My list of Top 6 legendary sailing boats that changed the game forever…
Every child’s first sailboat. Simple and cheap = legendary!
The Optimist was designed in 1947 by American Clark Mills at the request of the Optimist International service club following a proposal by Major Clifford McKay to offer low-cost sailing for young people. He designed a simple pram that could be built from three sheets of plywood, and donated the plan. The Optimist is sailed in over 120 countries and it is one of only two yachts approved by the International Sailing Federation. exclusively for sailors under 16. In recent years over 3000 boats a year have been produced by 30 builders worldwide.
The first mass-production sport catamaran. The craft was the driving force behind the popularization of beach cats and was recently inducted into the Sailing Hall Of Fame. Introduced in 1971, the Hobie 16 is the second largest boat fleet in existence with over 135,000 boats built to date. The boat is distinctly recognized for its asymmetric “banana” shaped hulls, designed to work without the need for daggerboards so the catamaran could be run up the beach without worry. The rudders kick up automatically by lifting up on the tiller crossbar.
The Nordic Folkboat was the result of a competition held by the Scandinavian Yacht Racing Union in 1942, who were hoping to create an easily sailed and low-cost boat. The competition produced no outright winner but, taking the best features of a number of the entries received, the organizers commissioned Tord Sundén to create a boat that met the goals of the design competition. The resulting boat went on to become an international favorite of sailors and still endures more than 70 years after its design with more than 4000 Folkboats still sailing around the world.
Swan 36 is the first Swan sailing yacht ever produced and was the fastest commercially available sailing yacht at the time. Its racing success is very much based on the designer’s well timed decision to use a separate fin keel and rudder as opposed to the traditional full keel arrangement.The yacht gained international recognition in 1968 when a Swan 36 called Casse Tete II scored a result that no one had done before and won all seven starts of that years Cowes Week regatta. Well marketed combination of speed, quality and affordability enabled the subsequent commercial success for the whole yard and the creation of Swan brand.
The J/24 class has more than 50,000 people sailing 5,300 boats worldwide since 1975. One-Design class is established in 27 countries and it is the world’s most popular One-Design keelboat.
Mini 6.50 is very short and beamy allowing the boat to plane easily. Minis are capable of sailing as fast as 25+ knots. Bob Salmon developed the idea of a mini-transatlantic race in the late 1970s in England with the intent of promoting affordable offshore solo racing. The race is admitted to be a “test bed” for mechanisms to be used on bigger and far more expensive open classes.