Classes of Dinghy Sailing at WSC
Sailors come in all shapes and sizes and so do their boats. Woollahra Sailing Club members can enjoy year round sailing in a variety of classes.
Subject to availability, members are able to store their sail boats in the storage yard. To keep your spot, boats must be active during the club racing season which is not hard to do when sailing in the Sydney Harbour!
The 29er is a two-person high performance sailing skiff designed by Julian Bethwaite and first produced in 1998. Derived from the Olympic class 49er class, it is raced in the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships. The 29er is able to reach high speeds fairly quickly by having a sleek and hydrodynamic hull and will often exceed the wind speed when planing both up and downwind.
The 29er class is targeted at youth, especially those training to sail the larger Olympic 49er. The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships has adopted it to replace the Laser 2 – which was designed by Julian Bethwaite’s father Frank.
The International 420 Class Dinghy is a double-handed (2 crew) monohull planing dinghy with centreboard, bermuda rig and centre sheeting. The name describes the overall length of the boat in Centimetre (the boat is exactly 4.2 meters long). The hull is fiberglass with internal buoyancy tanks. The 420 is equipped with spinnaker and optional trapeze, making teamwork necessary to sail it well. It has a large sail-area-to-weight ratio, and is designed to plane easily. It can be rigged to be sailed single-handed.
The 420 was designed specifically to be easier to handle than its larger higher-performance cousin, the 470. The 420 was designed by French engineer Christian Maury, as a stepping-stone for club and youth sailing to the 470. The 420 is an International class recognised by the International Sailing Federation.
Designed in 1984, the B14 is a two man monohull dinghy, designed by Julian Bethwaite. It is recognised as an international class by the International Sailing Federation.
The B14 is designed with a low centre of gravity for added stability and an open transom, to help the boat to drain itself quickly and without need of a self-bailer. The mast is set far back in the boat to make room for the large asymmetric spinnaker. The boat has a fast handicap, with a Portsmouth Yardstick of 870, designed with racing in mind. For this reason it is highly suitable for more experienced sailors. The boat does not have a trapeze, but instead makes use of wide wings.
Captain: Richie Reynolds
The Byte is a small one-design sailing dinghy sailed by one person. It was designed by Canadian Ian Bruce, who also commissioned and marketed the Laser. The Byte began as an inexpensive version of the Europe dinghy that could target sailors weighing between 45 and 65 kg (99 and 143 lb)
The rigging is similar to that of the Laser except one noticeable difference. The traveler is just below the main sheet block and not at the stern of the boat (similar to a Finn or Europe dinghy). This eradicates the chance of the main sheet getting caught on the transom which is a common complaint of the Laser. The sail controls are also “split” and led to both side-decks, again somewhat like a Finn or Europe and allows for more technical adjustments.
Captain: Jackie Mercer
The Finn dinghy is the men’s single-handed, cat-rigged Olympic class for sailing. It was designed by Swedish canoe designer, Rickard Sarby, in 1949 for the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. Since the 1952 debut of the boat, the design has been in every summer Olympics, making it one of the most prolific Olympic sailboats as it is the longest serving dinghy in the Olympic Regatta. It currently fills the slot for the Heavyweight Dinghy at the Olympic games. It has been contended that the Finn is the most physical and tactical singlehander sailboat in the world.
The Finn has remained at the forefront of International and Olympic dinghy sailing for the past six decades. It has done so because it offers the opportunity for sailors to push themselves to their limits; because it offers technical education and development for sailors; and because of the love that thousands of sailors all over the world have for sailing a great boat. And this is why it should hopefully remain at the forefront for the foreseeable future.
Captain: Jay Harrison
No, unfortunately we aren’t referring to the legendary ghost ship that never makes port and sails for eternity – although some of our sailors may feel like that from time to time!
The Flying Dutchman (FD) is a 20-foot one-design high-performance two-person monohull racing dinghy. Developed in the early 1950s, it’s large sail area per unit weight allow it to plane easily when sailing upwind. The boat utilizes a trapeze harness for the crew and hiking straps for the skipper to counterbalance the wind force on its sails. It made its Olympic debut at the 1960 Olympics Games.
The FD is still one of the fastest racing dinghies in the world. She carries a mainsail, a very large foresail genoa, and a large spinnaker for running and reaching. The FD has been the basis for many important innovations in sailing over the past half century including the use of trapeze gear in one design sailing, roller furling genoa, spinnaker chute and pole launchers and a windward sheeting traveller.
Captain: John Maguire
The International Laser Class sailboat, also called Laser Standard and the Laser One is a popular one-design class of small sailing dinghy. According to the Laser Class Rules the boat may be sailed by either one or two people, though it is rarely sailed by two. The design, by Bruce Kirby, emphasizes simplicity and performance. The dinghy is manufactured by independent companies in different parts of the world, including LaserPerformance Europe (Americas and Europe), Performance Sailcraft Australia (Oceania) and Performance Sailcraft Japan.
