What is the 420?

The International 420 Class Dinghy is a monohull planing dinghy with centreboard, bermuda rig and centre sheeting. It is designed for a crew of two. The name describes the overall length of the boat in centimeters (the boat is exactly 4.2 meters long).                                    (Wikipedia)

There are 56,000 worldwide. This popular dinghy is sailed at school, club, open, national and international levels. There are many second hand boats available, active clubs and excellent tuition for all levels.

Built in buoyancy tanks make the boat very safe even when inverted. The 420 is the youth development boat in 43 countries around the world and is the ISAF Youth World Championship boat. Despite the emergence of newer commercial driven classes and asymmetrics, the 420 is still the world’s top youth training boat.

The 420 Class has long been established at FSC since hosting the World Championships in 1995. Belinda Stowell, Olympic Gold Medallist at Sydney 2000 Olympics, represented Australia at Athens 2004 Olympic and London 2012 Olympics, and won the 1995 World Women’s 420 Championship is Head of the 420 sailing development program at FSC. Belinda with her wealth of knowledge and experience, has provided several champions including:

  • 2013 ISAF Youth World Champions in the 420 Girls Carrie Smith and Ella Clark
  • Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson who went on to win Gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.


  • Length 4.2 m
  • Beam 1.63 m
  • Mast 6.26 m
  • Sails Main 10.25m2, Jib 2.8 m2, Spinnaker 9 m2.
  • Bare hull weight 80 kg min
  • Sailing weight 100 kg min

The ideal competitive combined crew weight is 17 to 23 stone (110-145Kg).

Useful Sites

International 420 Class www.420sailing.org
International 420 Class Association of Western Australia www.420sailingwa.org.au
International Sailing Federation (ISAF) www.sailing.org
Wikipedia – Simple Overview en.wikipedia.org/wiki/420_(dinghy)

What is the 470?

The 470 is an Olympic class dinghy recognised by ISAF, sailed by both male and female teams.

It was designed in 1963 by the frenchman André Cornu, as a modern fiberglass planing dinghy. In 1969 the class was given international status and it has been an Olympic class since featuring at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. In 1988 the first Olympic womens sailing event was sailed in the 470.

The boat is equipped with spinnaker and trapeze, which demands real teamwork. To be competitive, everything should be mastered to perfection and the 470 is often quoted as the hardest Olympic design to get to grips with. Tactically the boat is demanding as speed differences between competitors are small and fleets are usually big.

Elise Rechichi &Tessa Parkinson from FSC won the Women’s Olympic Gold Medal in the 470 class in the Beijing Olympics and FSC Sailors Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan are competing at to 2016 Rio Olympics for Australia in the 470 Class.


  • Length: 4.7m
  • Length of waterline: 4.4m
  • Mass: 120kg
  • Mast: 6.76m
  • Total Sail Area: 12.7sqm
  • Jib: 3.58sqm
  • Main: 9.12sqm
  • Spinnaker: 13sqm

Useful Sites

Australian 470 Association www.470.org.au
International Sailing Federation (ISAF) www.sailing.org

What is the 505?

The 5O5 is a double-handed boat that incorporates a light weight, high performance hull design with a powerful sail plan and one trapeze. The boat is unique in that it has outstanding performance in all conditions. In light air it is quick and responsive, and in breeze it just goes faster. Planing begins in 10 knots of wind.

The Class Rules are One-Design, with the emphasis on controlling aspects that most directly affect boat speed. The sailplan and hull shape are tightly controlled, while the rigging layout, spars, and the foils are open. This allows the boat to be set up in many ways to suit the sailors; there are several distinct types of sail and layout combinations from the US, Australia and Europe. The result is that, at any Worlds, all the types will be used by the top 10 finishers, and usually by the top 5. Most US boats currently have adjustable shrouds, forestay, and mast ram, which allows rig tension, rake and bend to be changed while racing. There are many ways to rig the boat; it still takes the best sailors to win.

Hulls are built of either fibreglass/polyester or of epoxy resin/carbon and honeycomb composite. Both types are equally competitive when new, but twelve year old epoxy composite boats can still win major championships.

