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OK Dinghy Specific Gear from Allen Sailing

by Karen Robertson / Ben Harden 11 Mar 14:51 GMT
Karen Robertson at the 2021 OK Nationals © Richard Bowers

Allen, the UK hardware manufacturer, has been manufacturing performance sailboat fittings since before the OK was designed. The British company has a long history of supplying fittings to the OK fleet, most notably their radiused corner boom. More recently Allen has supported the UK OK National and Inland Championships with a very generous spread of prizes and probably more important, beer!

Hardware can often be overlooked on sailboats, but in fact it's quite an important part of how your boat feels and performs. Especially on the OK where each sailor has their own variation of deck fitting layout to suit their sailing style. So, for those who like to get technical here's a few details about existing and upcoming parts from Allen that might help you get that extra bit of performance from your boat.

Mainsheet Roller Fairlead

A quirk of the OK is the class rule of only being permitted to pump the mainsheet via a 3:1 purchase through the final block, which typically means pumping the sheet through a mainsheet jammer. This was introduced as a reaction to the unlimited pumping seen in the bigger, although similar Finn and it has been a measure that sits well with the class and is seen as encouraging skill and finesse over strength.

Mainsheet jammers feature a fairlead around the cam cleat to help guide the rope into the cleat from any angle. However, to do this the fairlead needs to be tight around the cam cleat which will usually add friction to the system. The standard fairlead is great for when you want to cleat the mainsheet but not so great when trying to pump and catch a wave!

Fortunately, the Allen design team came up with an ingenious solution. The roller fairlead is designed with rolling sides and top, so any upwards directional adjustment of the mainsheet is not affected by the friction of a normal fairlead. This design allows the user to pump the mainsheet from any angle and with reduced friction when compared to a standard mainsheet jammer system. The roller fairlead is also shaped to ensure that the mainsheet can still be guided into the cam cleat with ease.

The roller fairlead is a cam cleat accessory which will fit any cam cleat with a 38mm fixing hole centre. The assembly also comes with extra-long threaded bolts to allow for customisation with cam cleat lifters and wedges. The bolts can then be cut to the desired length to suit your needs.

Video showing how to install the roller fairlead:

New Allen OK Boom

Allen OK booms are known within the fleet for having their radiused corners which help to reduce the damage when sailors inevitably hit their heads! However, the design has been around for some time and the lever and fit-out is starting to look a bit dated. The design team from Allen have shared a pre-production render with us of a new design they have been working on and will soon be available to the public.

The update will include a brand-new lever design. The lever will be made from lightweight aluminium and anodised blue. The design will also feature caps on the end of the lever to reduce any damage caused by the lever if dropped onto the deck as well as specially designed sheaves for the vang rope to run around. A few of the other features include the use of Pad-Tii fixings to give neat and streamlined tying off points for blocks, as well as through deck bushes to allow for easy attachment of mainsheet configurations. More news about the Allen boom will soon be available, so keep an eye on the news section of the Allen website over the coming months.

In the meantime the OK class are looking forward to another great season being supported by Allen, especially when the fleet returns to Herne Bay SC for the National Championships which is being sponsored by Allen. As always the class demo boat is available for use at your club, at open events and especially for the UK Nationals. Please contact for more details.

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