ANOTHER SAILING CLASS?
During the 1960s and 70s there were a huge number of boats built of plywood in garages, sheds, kitchens and living rooms.
These boats and their owners formed the basis of the boom in sailing clubs that used to be in every bay and estuary around Australia.
Now sailing boats are So stupidly expensive that all those little sailing clubs have died out or are struggling against diminishing participation. The cost of just the aerospace spas for a basic Optimist "trainer" is more than an entire OzRacer costs to build and go sailing.
Now everything has become too serious - with basic boats for a kid or couple of kids costing between 5 and 12 thousand dollars.
Thus the drop in participation. As soon as a class goes to fibreglass the costs rise and rise.
As a kid Michael Storer used to go down to the beach, rig his boat and go sailing during holidays, weekends, whenever - and there would be heaps of other kids doing the same thing in their boats. The boats were wooden and available relatively cheaply. His first boat was $70, his second was $250. He thinks his father was earning about $200 a week at the time.
As a teenager we both learned to paint, repair and make bits for our boats. Now if there are thousands of dollars wrapped up in the boat they have to go back to the factory.
OzRacers avoid all this silliness - they put the ability to get afloat into just about everyone's hands.
Modest boats sailed for fun!
They are perfect for all the above reasons. The other nice things are
• They are small enough and light enough for two people to move around easily - or one person to move easily enough.
• If you can build a box (or a rocking horse) you will find one simple to build, repair and maintain (that's one of the reasons we decided to epoxy coat ours - it reduces the maintenance down to less than a fibreglass boat).
• They are so cheap that it won't be burden to own, it is cheap enough not to be precious which makes it easy to lend to other people without becoming fretful. Why not build two so you can watch your friends or family sail the other one!
• They are so simple to rig that you can get home from work, see that there is a nice sailing breeze and be pushing out from the shore within 10 minutes.
* The best reason of all is that you end up spending your life right on the water. Lucky you!
You know you want to!