MK Custom Boards
A big part of MK was custom board manufacturing. Mike and Howard sourced the components from Seabase in Cornwall (who also supplied footstrap plugs, fin boxes and the famous Chinook boom clamp). Neither were good at art, so board graphics tended to be linear shapes filled with colour with a bit of spray fading. They produced a wide range of boards – all for South Coast conditions. They also made a few needle speed boards and Howard entered Weymouth speed week where Fred Heywood managed 30.8 knots in 1983.
Howard was a well respected and talented sailor and tested everything to destruction – he was a big guy at over 6ft! If he couldn’t break it, it was strong enough for you! Not only were the booms strong, a company in Tunbridge Wells provided an architectural anodising service (as used by Lloyds bank in London) which gave their boom tubes a distinctive bronze colour. It also provided an amazingly good chip resistance finish that helped prevent corrosion. Not only that – Mike filled the tubes with a two part isocyanate foam which expanded and prevented the booms from getting water-logged… a good idea but later dropped (by the then new owner Paul) because it didn’t add the stiffness Mike was hoping for.
Both Mistral and Nautix claim to have made the first adjustable boom but it is possible that MK made it as they produced one in 1981 well before Mistral or Nautix filed unsuccessful patents. The original MK adjustable boom adjusted in very much the same way as today but stainless pins where held in with velcrose straps to stop them falling out. It was effective but a little fiddly.