Friday, July 07, 2006

Celebrating the Opti Dinghy


The Optimist Dinghy, designed and manufactured by Vanguard, has been the introduction to a lifelong love of sailing for many a junior swabbie. This shot was taken in Watch Hill, RI last Monday - a fleet of "Opti's" were gathering for a morning of instruction and racing in the harbor. Doubtless they're associated with the Watch Hill YC...but one of the great things about these boats is that they're easy to transport and maintain, not intimidating for a newbie (stable, flat bottom), relatively inexpensive and thus - contrary to much of sailing - accessible. Accessibility is a quality we all need to do more to foster if we want new blood to develop a passion for the sport and pastime of sailing.

According to Vangaurd, over 150,000 Optimist Dinghies are actively racing in 85 nations. The Optimist is one of the largest and fastest-growing classes in the world. Young sailors can race at the club, regional, national and world levels as their skills develop.

Have a great weekend!

5 comments:

Tillerman said...

Well said. Both my sons started in Optis and I've introduced dozens of kids to the sport with this boat. There's some buzz these days that they're not exciting enough to keep kids interested in sailing but you rightly highlight all their strengths.

The only real downside in my opinion is that they're not self bailing. Kids love to capsize their boats and it's a good thing for them to be confident in capszie recoveries. But those little bathtubs take ages for a kid to bail out.

Zephyr said...

Thanks mate. Agree with you on the bailing feature...

Adrift At Sea said...

I'd have to agree with Tillerman. That was one reason I loved sailing on the Sailfish, rather than the Sunfish... No cockpit...no water on board after a capsize....no bailing necessary.

Ant said...

Thats all true, bit I've always felt that bailing properly i.e. whilst sailing in the right direction was an art, and one thts useful in lots of other boats, its a sailing skills, were not always in self-drainign boats so knowing how to bail effectively is vever a skill you should be without, I sailied Optimists for about 7 years and coached kids at national level for 3, they are a fantastic way to start a sailing career and a love of the water...let the Optimist never dissapear..

Zephyr said...

Thanks for all the comments, gang. Long live the Opti...and remember, bailing is a usefull skill ;-)