Types of dinghy

There is a huge range of different dinghy designs and classes from which to select the boat that will best suit you, each offering a particular sailing experience for varying ages and abilities. The first decision to make is whether to sail single-handed or with a crew.

DOUBLE-HANDERS

Double-handers are sailed by a helmsman and one crew, who have both a mainsail and jib to drive the boat, with the option of a spinnaker for use downwind. It is rewarding to work as part of a team in which the crew plays an important role, and you may be glad of the company while you sail. Larger dinghies used for recreational sailing may have sufficient space and buoyancy to carry four or five people, making them ideal for family sailing (see Types of keelboat, pp. 96-97).

SINGLE-HANDERS

Sailing a single-hander has the advantage that you do not need to find a crew. Single-handers tend to be smaller and lighter than double-handers, making them easier to handle on land and possibly more responsive under sail.

Popular single-handers, such as the Laser, Pico, Topper, and Open Bic, are extremely simple dinghies with just one sail and an unstayed rig. This makes them cheap to own and maintain, quick to assemble, and easy to store When sailing a single-hander, the crew is captain and in complete charge of the boat. This puts beginners

BALANCING ACT

The Musto Skiff provides a great ride for those who combine agility on the trapeze with sailing skills.

HIGH-PERFORMANCE SKIFF

The 29erXX, designed for trapezing, provides a dramatic, high-speed dinghy-sailing experience for two skilled crew.

on a steep learning curve that is hard work but very productive in terms of acquiring sailing skills.

Being alone on the boat should not mean you are alone on the water. Always sail in company, with coach support or safety cover close to hand.

DINGHIES FOR RACING

Dinghy racing is the most effective way to improve your sailing techniques. The crew has to practice and master certain

BALANCING ACT

The Musto Skiff provides a great ride for those who combine agility on the trapeze with sailing skills.

TWIN HULLS FOR SPEED

The Hobie 16 Spi (equipped with a spinnaker) provides a fast, fun ride and is raced as the official world championship youth catamaran.

maneuvers, such as quick tacks and jibes, while learning to maximize speed on all points of sailing. Any dinghy can be used for racing if competition is available— for example, the Laser is the world's most popular racing dinghy, providing enjoyment for almost all ages across a wide range of ability levels.

HIGH PERFORMANCE DINGHIES

Dinghies designed for high performance may feature: trapezes to provide extra leverage for the crew; an asymmetric spinnaker to optimize offwind sailing; lightweight hull construction using materials such as carbon fiber; lightweight carbon spars; and sails made from materials such as Mylar and Kevlar for maximum stability.

Dinghies known as skiffs provide ultimate high performance. They have a very high power-to-weight ratio and employ an oversize rig on a small, flat

PERFECT FOR CHILDREN

The Open Bic is a fast, modern dinghy designed for young children to learn to sail, go racing, and, most importantly, have fun.

hull shape. The best-known skiff is the 49er, which is raced in the Olympics. Other dinghy classes raced at the Olympic Games (see pp. 338-339) include the Laser and Finn single-handers for men, the Laser Radial for women, the 470 two-person dinghy for both men and women, and the Tornado catamaran class for men.

CATAMARANS

A catamaran consists of two narrow hulls joined by two aluminum beams, with a trampoline providing a "deck" in the center, stretched between the hulls. With the hulls spread wide apart, the crew can obtain more leverage than a dinghy crew, allowing them to sail with a bigger and more powerful rig. This means catamarans are not only stable but also tend to be faster than most dinghies, and can be a lot of fun to sail. Disadvantages may include extra cost, and poor performance in light winds.

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