Reply To: Future of the OK Dinghy
I figured I should add a Canadian point of view:
We are still trying to re-develop the fleet over here, so having an off-the-shelf OK Dinghy would be a great boost to the fleet. Right now we are dealing with old boats, and older sailors. With having these new-ready to race boats available, we can really get a larger number of bums in boats. As I have said earlier, the Fireball fleet is going thru much of the same over here. There currently isn’t a builder of new boats (like Guy Winder in the UK), so getting a new ready-to-race boat invloves importing one (big $$$$).
To address the levels of participation at events, especially Worlds, that is something else to worry about. Victoria hosted the Fireball Worlds in 2006, with only 49 boats participating. The previous year, the worlds were in Tiegnmouth (I think I spelled that wrong) in the UK and there were 175 boats on the start. The big difference between the participation numbers is partially explainable. The Canadian Fireball Class Association was told by some of the overseas classes that in order for them to participate, we would have to hold the event early in the year, in order for them to be able to have their boats home in time for the European circuit. Unfortunately, most of them bailed out, leaving only one shipping container from the UK and Ireland, and 1 from Switzerland/Germany.
It was a bit of a dissapointment to have this drop in numbers. It is my opinion that in order to keep numbers of particpants up to decent levels, the class must be willing to allow more boats from other countries to be entered (thus filling up vacant spots left by classes that are fulfilling their quota). I see that Leba has a great number of entries this year. Another thought for having to ship boats to other areas may be to approach the Sailing Associations (eg. RYA) about funding or sponsorship. Also working with other classes to host the major events in conjunction with other classes may make shipping easier (example host the OK Worlds, Finn Europeans, and 470 Europeans at the same or close venues)
As a representative of the Canadian Class (soon to be), I would gladly welcome the chance to host the Worlds over here. 2017 would be a great year, since the last time Canada hosted was 1967 in Montreal – thus we could celebrate the 50th anniversary of this event.
Thanks for reading my ramblings.