Please select your home edition
Edition
Grapefruit Graphics 2019 - Leaderboard

Sustainability is Fundamentally OK

by Karen Robertson 22 Nov 2019 13:02 GMT

After being inspired by the excellent World Championship held in Auckland at the start of the year, the British OK class has taken the lessons learned from the Kiwis and have put in place their own Sustainability Policy and Action Plan aligned with the RYA Green Blue initiative.

With the UK class beginning to focus on the 2022 World championship to be held at Lyme Regis the action plan outlines the steps the class will take at events to encourage reuse of materials and resources, reduce waste where possible and ensure non reusable items are recycled where possible.

In many ways the OK is already well placed to lead the dinghy world in sustainability with boats remaining competitive in some cases for decades as the results at top events prove and the resurgence in the fleet of fast home built boats. At the recent world championships a 35 year old boat took third place, there were two home-built boats in the top ten and at the UK Nationals Terry Curtis sailed a boat that was older than some (human) members of the fleet into a respectable sixth place.

The resurgence in home built boats is down to the ground breaking work of Dan Leech who has produced a method of building a competitive OK from a 'flat pack'. The method starts with the builder getting locally-sourced plywood accurately laser cut using the CNC files purchased from Leech. These laser cut panels are first assembled into a stiff but easily assembled jig and the various panels and ribs are accurately slotted into place before being epoxied together to form the final boat. Using plywood from sustainable sources not only makes the boat easy to build for the amateur but avoids the need for large the large quantities of glass fibre, foam and resin needed to produce a professionally built foam sandwich boat.

While OK masts are now produced in carbon fibre, the class rules have avoided going down the road of either excessively expensive or fragile rigs and are to all intents and purposes virtually indestructible unless involved in a serious incident and a mast will last for many, many years. The class has also chosen to remain using Dacron sails and avoided the move to laminate sailcloth that many classes have made.

Although this can be seen as old fashioned the reasons for remaining with white sails are simple; they are generally cheaper than laminate sails and avoids an arms race into some of the more complex methods of sailcloth construction, they do not suffer from the sometimes severe shrinkage seen in laminate sails, and they remain competitive for longer all of which add to the overall sustainability of the class while keeping costs reasonable.

The key points of the OK sustainability action plan:

  • The sustainability policy will become a core value of the class, will be displayed prominently on the website and all members will be informed and encouraged to use the guidelines.
  • NOR and Sis will only be published online and only one copy will be displayed on event notice boards to reduce paper use. Communications will predominantly via the website, email and social media to further reduce the use of paper and the environmental cost of delivery.
  • The class will encourage competitors to double/triple trail where possible with the aid of social media and online resources to enable potential attendees to work together in minimising the carbon footprint in getting to events. Where feasible at longer duration events, the class will look at the potential for transporting competitors to and from the venue rather than individual cars.
  • Welcome packs at events will only contain recyclable and reusable products.
  • The use of reusable water bottles is to be encouraged by using onsite sources of drinking water or via water butts. We will ask competitors to ensure that water bottles, snacks, sponges etc are fastened to the boat so these items don't get washed overboard.
  • We will encourage the use of dedicated slipways so banks and beaches are not unduly disturbed or eroded. Wash-off facilities will be supplied where feasible so that all gear can be thoroughly cleaned after sailing to remove flora and fauna to reduces the likelihood of cross-contamination by invasive species.
  • Where the class is in control of catering the use of locally-sourced food and use reusable/recyclable plates etc will be used along with segregated waste bins.
  • We will encourage litter picks at open meetings.

For more details of the OK class, it's new sustainability policy and how to build a competitive boat at home contact the class association either via the class website www.okdinghy.co.uk or find us on Facebook.

Related Articles

New OK Dinghy class rules published
The 2020 changes that everyone needs to note Following the email vote at the end of 2019, the 2020 edition of the Class Rules has been published and is now available on the World Sailing website. Posted on 11 May
OK Dinghy Worlds schedule gets reset
A pragmatic approach that tries to find a balance between realism and hope Event organisers and class associations worldwide are facing huge challenges of not only deciding whether to run events this year because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also deciding how best to reschedule them to a later date. Posted on 28 Apr
Bill Bell - Long time OK and Finn sailor dies
Quietly spoken, but always considered, Bill Bell was a great friend to many sailors across the world The sailing world has lost a great friend. Quietly spoken, but always considered, Bill Bell was a great friend to many sailors across the world and will be sorely missed. Posted on 11 Apr
Where there's a will there's a way
The past fortnight has proved that sailors are a resourceful bunch If there's one thing that the past fortnight has proved, it's that sailors are a resourceful bunch. The vast majority of the sailing world can't get out on the water, but it certainly doesn't mean we're idle. Posted on 5 Apr
Restoring a very early wooden OK dinghy
Purchased free with a cheap trailer, and turned into an unexpected project Our series of ebay restorations continues, but this time only £50 was spent, or was that actually £0? Rob Efans tells us the story... Posted on 5 Apr
Statement from the OK Dinghy Class
On the situation with COVID-19 and its events schedule This is not the year we all planned. Due to the worsening situation with COVID-19 we are seeing events cancelled worldwide, therefore the OK Dinghy International Association Executive Committee decided to be pro-active and make some tough decisions. Posted on 3 Apr
OK Dinghy World Rankings
Thomas Hansson-Mild stays on top Thomas Hansson-Mild, from Sweden, stays at the top of the first OK Dinghy World Ranking list of the year, the third list in a row that the 2009 World Champion tops the list, after reaching the number one spot in July 2019 for the first time ever. Posted on 27 Mar
Hamble Warming Pan 2020 welcomes OKs
For their rescheduled Winter Championship on 29th March Hamble River Sailing Club is delighted to welcome the OK class to the 58th Hamble Warming Pan open meeting for their rescheduled Winter Championship. Posted on 12 Mar
OK dinghy class launch Euro League
The series will start at the ever-popular Spring Cup in Medemblik In response to the rapid growth of the OK Dinghy class in recent years, and calls for a coordinated European circuit, the International OK Dinghy Association has launched the 2020 OK Euro League. Posted on 10 Mar
The OK Dinghy class at the RYA Dinghy Show
A home-built boat and a variety of professional builders present too After a year of increased interest in the class, with record numbers of new boats being built in the UK and lots of new faces buying boats ahead of the 2021 World championships coming to the UK, the OK class are looking forward to the 2020 Dinghy Show. Posted on 21 Feb