Opti people are in a cult

CMcG

New member
Having sailed them, taught sailing in them, and having built them, I wholeheartedly agree with you. They are an abomination.
I like the idea of a small simple one design class for young kids, but surely there is something better. They are a ridiculous price too. Surely something so small and designed to get kids into sailing should be a reasonable price. That might open sailing up to the great unwashed though and that would not be acceptable in some sailing circles.
I had the option of buying a set of moulds for them recently, but didn't go for it. I would have made money off them, but I'd also have to deal with the kind of person who buys them and I just can't. The weights of each ingredient is so closely controlled that you are not allowed to use enough Gelcoat to actually gel the fucking things properly. Try doing a proper gelcoat repair on the bastarding things and you will forever hate them.
 

Steam Flyer

Super Anarchist
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Eastern NC
Everything you guys criticise about the Opti is not the boats actual fault.

I got roped into teaching little kids sailing Optis a little over a decade ago (my how time flies). I knew little about the Opti but was willing to learn. They're simple, they're robust, they sail well in light air & heavy, they're stable, they have low loads so that little hands and little muscles can handle them. I happen to like the fact that they swamp when they capsize, so that they will not blow away from a tired kid and they're easy to climb in and because they're a PITA to bail the kids will not whine "can I capsize?" a hundred times a day.

The ones I've repaired have not been difficult at all.

It's very ironic that I'm here defending Optis. I don't particularly like them. But then again, I'm a retired engineer with an appreciation for functional design and no need to make money off asshole parents.
 

JM1366

Member
124
73
Wisconsin
They serve their purpose. I have sailed them, rebuilt countless, and coached kids in them, and they get most of the things right.

They are easy on kids, and you can put an inexperienced kid on one and you probably won't scare them to death. An average 5-year-old will still be able to trim the mainsheet in moderately heavy wind. An average 5-year-old will be able to get one up if they tip it over.

Because all the surfaces are more or less flat, repair is pretty easy and doesn't have to involve torture boards.


I have three issues with optis.
#1. Sail ties. This might have made sense in 1950, but holy shit this is just needless pain. The number of hours I have spent tying (and untying) 1.5 mm line is absolutely stupid. The amount of time I have spent with a spool of 1.5mm vectran-core line and a hot-knife making sail ties is equally stupid. I refuse to believe that another solution (like a sleeve) couldn't work just fine.

#2 The age limit is too high. Keeping kids in optis until they're 16 is a great way to turn them off from sailing. I don't care if you put them in Melges 15s, X-boats, M16s or even a 420, but put them in something fun that will make them want to keep doing it.

#3 Extreme one-design politics. This isn't exclusive to optis - Lasers and Flying Scots (and several other classes) have this problem too. In other competitive fleets (A-scow, E-scow) nobody cares if you make your own rudders as long as they're the same. In general, as long as you aren't giving yourself an advantage, nobody cares. In the opti class, they're so paranoid that at the high level they require a centerboard and rudder with a clear epoxy finish (which is bloody difficult to repair in an inconspicuous manner).
 

Steam Flyer

Super Anarchist
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Eastern NC
100% agreed with all the above... except -I- don't monkey with sail ties. If the kids want sail ties adjusted or if we are celebrating breaking out a new sail, -they- rig it up with their finer eyesight and little fingers. We have some Optis rigged with sleeved sails and they work fine.
 

ExOmo

Best Anarchist Ever
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The Great Void
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AnIdiot

Member
320
216
Second Drawer
I have three issues with optis.
#1. Sail ties. This might have made sense in 1950, but holy shit this is just needless pain. The number of hours I have spent tying (and untying) 1.5 mm line is absolutely stupid. The amount of time I have spent with a spool of 1.5mm vectran-core line and a hot-knife making sail ties is equally stupid. I refuse to believe that another solution (like a sleeve) couldn't work just fine.
The kids do their own sail ties. If they are taught right then they learn about sail shape somewhere along the way. Parents make (or buy) sail ties.
This is not an Oppy issue, it's a coaching issue.
#2 The age limit is too high. Keeping kids in optis until they're 16 is a great way to turn them off from sailing. I don't care if you put them in Melges 15s, X-boats, M16s or even a 420, but put them in something fun that will make them want to keep doing it.

It's a limit. They move out when they are ready or too big. They should be moving into more exciting boats while still racing Oppies. Part of the problem in the USA is the lack of a progression circuit. This is not an Oppy issue, it's a progression issue.
#3 Extreme one-design politics. This isn't exclusive to optis - Lasers and Flying Scots (and several other classes) have this problem too. In other competitive fleets (A-scow, E-scow) nobody cares if you make your own rudders as long as they're the same. In general, as long as you aren't giving yourself an advantage, nobody cares. In the opti class, they're so paranoid that at the high level they require a centerboard and rudder with a clear epoxy finish (which is bloody difficult to repair in an inconspicuous manner).
At the high level, affluent parents will buy performance if they can. The class rules are made and enforced to restrict this as far as possible. A worldwide decision by the class. The main alternative is SMOD, so if that's preferred people can use RS Teras, for example, instead of Oppies... but that alternative has not yet taken over. I'd argue because the 1995 IODA rule update was a better solution for the class.
So yes, that's an Oppie issue... but the alternatives are available and have not supplanted the class, so maybe this aspect of class politics is warranted. There are certainly other issues with extreme class politics but, as you say, these are not restricted to Oppies. Firm programme and event management can mitigate them.
 

[email protected]

Super Anarchist
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USA
The reality is that for about 97% of opti sailors a $1500 used boat / sail is just fine. The arms race is just at the top, and guess what, for 97% of you it dont matter cuz your kid aint at the top...
 
The reality is that for about 97% of opti sailors a $1500 used boat / sail is just fine. The arms race is just at the top, and guess what, for 97% of you it dont matter cuz your kid aint at the top...
There's one good thing about the opti too, kids sail it only a few years so even if you buy an expensive one, the resale value will be pretty good. If you lose 1.000 -1.500$ over a 4-5 year period, it's still pretty cheap. One sail per year is more than enough unless you are a top-top sailor.

You could buy a charter boat from the Europeans with just a few races for about 2.6k last year, you can sell it for 1.5k in 2-3 years easily. (euros)

My kid sails a 2003 boat (800€ fully equiped with 5 sails and the dolly, 2 in decent shape) and managed to end ranked #1 in the regional silver fleet and entering the gold fleet. Next season I'll think about getting a more competitive boat only if he really needs it.
 

AnIdiot

Member
320
216
Second Drawer
The reality is that for about 97% of opti sailors a $1500 used boat / sail is just fine. The arms race is just at the top, and guess what, for 97% of you it dont matter cuz your kid aint at the top...

If your kid is competitive, a new sail with the right cut for their weight can offer them better speed; in a big fleet keeping a lane off the start and getting to the first mark early can make a big difference to scores.

That's the time to spend a bit of money, if you can.
 
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