World’s First Sustainable and Recyclable Optimist Dinghy

SinC EcoOptimist

Jun 29, 2022

The EcoOptimist

Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors have teamed up to launch the world’s first sustainable and recyclable Optimist, with over 90 per cent of the hull being recyclable. The dinghy is designed for young sailors and sailing schools across the world and is supported by OneSails and Bcomp. 

The ecoOptimist dinghy, designed and built by Northern Light Composites in Monfalcone, Italy, is the first recyclable sailing boat of the largest sailing class on the planet. According to Clean Sailors, the Optimist is the most widely used boat in the world and the materials for the hull of the ecoOptimist were carefully chosen to make sure that they delivered the same high performance as conventionally built boats in the Optimist class.

The ecoOptimist is built from sustainable materials and it is also recyclable once it is no longer fit for purpose – more than 90 per cent of the hull being recyclable now but Clean Sailors hope this will soon increase to 100 per cent.

SinC EcoOpti Manvell Balgioni 400Holly Manvell and Fabio Balgioni with an ecoOpti

“Much of the current, global Optimist class are imported plastic hulls which enter landfill at end of life. It’s therefore super important to consider and develop how we produce this boat, and how we introduce our future sailors to a better way of sailing, at comparable cost – something that Northern Light Composites have managed to achieve.”

The ampliTex natural fibre reinforcements, Atlas HPE core and resin can then be reused to produce new components. Compared to conventional glass fibres, flax fibres reduce the CO2 footprint of the composite from cradle to gate and don’t rely on fossil resources for the production of the raw material. Instead, they sequester CO2 from the atmosphere during their growth and act as a natural CO2 sink during its entire lifetime.

Each ecoOptimist also features a sail by OneSails, partner of the project and primary producer of Optimist sails worldwide. Produced in a low carbon footprint manufacturing process, the sales are ideal for the sustainable product.

“I’m very proud that OneSails can support the launch of the ecoOptimist with Bcomp and Clean Sailors,” says Dede De Luca, founder of Onesails. “As a team of sailmakers, we are committed to testing and developing new technologies to minimise the impact we have on our environment. We are proud to be the leading sail provider for the Optimist class and the sailmaker leading the way for better, smarter practices in sailmaking.”

Clean Sailors says the product launch will focus on sailing clubs to ensure as many young sailors as possible get the chance to experience the new sailboat. 

A competition is being launched to give sailing clubs around the world the chance to own one of the first ten ecoOptimists ever produced. The ten boats will be built over the course of 2022 and ready for the opening of the 2023 sailing season by March 2023.

Winning sailing clubs will provide a €500 deposit ahead of build. The total cost of the ecoOptimist is comparable with other composite Optimists at EUR 4000. 

“Many of us sailors started with the Optimist, and it is really exciting for us to launch this project for a new generation of recyclable boats,” says Fabio Bignolini, co-founder of Northern Light Composites.

– Courtesy Marine Industry News

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