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It’s A ok at the Maritime Museum

7 October — 31 December 2009

A new display at the National Maritime Museum

A new display at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall features an early example of a classic dinghy design that has stood the test of time and remains one of the most popular today - the OK dinghy.

The OK was the brainchild of Danish architect Axel Damgaard Olsen who, in 1956, saw the need for a fast, singlehanded boat with a simple unstayed rig, which would be exciting to sail. He provided the inspiration for his friend Knud Olsen, the Danish yacht designer, to draw up the plans for the OK.

Considered easy for home construction, the first 70 boats were built in Denmark between 1956 and 1957. By 1974 the class had achieved international status: numbers worldwide now exceed 15,000.

The Museum's OK dinghy No. 15, Ping Pong, was built in 1961 by Hugh Patton, who built several dinghies for himself and others in the back of his watchmakers repair shop in Bath. He was also a successful sailor and sailed the dinghy in the Olympic trials of 1963, when it was thought that the class might be involved in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. Ping Pong was sold out of the Patton family in 1968 and was donated to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall by the OK Dinghy British Class Association in 2008.

Andy Wyke, Boat Collections Manager at the Maritime Museum, says: "Originally the dinghy was to be named KO, after Knud Olsen's initials, until someone pointed out that Ko is Danish for cow! The OK is one of the most widespread international dinghies, with a loyal worldwide following. It is sailed in over 20 countries and has inspired many sailors to become involved in the sport."

Ping Pong, the OK dinghy, will be on display at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall until the end of December.