Harken Derm

Drawing the line for the next generation

Published on February 14th, 2019

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
Designed in 1947 by Clark Mills, the Optimist had the pure intentions as a boat that could be built in a garage by a father and his son. World War ll had ended and it was time to have some fun again, but that fun today has gotten pretty serious.

Following the first World Championship in 1962, the best of the sailors under 16 years of age today accrue frequent flier miles as they pursue excellence in this simple, learn-to-sail introductory boat.

Conceived from using standard eight-foot sheets of plywood for construction, fiberglass hulls arrived in the 1970s and clever people continue to find performance gains for this box-shaped dinghy to propel the next generation around the race course.

But nothing kills participation faster than an arms race, so I had to shake my head when receiving the latest and greatest gadget for the Optimist racer. Maybe I need to relax and accept what I can’t change, which is heightening competition, but it does make me occasionally imagine life without its consequences.

So if you are an Optimist parent, here’s what you need now from Optimax:
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We are happy to announce that we have developed a new high-end sprit, called the MK3 Hyperflex.

We have been able to develop an even more flexible sprit by combining a 28mm tube with a very thin wall thickness. The charasterics (sic) of the used high yield alloy, the extrusion manufacturing process and the used thicknesses makes the sprit +- 20% more flexible compared to the well-known MK3 Flex sprit.

This sprit weighs less than 500 gram and is +/- 30% lighter compared to the MK3 Flex sprit.

Your Optimist rig can be further optimized for those who prefer a more dynamic leech which opens more easily. This can be usefull (sic) when sailing in strong winds or on high waves.
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I have nothing against companies permitted to meet or create market demand (don’t hate the player, hate the game), but please at least spell correctly when marketing products for young people. That’s where I draw the line.

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