The ideal sailing weight varies with the prevailing local conditions, but most successful racers have a combined weight near 155kgs. The boat is difficult to sail in breeze with under 140kgs and few teams are over 180kgs. The current World Champions’ combined weight is 150kgs. Two boats with women skippers have won North American titles.

Useful Sites

International 505 Class Yacht Racing Association www.int505.org
International Sailing Federation (ISAF) www.sailing.org

Boat Description/Cost

The Flying Ant is a junior class, two person skiff dinghy with main, jib, spinnaker and trapeze, suited to those aged between 8 and 14 years. It can be sailed with both the classic and asymmetric spinnaker, making it an excellent training ground for the higher performance dinghies such as 29er/49er and 420/470. It is safe, easy to handle, and fun, with an exciting planing hull that performs like many of the bigger boats.

The Flying Ant sailors learn team and tactical skills that enable them to easily move onto any senior class. Many Flying Ant Sailors have gone on to become accomplished international and Olympic sailors.

New and used Flying Ants are priced between $1,000 p $5,000 depending on age and availability.

Events: Winter program, Summer program, club sailing. YWA Development Camps (Juniorsail and Westsail), State and National Championships.

General Information:
Full details on club racing, upcoming events, classifieds and Flying Ant news can be found on the Flying Ant Facebook page or website (www.flyingants.org.au).

facebook-iconFlying Ant Skiff Association of WA Facebook page

For all of the latest news & information on Laser’s in Western Australia please see the WA Laser Association Website.

You can choose one of three different sized rigs:  Laser Standard, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7

What is a Laser?

The International Laser Class sailboat, also called Laser Standard and the Laser One is a popular one-design class of small sailing dinghy. According the Laser Class Rules the boat may be sailed by either one or two people, though it is rarely sailed by two. The design, by Bruce Kirby, emphasizes simplicity and performance.

The dinghy is now manufactured by several boat manufacturers worldwide (see External Links). The Laser is one of the most popular single-handed dinghies in the world. By 2007, the number of boats produced exceeded 190,000.

A commonly cited reason for its popularity is that it is robust and simple to rig and sail. “Laser” is mainly used to refer to the Laser Standard (the second largest of the sail plan rigs available for the Laser hull), but this can be very confusing as there are a series of other “Laser”-branded boats using different hulls. Examples include the Laser II and Laser Pico, but these may be called Laser 2, and a Pico. (Wikipedia)

The Laser Concept

A high performance low cost singlehanded dinghy.

Since its inception more than 21 years ago the Laser has come a long way while really changing hardly at all. On a cold and blustery day outside Montreal in late November of 1970, when after a month of tuning and tweaking, the final choice of mast sections and the cut and structure of the sail were established, the basic parameters of the boat were fixed and have not been changed.

The hull shape and the shape and position of the daggerboard and rudder were never altered from the original plans. The sail area also remained as drawn, but on the second prototype the centre of effort was moved forward in small increments to fine-tune the helm or ‘feel’ of the boat, and to make it right for as broad a range of crew weights as possible in a small single-hander.

That was also the day when the name Laser emerged as by far the best of the many that had been suggested, and it was the day we realised that if the class were to reach the prominence which seemed to be indicated by the unusual excitement it had already created, we would have to guard most diligently its one-design nature.

Sailing technology was asked to wait in the wings, while tactical ability, combined with agility and the desire to win, were given front stage, centre. In its 21 years, the class has allowed only four additions to the basic boat: a compass, a ratchet block on the sheet, more parts in the outhaul and more parts in the vang. That’s all folks!

Although there was resistance to even these minor adaptations, they have worked out well, because all but the compass (which should be allowed on any boat for safety and tactical reasons) have served to increase the effective crew weight range. Being able to flatten and unflatten the sail easily with the new vangs and outhauls has made it possible for lighter people to compete against their heavier rivals in strong winds.

Putting smaller rigs on the Laser hull has further broadened the boat’s realm, and the Laser Radial Rig in particular has virtually created a new class for sailors in 60 to 70 kg range, which includes an impressive percentage of the world’s population.

