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The K1

The K1 single-handed performance keelboat heralds a new era of single-handed sailing; combining speed, style and ease of sailing. This unique mini yacht has a lifting keel with bulb weighing 62 kg yet its all-up weight is little more than a conventional single-handed dinghy. The hull is constructed using the latest resin infusion techniques to minimise weight. The carbon spars are ultra-light and responsive.

The slender hull has little resistance when heeled so is quick and tacks through a very narrow-angle. The self-tacking jib is set on a pole for maximum ease of control. The cockpit is deep and comfortable when sitting on the deck edge. The result is a boat that is an absolute joy to sail and guaranteed to provide effortless, fast sailing and close tactical racing.

Although the details can tell you all about the boat they cannot convey the fun that you get sailing the boat. It is a very responsive boat that forgives so many errors on the helm’s part. When you get the feel of the boat it responds so quickly to any small adjustments that it ends up “fitting like a glove”.

It is a joy that really does get better as the wind builds and the helm has the confidence that the boat will in, nearly all, circumstances just roll back up with you onboard and ready to sail away.

It has proven itself to be a fine sea boat as well as finding good homes in lakes and rivers of all sizes.

The K1 is a friendly class with competitive racing combining close tactical boat on boat racing with an exciting performance in planing conditions.

The boat is ideal for all ages of the helm, inland club waters or the sea, with the keel acting as a “perfect crew” equalising the physical exertion required. The performance has proved intriguing for expert helms, yet it is stable enough to be kind to the clumsy novice.

The K1 has an active and developing UK open meeting circuit, a National Championships alternating between inland and sea venues, you’ll never be short of good competition.

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Sailing a K1 is Fun


The K1 is an exciting yet very forgiving boat. The slender hull has little resistance when heeled so is quick and tacks through a very narrow-angle. The self-tacking jib is set on a pole for maximum ease of control. The cockpit is deep and comfortable when sitting on the deck edge.The result is a boat that is an absolute joy to sail and guaranteed to provide effortless, fast sailing and close tactical racing. It still pays, to a degree, to hike but it tracks and sails so nicely on its ear that you don’t have to.  And down wind, flying the with jib boom goose winged is fun and all the effortless gybes with no worry of a capsize, lets you play a very tactical game off wind that is fun.


In exceptional circumstances, if it is windy enough, but unlike other dinghies which loses stability rapidly if it heels beyond 20 to 30 degrees, the K1’s stability increases the more it heels. This makes it very forgiving on a gusty day when other dinghies are capsizing. When the K1 reaches a heel past 50 degrees it heads up into the wind. The K1 is very difficult to capsize, and when it is blown flat it pops up again in a civilized manner. 

Missing the Toe Straps?

More time is spent sailing the K1 and not swimming.  It is  only marginally more likely that you will miss the toe straps and fall out than capsize.  Both are rare and there is no more swimming round and climbing on a centre board.


Yes, the K1 has a trolley with the boat supported by the gunwales and keel on a central cradle. (similar to a laser) Before launching take the weight of the keel bulb on the lifting tackle and the boat will float off like a normal dinghy, although it needs a few more inches of depth.


Despite the weight of the keel, by keeping hull construction light, the ready to sail weight of a K1 is close to many similar dinghies and less than some popular general-purpose dinghies. The K1 also has a lightweight alloy trolley to further save weight.


The K1 cockpit has well designed side decks so that you can comfortably sit in or sit out.  For sailing to windward in a breeze you would normally sit out and you will go faster if hiking out in the toe-straps, but it is not as important as for a normal dinghy.


The keel can be raised quickly using the 6:1 block and rope lifting strop which is attached to the lifting points on the top of the keel and to the mast.  When sailing the lifting tackle is stowed in a bag under the mast deck plate.

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You are more likely to miss the toe straps than capsize.

This is a short video that shows me missing the tow straps and falling out of my K1 dinghy. Note the key to recovery is not letting go of the main sheet. This forced the boat to capsize on me and then when I released the mainsheet it self righted and scooped me up. The reason for the second capsize is that I had not uncleated the jib the first time.  Mike Beckett

Class Rules

At the AGM in February 2024 the Class Association agreed to the Introduction of a Split Tail Mainsheet. The following rules have changed.

Amendment to: 

  • C.9.1.3 - Now refers to Jib sheets only. Previously Mainsheets and Jibs

  • C.9.1.4 - New and refers to Mainsheets and allows Split Tail Mainsheets

  • C.9.2.d - Amended to ensure that the mainsheet may not be sheeted to windward.

Where Can I Sail Against Other K1's 

And receive a warm welcome from a Class Association Member

Other Clubs that welcome K1's

Baltic Wharf Sailing Club

Blithfield Sailing Club

Hayling Island Sailing Club (HISC)

Llyn Tegid

The Cobb

Northampton Sailing Club

Manor Park Sailing Club

Olton Mere Sailing Club

Oulton Broad

Papercourt Sailing Club

Queen Mary Sailing Club

Rutland Water

Shoreham Sailing Club

Stewartby Water Sports Club Ltd

Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club


River Deben

Bewl Water

Spinnaker Sailing Club

Reading Sailing Club

Rossendale Valley Sailing Club

Lymington Town Sailing Club

Mengeham Rythe Sailing Club

Upper Thames Sailing Club

Rudyard Lake Sailing Club

Northampton Sailing Club

Alton Water Sports Centre

Coldham Hall

Paxton Lakes Sailing Club

Royal Harwich Yacht Club

Grafham Water Sailing Club

Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club

Great Moor Sailing Club



To keep this list up to date please email updates to Ian Duke

K1 Class Association Members Sailing Clubs

Zoom out to see all

UK Members Clubs

A Bit of Class History

In 2009 the K1 was designed by Paul Handley, who’s previous portfolio includes the RS Feva, Tera, Q’BA and K6 as well as (in the dark distant past) the Mustang 30.

The K1 single-handed performance keelboat combining speed, style and ease of sailing.

The Hull

Earlier boats (the first 72) were built by Synthesize. Later boats were built by Rondar, fitted out by Jeff and sold under the Vandercraft brand. More recently (post number 151) manufacture transferred to Ovington, but it was ensured (by using the same moulds) that all hulls are the same shape.


Therefore no matter what age boat you purchase, the hull shape will be the same. This is despite other minor changes to rigging keel and sail supplier. The keel under the water is identical in all boats. Earlier boats had a different arrangement within the keel slot.

The Sails


Early in the class’s history, the sails changed from Hyde to North at the request of the class association. The North sails have a squarer head and softer mylar cloth. Hyde, and now North are the only class legal sails except for reduced size sails as specified in the class rules.

The Rig


The carbon fibre masts and boom has remained the same from the beginning. The only variations on rigging have been choice of centre sheeting for the jib vs side sheeting (used originally) and the option of a dangly pole for the jib setting.


Owners can, and do, experiment with different controls and fittings such as refreshed kicker arrangement or cunningham controls. This is allowed as long as no holes are drilled into the boats.


It is very important to read the Class Rules before undertaking such modifications.


Early K1's with Hyde Sails

From no pole to an early version

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Jib with kicker, pre pole

The Ovington K1

In 2021 Production of the K1 moved to Ovington

The two videos outline the changes that were made to the deck moulding to incorporate a number of improvements.

The hull, keel, rudder, mast and sails all remained the same.

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In Which Year was my K1 First Launched?

2011    37

2016  120

2021  161

2022  170

2024  185

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