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British Class Association plans OK class Tin Rig Revival for 2024

by Karen Robertson 17 Nov 2023 19:38 GMT
Tom Lee - Nationals at Herne Bay © Champion Marine

After a few years of growth culminating with British sailors winning both the 140+ boat World Championships at Lyme Regis and the 100+ boat European Championship at Lake Garda, the British Class Association is planning on putting a significant part of its focus on developing the class at grass roots and club level again.

With the run-up to the Worlds seeing a large influx of sailors into the class, the supply of mid-market boats remains tight as people who enjoyed the experience hang on to their boats with a view to participating in the fabulous locations that the major championships are visiting in the next few years.

These include the Worlds in Brisbane Australia in February 2024, with the 2024 Europeans being at the opposite end of the year in November at Palma Mallorca, and the 2025 Worlds are at Lake Garda which promises to be an enormous and fun event.

To encourage the class at grass roots, the class has looked closely at how they have developed relative to other similar common classes. There is no doubt that the advent of modern carbon rigs has seen the OK get faster relative to that iconic benchmark of a boat, the ILCA/Laser, with the boats currently sailing off almost on the same PY number (1104 / 1101 respectively) with only 0.3% difference between them.

However, 'back in the day' when all OKs had metal masts, OKs were slower than the Laser with PYs of 118 and 114 respectively which was a 6.3% difference in relative performance.

While many classes have published recommended PY figures for 'classic' boats based on sail numbers, the OK Class Association felt that this approach was not appropriate for the OK with its proven ability for older hulls to be refurbished, fitted with a modern carbon rig and still be competitive. Indeed, it has not been uncommon for 30+ year old boats with modern rigs to be at the top of the fleet even at the highest level.

With that in mind, the Class Association is proposing a recommended PY number for metal masted OKs of 1134 based on comparison of the historical PY data between the OK (1104/118) and Laser (1101/114), adjusted down slightly to be the current PY number of 1104 plus 30 to make it simpler to remember in the dinghy park. When clubs make their annual PY returns they should distinguish between 'standard' OKs and 'metal masted' OKs so that the number can be refined over time.

The Class Association hopes that this will help make the older OKs with 'Tin Rigs' (as they are affectionately known) more competitive at club level and encourage a revival of older boats for club sailing.

To help this hoped Tin Rig revival, the class intends to award prizes for Tin rigs at all the main open events and the UK Nationals (Brixham July 18th - 21st). If demand is there the class will consider sponsoring a Tin Rig championship which may even see some top sailors working up old boats to join in with the fun.

With tin rigged older boats often being available for a few hundred pounds, it's certainly a cheap way to get into this iconic class and the class recommended PY makes that an even more attractive option at club level and the class hopes that the Tin Rig Revival gains traction over the next few seasons.

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