Sailing dinghies

What is a sailing dinghy?

Main features of a sailing dinghy

 

Sailing dinghies are sailboats with what is called a light construction and they mostly have a decked bow. They have at least one mainsail which can be complemented by a headsail (the jib) and a spinnaker (which will only be used for certain points of sail). The anti-drift plane consists of an unweighted, removable or pivoting daggerboard. The centreboard, the immersed part of the boat, combined with the sail thrust, enables the dinghy to go upwind. Measuring between 2 metres and 5 metres (sometimes more) in length and without any equipment to make them habitable, dinghies can't cope with difficult weather conditions, nor are they able to sail too far from the coast, so sailing dinghies are usually designed for "beach" sailing.

 

Like ballasted dinghies and full centerboarders, sailing dinghies obviously belong to the dinghy category; monohull sailboats fitted with a retractable daggerboard preventing them from drifting to windward.

 

What makes sailing dinghies so fun to steer is their lack of keel and ballast on the daggerboard. This makes sailing dinghies faster and more thrilling but on the other hand, they lose stability. To compensate for this, the crew has to move sideways with a counter heel to reduce list and keep the boat balanced.

 

 

Due to the lack of ballast to balance the boat, if you make any steering errors then you can expect to capsize regularly on a light dinghy. However, today's sailing dinghies are built in such a way that the crew can right the vessel easily. Sailing schools also include how to right a boat after capsizing as part of their basic training. Wearing a lifejacket makes things pretty safe even if you do capsize regularly.

 

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Sailing dinghies: popular sailing boats for competitions

Whether they're for 1 or 2 people, several light dinghies have made their mark on dinghy history.

  • the Optimist: often used for children's sailing lessons or as a racing dinghy, it is the smallest existing sailboat with a length of 2 metres;
  • the Moth Europe: a light dinghy you can actually build yourself with a fixed length and sail area;
  • the Finn: an Olympic dinghy with the mast arched backwards;
  • the OK Yole: a light dinghy designed as a preparation boat for the Olympic Finn;
  • the Vaurien: designed in 1951, this dinghy can be used by sailing schools and beginners as it's so easy to handle;
  • the Mousse: dating from the 50's, it is easy to build a Mousse by yourself and it doesn't cost much;
  • the 505: pronounced five-o-fifty, this competition dinghy designed for two crewmembers has all the typical characteristics of a dinghy for the first time;
  • and the Caravelle: a school sailing boat which can hold a crew of 4 to 6 people.

 

Are you looking for a light and sporty boat? Browse through our new and used sailing dinghies listings on Band of Boats and find the sailboat that will make your heart skip a beat.