Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors team up to launch the world’s first sustainable and recyclable Optimist for young sailors and sailing schools, globally, supported by OneSails and Swiss clean-tech company, Bcomp™.
The ecoOptimist dinghy is the first recyclable sailing boat of the Optimist class in the world with already more than 90% of the hull being recyclable today. It has been designed and built by Northern Light Composites in Monfalcone, Italy, who has teamed up with Clean Sailors to launch the ecoOptimist for young sailors A huge number of sailors around the world have their first experiences on the water in an Optimist dinghy – it represents the single largest sailing class on the planet, and is the single most widely used boat, globally.
“The Optimist is renowned across the world for being the primary boat so many of us have our first experience of sailing in, myself included. It’s the single largest class on our planet, sailed by our youngest and the next generations of our global sailing community. 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.” says Holly Manvell, founder of Clean Sailors.
The materials for the hull of the ecoOptimist were carefully selected and tested to make sure that they delivered the same high performance as conventionally built boats in the Optimist class, but in a package that is significantly more sustainable. The ecoOptimist is not only built from sustainable materials but also recyclable once it is no longer fit to carry young sailors – more than 90% of the hull is already recyclable today and soon it should be 100%. The ampliTex™ natural fiber reinforcements, Atlas HPE core and resin can then be reused to produce new components. Compared to conventional glass fibers, 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 their entire lifetime.
“I’m very proud that OneSails can support the launch of the ecoOptimist with nl comp and Clean Sailors. As a team of sailmakers we are committed to testing and developing new technologies to minimize 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” says Dede De Luca, founder of Onesails.
Each ecoOptimist also features a sail by the renowned sailmaker OneSails, the primary producer of winning Optimist sails worldwide and the only sailmakers to date achieving a performing, strong and durable ISO-certified sustainable and recyclable sail fabric, produced in a low carbon footprint manufacturing process, making them the leading sailmaker also in sustainable practices. OneSails is a proud partner of the ecoOptimist project.
“Train ‘em young! This could be the motto for Northern Light Composites’ ecoOptimist project, which Bcomp is an instrumental partner of. Our advanced ampliTex™ flax fabrics are used throughout the hull laminates, matching the performance and weight of traditional glass laminates, but with much more attractive end-of-life options and environmental properties. It is great to see that sustainability and our planet’s health are starting to become major priorities in the selection of boatbuilding materials. Passing on this sustainable mindset already to young sailors is definitely the way to go”, commented Paolo Dassi, Marine and Industry Manager at Bcomp.
The ecoOptimist launch will focus on sailing clubs to ensure as many young sailors as possible get the chance to experience the new sailboat.
A competition will be launched in June 2022 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 EUR deposit ahead of the build. The total cost of the ecoOptimist is comparable with other composite Optimists at EUR 4.000.