Simplicity and performance were prime objectives, and these features went hand in hand with low cost and light weight; but the idea that the boat would be tossed on top of a car or onto a trailer, and launched and retrieved from a beach, meant that it would also have to be durable. In its turn the tough hull structure has resulted in a boat that needs little maintenance and enjoys minimal depreciation.

By sticking strictly to the one-design concept, which has included only one set of master moulds, from which all other tooling is manufactured, there is no hull measuring required at regattas, and it is generally agreed that there has never been a class which comes close to the Laser in uniformity of shape, rig and structure. Whatever skill was expended on the project fell neatly into line with fortuitous timing and a generous dollop of blind luck. The result has been a most satisfactory experience, which is reinforced yearly by the knowledge that so many of the world’s leading sailors are graduates of the Laser school of sailboat racing. It is even more satisfying to see how the class is constantly reclaiming its own in the form of Laser Masters – those who thought they had escaped the addiction but keep coming back for more and finding that the thrill lives on.

One Design

The Laser was created as a strict one-design dinghy where the true test, when raced, is between sailors and not boats and equipment.

The fundamental principle of the Laser rules is that you cannot change anything unless specifically permitted by the rules to do so. Such permissions are restricted and generally only allow a limited choice to accommodate different physical attributes of sailors.

The class has actively rejected any suggestions to change or “improve” equipment so that the absolute similarity of all boats is maintained and costs of competing are kept low.

The strength and absence of any flexibility in The Fundamental Rule of the Laser Class has enabled the class to grow at a rate unsurpassed by any other dinghy.

The Class Association has absolute control over all aspects of the class rules. Further protection is achieved by the requirement that ISAF has to approve any changes. By exercising control worldwide, the Laser has been maintained as one of the most pure one designs in the sailing world.

As well as being popular in well established yachting countries, the absolute one-design rules have made the Laser uniquely popular as the racing dinghy in many smaller countries who have little or no experience, knowledge or opportunity to participate in “high tech” classes.

One of the greatest success stories of Laser Racing. Masters sailing consists of three age groups:

  • Apprentices (35 to 44 years)
  • Masters (45 to 54 years)
  • Grand Masters (55 years+)

The fleet includes Olympians and past Champions who bring to the class a wealth of talent and experience. For many the Laser rekindles the spirit of competition, for others it is an enjoyable way of keeping fit.


Although best known as a senior class the Laser has proved itself to be very suitable as a youth class, being used by many National Authorities as their preferred youth boat. The addition of the Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 rigs further extend the versatility of the boat for young sailors.

In the last 17 lYRU World Youth Championships the Laser has been chosen as the singlehanded class 13 times. Following the introduction of a female singlehanded event in the lSAF World Youth Championships the Laser Radial has been chosen for the female event.


Since the Laser Class adopted the Laser Radial for major women’s events it has enjoyed excellent support. Women compete equally with men in the Radial Fleet.


 A place in a Laser World Championship is not a gift, it has to be earned. Those who have succeeded and have experience of other classes comment that ‘a Laser World Championship is one of the hardest regattas to win’. This high standard of competition is reflected throughout the various levels of Laser racing in what is arguably the most active and competitive racing class in the world.

Useful Sites

WA Laser Association www.laserwa.asn.au
International Laser Class Association www.laserinternational.org
Australian Laser Class Association Inc www.lasersdownunder.com
International Sailing Federation (ISAF) www.sailing.org
Wikipedia – Simple Overview en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_(dinghy)

What is an Optimist?

“a flat-bottomed, hard-chine, pram-bow dinghy with a una spritsail”(The Observer’s Book of Small Craft)

“a bathtub that breeds the best sailors”   (Observant Sailor at the Club Bar)

The Optimist is a small, single-crew sailing dinghy for children up to the age of 15. Nowadays boats are usually made of fiber reinforced plastic, although wooden boats are still built.

It is one of the most popular sailing dinghies in the world, with over 140,000 boats officially registered with the class and many more built but never registered.

The Optimist is also recognized as an International Class by the International Sailing Federation. (wikipedia)


  • 2.31m (7’6.1/2″) long.
  • 1.13m (3’8″) wide.
  • Weight 35kg (77lbs).
  • Available in GRP, wood or wood/epoxy.

Why the Optimist?

