The Optimist Dinghy proves it can fly

Students and researchers from Chalmers Sports & Technology and SSPA, has together designed and developed an optimist dinghy with supreme capabilities. By using a composite with added graphene, the hull is made stronger. Hydrofoils are added to lift the boat, decreasing drag and allowing greater speeds. After tests performed in SSPA’s facility, the towing tank, the dinghy was ready to be tried out at sea. By this project, SSPA has increased the practical knowledge concerning the particular challenges of construction, configuration and testing of hydrofoil craft.

A relatively new occurrence within “the sailing world” is to mount hydrofoils on small sailing dinghies. Chalmers and SSPA wanted the challenge to do this on "the world's least advanced sailboat" - Optimist dinghy. The main question and problem for the students and the researchers of this project has been: Can an Optimist foil and how will this be done? 

The Optimist Dinghy has, since it was conceived in 1947, become one of the world’s most popular sailing dinghies, with over 150,000 boats registered. The boat, only 2.3 m in length, and with a sail area of 3.3 m2 is normally limited to speeds below 4 knots. 

However, by building the boat in carbon fiber and graphene, and fitting it with hydrofoils lifting the hull out of the water, the hydrodynamic resistance can be reduced dramatically. 

The hydrofoils, constructed and tested at SSPA, allowed the Optimist Dinghy to sail as fast as the wind in the recently conducted sea trials, achieving a maximum boat speed of 12 knots in only 12 knots of wind. 

Take look at the video when the dinghy is tried out at sea; Graphene and hydrofoils gives optimist dinghy superpowers (by Chalmers University of Technology).

SSPA has been involved in the design, construction and testing of a hydrofoil conversion of the famed “Optimist Dinghy”. Hydrofoils provide an unparalleled potential for reducing the hydrodynamic resistance of light and fast vessels, as is demonstrated by this project. The Foiling Optimist Dinghy project has allowed SSPA to enhance its practical knowledge concerning the particular challenges of construction, configuration and testing of hydrofoil craft. 

Take look at the video when the dinghy was tested in the towing tank, Foiling Optimist Dinghy tested at SSPA (by SSPA Sweden).



 

Photo Album, Building the Foiling Optimist Dinghy. Some photos from the process when SSPAs experts was building the Foiling Optimist Dinghy are avaliable in PDF.

Photos

Graphene and hydrofoils gives optimist dinghy superpowers to fly over the waves. Photo: Per Thorén, Chalmers Sports & Technology.

Foiling Optimist Dinghy tested in the towing tank at SSPA. Photo: Anders Mikaelsson, SSPA Sweden

SSPA has been involved in the design and construction of the famed “Optimist Dinghy”. Photos: SSPA Sweden