Please select your home edition
Edition
Leaderboard brokerage

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

Overy Staithe OK Open Meeting Preview
A change from tradition For more years than I care to remember a visit to Overy Staithe for the OK open has either meant a Friday evening drive or a very early start on Saturday. Posted on 15 Jun
Racing ramping up for the OK dinghy class
A plethora of upcoming events in the UK The OK class are ramping up for a very busy summer, with their Scottish Championship being held at East Lothian YC this weekend, sponsored by Allen, and the National Championship being hosted by Brixham YC from 18 to 21 July. Posted on 31 May
OK class Scottish Championship Preview
Being sailed for during the East Lothian Regatta next weekend The OK class are looking forward to competing for their Scottish Championship and the second part of their Border Trophy, both of which will be sailed for at East Lothian Yacht Club as part of their regatta, which is being held 1 and 2 June. Posted on 26 May
Overy Staithe Sailing Club Goakes Trophy Races
Including three generations of the Goakes family Nine competitors came to the start line for the first race, held on Saturday 11 May, including three generations of the Goakes family. It was a beautiful sunny morning with a gentle north easterly wind blowing. Posted on 12 May
Wet & wild end to huge Sail Port Stephens regatta
11 huge days of sailing, spanning three weeks and involving 215 boats Sail Port Stephens 2024 has wrapped up after 11 huge days of sailing, spanning three weeks and involving 215 boats. It culminated yesterday with the inshore Bay Series comprising J70s, sports boats and off-the-beach classes. Posted on 6 May
Ullswater Yacht Club Daffodil Regatta
A record entry of over 90 boats from as far afield as Dorset and Ireland A record entry of over 90 boats from as far afield as Dorset and Ireland took part in Ullswater Yacht Club's Daffodil Regatta over the weekend of the 27th and 28th April. Posted on 4 May
Nick Craig back on top of OK Dinghy World Rankings
For the first time in 14 years after winning the 2024 Worlds in Brisbane Britain's Nick Craig is back on top of the OK Dinghy World Ranking List for the first time in 14 years, moving up four places. Posted on 11 Apr
OK Dinghy UK News
Demo Boats, Venue Guides and Events With the increased interest in the OK Dinghy in recent years and an awesome World Championship under their wing, the UK association is aiming to make the class more accessible to sailors and to increase turn out at key events through several initiatives. Posted on 5 Apr
Ovington Inlands 2024 at Grafham Water
Over 70 boats racing in what felt at times like the start of spring Over the weekend of March 16/17 GWSC welcomed over 70 boats to what felt like at times the start of spring. Posted on 20 Mar
OK Sprint Races at Burghfield
A keenly contested event starts the OK North Sails Traveller Series Saturday, 2nd March, brought many sailors together from across the country at Burghfield Sailing Club (by Reading on the M4) for round one of the 'OK North Sails Traveller Series', the first of many scheduled events for the OKs in 2024. Posted on 5 Mar