As a one-design class of sailboat, all Lasers are built to the same specifications. The hull is 4.19 metres (13 ft 10.5 in) long, with a waterline length of 3.81 m (12.5 ft). The hull weight is 56.7 kg (130 lb), which makes the boat light enough to lift onto a car-top rack.
Laser sailing and racing presents a unique set of physical and skill based challenges. Fast Laser sailing requires an advanced level of fitness in order to endure the straight legged hiking and body-torque techniques essential in getting upwind and reaching quickly.
Captain: Zac Skulander
The Mirror was named after the Daily Mirror, a UK newspaper with a largely working class distribution. The Mirror was from the start promoted as an affordable boat, and as a design it has done a great deal to make dinghy sailing accessible to a wide audience. The Mirror was designed by Jack Holt and TV do-it-yourself expert Barry Bucknell in 1962. It employed a novel construction method where sheets of marine plywood are held together with copper stitching and fibreglass tape.
The Mirror is light and stable enough to be sailed safely by two young teenagers or two adults. It is an excellent boat for children or teenagers learning sailing for the first time.
Despite not being a particularly fast dinghy, the Mirror is popular for one-design racing. Because of the very large number that have been made, it is fairly easy to find other Mirror sailors to race against.
Captain: Stan Bland
The Moth Class is the name for a small development class of sailing dinghy. Originally a cheap home built sailing boat designed to plane, now it is an expensive largely commercially produced boat designed to hydroplane on foils.
They are not regarded as a beginner’s sailboat. They are not suited to sailors under 55kg and performance drops with heavy sailors. The class emphasises light hull weight to promote quick planing or foiling. Older designs are extremely variable and because of the emphasis on light weight, need careful transportation and storage indoors when not in use. They are designed for one person. Because of their short length they are best suited to sheltered waters, light to moderate wind speeds, and smaller waves. They are primarily a fast racing boat not suited to load carrying.
Captain: Scott Babbage
The Optimist is a small, single-handed sailing dinghy intended for use by children up to the age of 15. Nowadays boats are usually made of fibreglass, although wooden boats are still built. It is one of the most popular sailing dinghies in the world, with over 150,000 boats officially registered with the class and many more built but never registered.
The Optimist is the biggest youth racing class in the world. As well as the annual world championship the class also has six continental championships, attended by a total of over 850 sailors a year. The Optimist is recognised as an International Class by the International Sailing Federation.
Optimists are used for beginners. Light weight sailors continue to race them up 14 to 15 years of age. The age limit is 15. Very small children are sometimes “doubled up” but usually the boats are single-handers. Many sailing schools and yacht clubs own a number of them and they are the first boat most beginners will sail.
Captain: Harley Kruse
The Tasar is a 14-foot (4.3 m) fibreglass 2 person sailing dinghy with a mainsail and jib. Designed by Frank Bethwaite of Sydney in 1975, the boat is technologically advanced. Aimed at a husband and wife/parent and child crew, it is designed for a combined crew weight of 140 kg. The hull weighs 68 kg, and is of sandwich foam construction.
The hull has a fine angle at the bow to reduce wave impact drag with unusually clean and sharp chines aft to ensure very free planing and outstanding stability. The wide beam and a cockpit designed for comfortable hiking make the Tasar easy, fun and very exciting to sail in winds up to 25 knots (46 km/h).
Captain: Richard Salmon
The Weta is Pure Sailing Enjoyment
Unlike other dinghies, the Weta is the boat everyone can use – in almost any conditions – all in the one compact, easy package:
- Take it out for a blast on your own and enjoy speeds over 20 knots under full control
- Appreciate the stability when taking out family and friends for fun
- Safe and stable for kids or adults to learn to sail
- Enter regattas and regular races held around Australia and worldwide
The Weta is the “no-drama” boat – the stability of a trimaran means it’s really hard to capsize but easy to right in minutes if you do.
Designed in New Zealand, over 1200 Wetas have been sold around the world since it was launched with a splash in 2009, and it was approved for the World Masters Games and Paralympics in 2017.
Captain: Geoff Waldon
Windsurfing is a surface water sport that combines elements of surfing and sailing. It consists of a board usually 2.5 to 3 meters long, with displacements typically between 60 and 250 litres, powered by wind on a sail. The rig is connected to the board by a free-rotating universal joint and consists of a mast, boom and sail.
On the whole, windsurfing can be picked up rather quickly. Beginners, start off on a large board with a tiny triangular sail in less than 5 knots of wind to develop their balance and core stability, acquire a basic understanding of sailing theory. With coaching and favourable conditions, the basic skills of sailing, steering, and turning can be learned within a few hours.
Windsurfing is a sport which, once mastered, can be enjoyed, even at an advanced level. Woollahra Sailing Club offers coaching and favourable conditions, the basic skills of sailing, steering, and turning can be learned within a few hours.
Captain: Dave (Belly) Bell
Get on Board
Windsurfing, sailboarding…. Whatever you want to call it, windsurfing is making a comeback in Rose Bay Sydney. Come and join us.
Join over 850 happy sailors and paddlers using WSC