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Application opens to sailing clubs globally for world's first recyclable sailing school dinghy

by Clean Sailors 1 Dec 2022 10:58 GMT
Future technology for future sailors © Clean Sailors

Following the launch of their world-first recyclable Optimist in Summer 2022, Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors have opened a competition to give sailing clubs around the world the chance to own one of the first ecoOptimists ever produced.

The boats will be built in the winter season and be ready for the opening of the next sailing season, June 2023.

The project's focus on sailing clubs is to ensure as many young sailors as possible get the chance to experience the new sailboat, inspiring and encouraging the future of our global sailing community to think differently about the production of boats. 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 are already recyclable today and soon it should be 100%. Swiss clean-tech company, Bcomp™'s technology has been instrumental to the ecoOptimist, providing the ampliTex™ natural fibre reinforcements, Atlas HPE core and resin can then be reused to produce new components. Compared to conventional glass fibres, 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.

Winning sailing clubs will provide a 500 EUR deposit ahead of build. The cost of the ecoOptimist is comparable with other traditional composite Optimists at EUR 4000. Clubs can apply via online application, which includes questions about their existing commitments to sustainability, as well as a short video on why their club is best placed to help inspire the future generations of sailors.

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 have 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.

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.

"Here at nlcomp we all started with Optimists as our sailing passion and it's amazing to start to push the marine industry for a more eco-friendly boatbuilding technology, beginning with this very boat. We are working hard to have the first fleet ready in the next summer and we'll be travelling Europe to show sailors that building recyclable boats is now a reality." says Fabio Bignolini, Chief Operations Officer of nlcomp.

"Bringing the ecoOptimist to young sailors around the world is a huge milestone in the development of new composite technologies today. We are so excited that ecoOptimist is the only project globally doing so for young sailors, for they will inherit our industry, our planet and the environments that to date we've exploited more than nourished. Seeing the ecoOptimist become an actual reality, ready for the next generation is humbling. We are so proud of our friends and partners, NL Composites, for sharing this journey with us." Says Holly Manvell, founder and skipper of marine projects Clean Sailors and Cleaner Marina.

ecoOptimist have also opened a Register of Interest for individuals and private organisations looking to purchase an ecoOptimist, with production scheduled to begin in Summer 2023.

More information can be found at

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