International OK Association of NSW - 50 Year Dinner


Bill Tyler, Drummoyne Sailing Club, NSW, Saturday, 30 June 2012


The 50 year anniversary of our association was celebrated by current and former members and partners at a very successful social function held at Drummoyne SC last Saturday evening. Our President, Eddie O'Donnell welcomed the 68 guests to the 50 year dinner and thanked everyone for attending to celebrate the success of our association over the past 50 years. Bill Tyler introduced our "golden oldies" to current members and congratulated them for their great sailing and promotional efforts during the 1960s.
Apologies and best wishes for a great night were received from: Foundation Member Phil Maloney and wife Di currently in France; OKDIA President, Andre Blasse from Victoria; Ralph Roberts from NZ; Jeremy Firth and Richard Blundell both from Tasmania; Terry Bellair and Don Richmond both from Victoria; David Coleman, association Life Member attending a SASC function; Peter Nielsen from South Australia; Bob Buchanan currently in Western Australia; many times NSW Champion, Owen Kimberley just returned from the UK and still suffering from an annoying travel cold not to be shared with other guests.
Our association Foundation Members at the function included: Don and Berenice Board; Norm Fennell builder of the first OK Dinghy in NSW in 1958/59; Tony Hill; Mike and Denise Kirkbride; Ray and Robyn Stone.  Norm, now 89 years old, phoned me earlier today to say how much he enjoyed the dinner and commented that it was the best sailing reunion function that he had ever attended.
The Foundation Members were joined by fellow members from the 1960s: Peter Alexander; Rodney Bassetti; Bob and Vicki Hale; John and Joan Hardie who travelled from Victoria to attend the dinner; Tony and Pam James; Ian Kingsford Smith; Rod and Fiona Laing-Peach; Jim and Judy Ley; Graham and Pam Read; Gavin and Carol Shennan.
From the 1970s guests included: Ian and Libby Cameron together with Ian's sister Robyn Hill; David and Rhonda Swales; Peter and Sharon Travis; Bill and Jan Tyler; Mike and Judy Walker. From the Lake Burrendong SC era we welcomed Val Gersbach and his daughter Stella-May Miller who joined us from Wellington, NSW for the dinner.
Members from the 1980s and 1990s: Peter and Robyn Blunt; Bob Chapman; John Dunne, currently our Drummoyne SC Sailing Officer; Bob Kemp; Phil and Leanne Napier; Russell and Carol Peterson; John and Margaret Sanderson; Peter Wallace; Glenn and Yanzen Yates also enjoyed the function.
Current members from 2000 on included: Tim Davies; Bob Fennell; Peter Horne and his partner Katitia Cortes; Ed Kennedy; brothers Colin and Peter Lynch; Eddie and Natalie O'Donnell and son Jake O'Donnell together with Eddie's sister Sandra O'Donnell; Frank and Megan Prater; Peter Robinson; Gareth Wells and current State Champion, Mark Skelton.
The opportunity was taken to remember known deceased foundation members: John Powell and Ian Nicholson as well as other early members: Alan Clark; Ivan Englund; Greg Gilkes; Lance Gregory; Norm Mills; David Treglown; Patrick Whittington; Bruce Williams and members' wives, Zita Coleman and Dawn Gersbach who all had contributed greatly to the success of our associations' activities during our first 50 years.
The NSW association honour board from the first decade includes many of our "golden oldies" previously mentioned: John Powell, was the first NSW Champion in 1962/63 and our first Australian Champion in 1963 and 1964; Don Board was NSW Champion in 1963/64 and again in 1965/66; John Hardie was NSW Champion in 1964/65 and our second Australian Champion in 1965; Jim Ley was NSW Champion in 1966/67; Tony Hill was NSW Champion in 1967/68 and also Interdominion Champion in 1968 and again into the next decade in 1973; Tony James was NSW Champion in 1968/69 and 1969/70 and also Interdominion Champion in 1971.
Foundation Member of the NSW association and Life Member of the Australian association, Ray Stone, was the first Secretary and then President of the Australian association for most of the 1960s and into the 1970s. He and other members of his committees established the sound foundations for the success of our associations during the early years. Thanks to their efforts OKDIA approved Australia to host our first World Championship in Adelaide in 1974. Again for the Melbourne Worlds in 1982, Ray lead the organisational team for that event. Ray is still involved with our associations as a Trustee for the Clive Roberts Trust and always makes himself available to assist in communication with our former members for any reunion functions. On behalf of all members I would like to record our thanks to Ray and Robyn for all of their efforts for the OKs over so many years.
I would also like to extend our thanks to the management and staff of Drummoyne SC and Rosabelle's Bistro for their assistance with the organisation for the dinner. The food was great, the ambiance excellent and the evening was a huge success. Thanks also to Peter Robinson for his co-ordination with the club, to Bob Kemp for taking all the photos and to Jan Tyler for her assistance with organising the balloons for the room and everything else she did to assist me with encouraging everyone to support this function.
Can we do it again in another 50 years? Maybe not, but hopefully the OKs will still be around and someone else will be able to organise a gala Centenary dinner function.
Bill Tyler - Life Member
2 July 2012

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