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Info for New Sailors

Boat 

These boats listed below are the common ones found in WA. 

  1. XSP - boats that are reasonably priced and are shipped/ sold out of Singapore. Website: http://www.xtremesailing.com

  2. Far East - boats that are made for all sailors and are reasonably priced. It is manufactured in China. The Australian dealer is Binks Marine

  3. Winner - very popular Danish boats for the more competitive racers. Website: https://winneroptimist.dk

  4. Mclaughlin - Built in the USA, McLaughlin is the most technologically advanced Optimist in the world, specifically engineered for speed and a proven champion. 

For second hand boats, check out the clubs' noticeboards or waioda's  classifieds page

Sail

All the sail makers make sails of different cuts to suit the weight of the sailor. Typically the sails are either cross-cut or radial. 

  1. J Sail – Polish originated sail,  a great racing sail and there is a range of sails that will fit the weight of the sailor.

  2. Olimpic Sails – An Italian racing sail that is used by sailors at major regattas.  There is a wide range of sails that will suit the weight and abilities of the sailor.

  3. North Sails – The only sailmaker to offer bi-radial sail. This is a hybrid of radial and cross-cut combining the advantages of cross-cut and radial sails.

Spars

Spars - Spars that come with a boat may be Blackgold (by Optiparts), Optimax. The Blackgold spars are the most common spars that are found with an Optimist, these spars are black in colour and are very good quality. You will see these spars on most boats (apart from Winners). These spars are recommended by most people for their quality and light weight. The boom that comes in each set is usually 45mm but there is also a 40mm and a 55mm (it depends on weight). The Optimax spars are usually used by more experienced Optimist sailors. They are silver or gold in colour. There is a range of spars to suit sailors of different weight;  Mk 3 Flex, Mk 3 & Mk 4

Foil

Some foils may be wooden which are great for beginners as they are not easy to chip and damage, on the other hand the foils may be made of epoxy (these are the most common foils sold with a boat), these foils are racing material. They are very good quality and if your sailor is ready for epoxy foils then it is worth purchasing them. However, if your sailor is at a starter level then wooden or polyester foils is the best way to go. 

Mainsheet
Mainsheets range from 3:1 system to 4:1 system. 

3:1 system – is 6m long and 6- 8mm thickness, this thickness can differ but 6mm is ideal. These mainsheets are the most common and can be found at many marine chandlery.

4:1 system – is 7-8m long and usually 6-8mm in thickness.  This system requires different blocks and it makes sheeting easier especially in strong winds. 

Tapered Mainsheet – this mainsheet is available in 3:1 and 4:1. It is the ultimate Optimist mainsheet; thick and soft where it touches your hand, thin and smooth elsewhere for free running control.

Spares Kit

Spare sail ties, both mast and boom; boom ties = 30 cm, mast ties = 50 cm (have about 6 of each spare)

Spare corner ties (these ties are thicker than sail ties) = 50 cm, (have about 6 spare)

Spare wind indicator top, as these tend to come off if not tied to the wind indicator needle

Spare wind indicator

Spare shock cord or elastic for the bailers, paddle, and centreboard case

Spare sprit halyard

Spare vang rope and dynema

Spare airbag

Spare mainsheet

Tools Kit

These are the essential tools:

  1. Tape measure

  2. Electrical tape

  3. Duct tape

  4. Permanent marker

  5. Box cutter

  6. Pliers

  7. Lighter

 

Sail Set-up

Boom sail ties x 6, each are 30cm long and are 6-8mm away from the boom

Mast sail ties x 6, each 50 cm long are 2-4mm away from the mast

Corner ties x 5, each 50 cm or longer.  The distance from the sail to the boom/mast (except the diagonal tie) should be 1-3mm. The diagonal tie needs to determine where the red/black band (on the sail) goes between the gold lines on the mast, if you tighten the tie it will pull the band down, loosen it, it will move up (you want it in the middle)

Light Wind Setup 0-10 knots

Luff: really loose and floppy (to do so, have as many twists as you can fit on the preventer)

Outhaul: loose enough so it creates small dips from sail ties, but isn't too big when you pull on the mainsheet.

Vang: minimal tension.

Sprit: loose enough so there is no crease (full sail).

Light-Medium Wind Setup 10-14 knots

Luff: loose (when you put your fingers through it, it is a bit tight), not completely floppy (to do so put less twists than the light wind setup)

Outhaul: tighter than the light wind set-up, but loose enough so there isn’t a crease along the base of the sail when you pull on the mainsheet

Vang: loose (but not so loose so that when you are on an upwind the vang is floppy), just enough to ensure the boom isn’t angled upwards

Sprit: tight enough so there isn’t a crease from the top of the mast to the end of the boom

Medium Wind Setup 14-18 knots

Luff: medium tight (not so tight that it has a crease on land), (to do so put less twists than the light/medium wind setup)

Outhaul: tighter than the light/medium wind set-up, but loose enough so there isn’t a crease along the base of the sail when you pull on the mainsheet

Vang: tight

Sprit: tight enough so there aren’t any creases depending on the weight of the sailor and experience, depowering the sail may be necessary – less sprit so a slight crease is visible (If in doubt ask a coach or fellow sailor)

Medium-Heavy Wind Setup 18-22 knots

Luff: tight (tight so that it has a small crease), (to do so put less twists than the medium wind setup)

Outhaul: tighter than the medium wind setup, but loose enough so there isn’t a crease along the base of the sail when you pull on the mainsheet

Vang: very tight

Sprit: tight enough so there aren’t any creases from the top of the mast to the end of the boom depending on the weight of the sailor and experience, depowering the sail may be necessary – less sprit so a decent crease is visible (If in doubt ask a coach or fellow sailor)

Heavy Wind Setup >22 knots

Luff: extremely tight (as tight as possible), (to do so put as little twists as possible, maybe 1 or even none.)

Outhaul: as tight as possible

Vang: as tight as possible

Sprit: less sprit, depending on the weight of the sailor and experience, depowering the sail may be necessary (less sprit for lighter sailors).


For more information regarding Optimist sailing click here

 

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