3rd. However, the Championship was still on the line as Matt Stechmann tried to stay in touch with his fellow team member Luke O'Connell. After a very tense battle up the final windward work of the race Matt eventually crossed in 10th place with Luke two boats in front of him in 8th place. So, Matt Stechmann, New Zealand won the event on 18 points with his good mate and business partner Luke O'Connell, New Zealand second on count-back on 19 points. Matt and Luke both sailed their CAD timber kit boats developed over the past two years or so in conjunction with Dan Leech and their group building programme together with an extensive on-the-water training and rig assessment programme with their Wellington based team members. Roger Blasse, Australia was third on count-back on 19 points with Greg Wilcox, New Zealand fourth also on 19 points. Michael Williams, Australia came 5th on 21 points, Matt Coutts, New Zealand, 6th on 25 points, Ben Morrison, New Zealand, 7th on 35 points, Jorgen Svendsen, Denmark, 8th on 37 points, Mark Skelton, Australia, 9th on 38 points with Mark Jackson, Australia, rounding out the top ten on 40 points. Matt Stechmann won the Veteran's trophy, David Hoogenboom, New Zealand placed 20th overall and won the Master's trophy and Mitchell Wilson, Australia finished 61st to win the Junior Championship. Elizabeth Williams, Australia placed 51st in the event and won the Women's trophy.
The fifty third World Championship was held at Puck, Poland from 24 July to 1 August, 2015. The event was organised by the Polish OK Dinghy Association and hosted at the MOKSiR Puck Marina. An open fleet of 91 boats entered the event representing eight OKDIA member countries. A challenging week of extreme weather with very shifty winds and far too much rain presented competitors with testing conditions for racing in this contest. Andre Budzien from Germany with two wins from race 4 and race 5 included in his very consistent all top ten counting places finished on 31 points and won his second OK Worlds following on from his first win at Vallensbaek, Denmark in 2012. Charlie Cumbley, a very experienced top level multi dinghy class sailor from Great Britain, sailed extremely well throughout the week to finish on 49 points and took out the silver medal at his first attempt at an OK Dinghy Worlds. Bo Petersen from Denmark with two race wins on the first day of the event finished on 56 points and won the bronze medal on this occasion. 2009 World Champion, Thomas Hansson-Mild, Sweden won the two heavy weather races on day four to finish on 59 points in 4th place, Stefan Myralf, Denmark on 78 points, was 5th and Mark Jackson, Australia on 87 points was 6th. 2002 World Champion, Greg Wilcox, New Zealand was 7th on 98 points and Simon Cowood, another welcome newcomer to the OKs from Great Britain was 8th on 134 points. Pawel Pawlaczyk, Poland, with one win from a gruelling race three after recovering from a capsize at the gybe mark, finished 9th on 136 points and Richard Burton from Great Britain sailed his best Worlds series to date and finished 10th on 138 points. The first attempt to sail race 8 was abandoned at the windward mark after a 70 degree wind shift caused great confusion for competitors and the race officials as they tried to abandon without any flags. The re-sail was eventually started in slightly more stable conditions but the breeze then lightened off and became very shifty again before dropping out completely for about 15-20 minutes up the final leg of the course. When some pressure returned from the corners to completely change the finishing order many competitors were surprised that the race wasn't abandoned once again. However, despite the disgruntled sailors, the PRO decided that the race should stand and Dawid Kania from Poland was the winner from race 8. The final race of the series was looking doubtful as many sailors were not keen for a repeat of the confusions surrounding race 8. Fortunately a 10-12 knot stable breeze started to build and brilliant sunshine appeared to allow race 9 to proceed in the best weather conditions for the week. 1978 World Champion, Jorgen Lindhardtsen, Denmark, still competitive in the class at 70+ years of age won the Invitation Race to commence the Championship at the beginning of the week and then finished off as he started with a very popular win in race 9 to place 22nd in the series. Andre Budzien won the Veterans trophy, Stefan Myralf won the Masters trophy, Johannes Dagerbrant from Sweden won the Junior Championship and OKDIA Secretary, Juliane Hofmann finished 74th overall and won the Women's trophy. Our Australian Champion, Mark Jackson, again sailed very consistently at this elite top level to count race places of 12, 11, 15, 8, 7, 16, 6 and 12 for his total of 87 points and 6th place overall to record his third top ten World Championship result in the past three years. Other Australian team results were Brent Williams, 16th, Glenn Williams, 33rd, Mark Roberts, 41st, David Ketteridge, 47th and Andrew Baker, 60th.
2016 - Mark Jackson's fourth successive Australian Championship. He now joins Mark Fisher with five career National titles chasing the record of ten career Nationals held by Roger Blasse.
The fifty fourth Australian Championship was held at Adelaide, SA hosted by the Adelaide Sailing Club from 4-8 January, 2016. A fleet of 22 starters contested the event sailed over five days in fantastic Adelaide summer weather. Fresh breezes greeted the sailors on all days with one race lost on day three when the PRO, Malcolm Hughes, sent the fleet ashore in the building wind and sea conditions after the completion of race five. Mark Jackson from Victoria was again successful in defending his Australian Championship, his fourth in as many years and his fifth career National title. He now joins 1986 World Champion, Mark Fisher, with five career National titles to continue to chase the record of ten Australian Championships held by 1998 and 2013 World Champion, Roger Blasse. It was pleasing to see Mark Fisher, together with Bob Buchanan and Stephen Wilson, make a welcome return to our fleet for this event. Runner-up in the series was Brent Williams, SA, with Peter Robinson, NSW, 3rd. Tim Davies, NSW, was 4th, Eddie O'Donnell, NSW, 5th, Folkert Janssen, Vic., 6th, Stephen Wilson, Vic., 7th, Glenn Williams, NSW, 8th, Gareth Wells, NSW, 9th and Mark Fisher, Vic., 10th. Mark Jackson won the Veterans trophy and Peter Robinson won the Masters title. Elizabeth Williams, Vic., placed 16th in the event and won the Women's trophy. Tim Davies won the Patrick Whittington Trophy for first on handicap for the series. Unfortunately, there were no junior competitors entered for the event so the Junior Championship was not awarded this year.