A father from New Zealand has come up with the idea of a clip-on bow which can be used by two small children sailing together
Matthew Mason, a professional boat builder from New Zealand, has developed a clip-on bow and a new rig that converts a traditionally single-handed Optimist dinghy into a two-handed, planing junior dinghy.
The clip-on bow, called O-Pro, can be handled by two lighter children or one bigger child, and was inspired by Mason’s son. William, 8, asked his dad why his Optimist dinghy didn’t have a pointy hull like others he had seen, that’s when the Kiwi came up with his idea, with the help of his teenage daughter Emma.
After trialling different methods, to keep his costs down, Mason decided to add a simple carbon tip that plugs into the Optimist mast, so that a bigger sail can be added to balance the extra length of the dinghy with the addition of the clip-on bow.
Five O-Pro are currently up and running at Mason’s son’s local sailing club. Matthew Mason intends to put the O-Pro on the market, pricing it at $1,100-1,200.
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The boat builder said the O-Pro would be ideal for children who want to sail and race together and children who want to sail single-handedly and who weigh over 45kg.
Mason presented his new design at the World Sailing Conference in Mexico earlier this month. He believes the add-on ‘could potentially fill in some gaps with children in sailing’.