the birth of allen block
Despite the title, we promise you that this is NOT a video of our Senior Editor being born.
It is a video of a tiny Allen Brothers Block being produced from scratch by the UK rigging company, but more importantly, it gives us an excuse to remember a passionate sailor whose death went unnoticed by us last year. Here’s a beautiful obit of Kim Allen from the folks at Burnham Week.
Kim was only eight years old when his father Glenn died. Glenn, together with brother Tony were the co-founders of Allen Brothers (Fittings) Ltd. After Glenn’s untimely death, Kim’s mother Vera remarried and Kim was sent to boarding school in Rutland, an experience he did not enjoy. Many of his formative years were spent with his Auntie Ann and Uncle Tony Allen, growing up with Elizabeth more as brother and sister rather than cousins. Kim completed his education at the local state school in Hornchurch, did a year’s business course at Ardleigh Green where he met Lindsay, and they married in 1993. Their two sons, Edward and Richard were born in 1991 and 1993.
Robert Coyle met Kim in their Cadet days, along with Alistair and Stuart Munro, Mark Wade, David Shapiro, John Lewis and many more. Kim’s boat was called Happy, in line with the family tradition of all boat names beginning with HA, although not a good name at the time! It was already clear that Kim not only loved competitive sailing but was good at it. His calls on the water became well known, most might use ‘starboard’ or ‘water’, but Kim normally preferred ‘xxxx off’ which seemed to work! After leaving Cadets Kim sailed 470s for a while, with other Corinthian members, especially the Wades.
Kim started working for the family business in the seventies, under Tony’s guidance and also became his apprentice for the Endeavour Trophy Championship and Icicle events, watching and learning how it all worked. As his competitive dinghy sailing tailed off he became increasingly involved with his company’s Soling, Dragons and Roller Coaster, a twin-masted ketch on which the whole Allen family spent many happy holidays.
January 9th, 2017