  • Optimists are designed for kids. They can handle them without danger, fear or back-strain. Safe and simple enough for an 8-year old, exciting and technical enough for a 15-year old.
  • Single-handed is best. They didn’t learn to ride a bike on a tandem.
  • Over 150,000 kids in over 100 countries cannot be wrong.
  • The Optimist is not only the biggest dinghy class in the world, it is the fastest growing.
  • The only dinghy recognised by the ISAF exclusively for under 16s
  • Former Optimist sailors were over 50% of the dinghy skippers at the last Olympics.
  • Easily transported on top of any car, (where it will drip water over your shiny paintwork!).

Useful Sites

Australian International Optimist Dinghy Association https://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=0-10073-0-0-0&sID=345231
Western Australian International Optimist Dinghy Association https://www.waioda.org.au/
Optimist Dinghy Association, Australia www.aioda.com
Optimist Class Association www.optiworld.org
International Sailing Federation (ISAF) www.sailing.org
Wikipedia – Simple Overview en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimist_(dinghy)

What is it?

The SB20 is a one-design class of sailboat commonly used for racing. Marketed and distributed by Sportsboat World the boat was designed by Tony Castro and launched in 2002. The SB20 is the perfect fit for sailors wanting to transition from smaller dinghies into the larger keelboat fleets.

The SB20 was originally called the Laser SB3, and was marketed and distributed by Laser Performance under licence from the designer. This licence ended in 2012.[2]

The yacht is an open keelboat and is designed for racing with a crew of 3 whose maximum weight must not exceed 270 kg. With a high aspect ratio keel with a very high ballast ratio the yacht is very stable, but also quite fast due to the substantial sail area. The SB20 is unique in that it does not allow hiking, using a small stainless steel bar to prevent hiking by the crew, this allows competitive crews of all shapes, sizes and ages.

The majority of boats are located in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Portugal, Singapore and Italy and the Class has attracted considerable support. In 2005 the SB20 became the second largest One-design fleet at the Cowes Week regatta with 66 entries. In 2006 it became the largest fleet with 89 entries pushing the XOD into second place, an accolade it held for two further years.

There are over 600 boats worldwide, sailed in over 20 countries. Growth in fleets internationally enabled the class to successfully apply to ISAF for the right to host a world championship, of which seven have been held since.

Contact the FSC Sailing Office to get involved on 9435 8800 or sailingoffice@fsc.com.au

Current Specifications

LOA 6.15 m (20.2 ft)

Beam 2.15 m (7 ft 1 in)

Draft 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)

Hull weight 685 kg (1,510 lb) (inc. 327 kg (721 lb) keel)

Mast height 9.05 m (29.7 ft)

Mainsail area 18 m2 (190 sq ft)

Jib / Genoa area 9.3 m2 (100 sq ft)

Spinnaker area 46 m2 (500 sq ft)

What is it?

The 29er is a two-man high performance sailing skiff designed by Julian Bethwaite and first produced in 1998. This is the junior skiff class which feeds into the 49er/49er FX Olympic class.

t is targeted at youth, especially those training to sail the larger 49er. It has a single trapeze and a fractional asymmetric spinnaker. The Class is a more modern replacement to Franks previous Laser 2 replacing it in the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships. A self-tacking jib decreases the work load of the crew, making maneuvers more efficient and freeing the crew to take the mainsheet upwind and on two-sail reaches. The spinnaker rigging set-up challenges crews to be fit and coordinated, and maneuvers in the boat require athleticism due to its lack of inherent stability and the high speed with which the fully battened mainsail and jib power up.

The hull construction is of fibreglass-reinforced polyester in a foam sandwich layout. The fully battened mainsail and jib are made from a transparent Mylar laminate with orange or red Dacron trimming, while the spinnaker is manufactured from ripstop Nylon. The mast is in three parts – an aluminium bottom and middle section, with a polyester-fiberglass composite tip to increase mast bend and decrease both overall weight, and the capsizing moment a heavy mast tip can generate.

29er Class Association Webpage : https://www.29er.org/

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The 49er and 49er FX are double trapeze and are currently Olympic classes.

Read more about the 49er here

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