Doyle NZ Optimist

Our team at Doyle Detroit has been working very hard for the last four years to develop competitive Optimist sail designs. We have tested different cloths and shapes for three weight ranges of sailors: light-under 77 lbs, medium-77-98 lbs, and heavy-over 98 lbs. After we selected the best cloth for our designs, we began making small changes to our shapes. We provided several test sails to the top kids and coaches around the world. The coaches’ feedback and our sail designer’s observations helped us fine tune our three standard shapes.

One of the first questions we needed to resolve was: Crosscut or Radial panel layout? The sole advantage of radial construction is the ability to align the warp threads along the run of the cloth with the loads in the sail. The Optimist class rules require all sailmakers to use a heavier material than we would if the rules did not address the cloth weight. The robust cloth requirement along with modern firm finishes eliminates the need for radial construction in small sails like the Optimist. Thus, the decision was made to go with a crosscut panel layout. This is the best layout from a sail shaping standpoint for every sail, not just the Optimist. In addition to refining our sail shapes, we have worked hard on the construction techniques that prevent our sails from changing shape as they load up. Again the Detroit team made many different sails to test the effect of varying our construction standards.

When we were confident that our sail shapes were fast, the next step was to put the sails on the race course in one of the most competitive fleets in the world, South America. The venue we chose was the 2004 South Atlantic Championships with teams from Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Two sisters were selected to use the sails: Delfina and Quillerrina Saldana. Delfina sailed with a medium design and Quillerrina sailed with our heavy design. Delfina finished 2nd overall and Quillerrina followed with an 8th place finish overall in a fleet of over 150 boats. During the 2005 season, Delfina and Quillerrina continued their success. Delfina won every regatta she sailed in, including the Metropolitan Champions in Buenos Aires with kids from around the world and a fleet of more than 200 boats. Simultaneously, we were testing sails in Mexico. Erik Brockmann won the Mexican Nationals last year using our heavy design sail. In addition to the Mexican Nationals, he won the Copa Arron Saenz Regatta and several local championships.

Since then we have been full speed ahead building Optimist sails. We have received orders from Ireland, Denmark, England, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and the U.S. We are making the fastest Optimist sails in the world. We encourage you to give your kids the Doyle advantage and give us a call.

For more information or to order Optimist Class sails: