Future technology for future sailors: Application opens to sailing clubs globally for world’s first recyclable sailing school dinghy

Future technology for future sailors: Application opens to sailing clubs globally for world’s first recyclable sailing school dinghy



Following the launch of their world-first recyclable optimist dinghy 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 ailing 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 ecoOpti 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 ecoOpti, 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. 


EcoOptimist by nlcomp and Clean Sailors

Winning sailing clubs will provide a 500 EUR deposit ahead of build. The cost of the ecoOpti 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 ecoOpti dinghy is the first recyclable Optimist 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 ecoOpti 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 ecoOpti 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 ecoOpti project.



EcoOptimist by nlcomp and Clean Sailors



“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 Baglioni, Chief Operations Officer of nlcomp.

“Bringing the ecoOpti 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 ecoOpti 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. 

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

More information can be found at ecooptisailing.com 

About Northern Light Composites

Northern Light Composites (nlcomp) is an innovative startup that deals with the research and development of recyclable composites in order to solve the problems related to the end of life of fiberglass composites. The company was founded in December 2019 by three passionate sailors and started working on the research and development of rComposite, the world’s first recyclable composite for the marine industry.

In 2020 nlcomp launched the world’s first recyclable dinghy called ecoprimus and was awarded with Design Innovation Award at Genoa Boat Show and was among the finalists of the World Sailing Sustainability Award.

In September 2021 ecoracer, the world’s first recyclable sportboat, was presented in Genoa Boat Show and awarded as most innovative sailing boat at the Genoa Boat Show. The boat starts sea trials immediately and in May 2022 made his debut in the Italian Sportboat Championship.

In April 2022 the company was awarded by Foiling Week in Milan for his new project ecofoiler and was also among the winners of the “Sailor of the Year” organized by the Italian magazine Il Giornale della Vela.

More information: www.nlcomp.tech


About Clean Sailors 


Clean Sailors is a not-for-profit, mobilising the global sailing community in conservation of our oceans. Launched in July 2020, Clean Sailors' mission is to set a new standard of sailing within our global sailing community: clean sailing, by raising awareness of ocean conservation opportunities within our sport, our passion, our pastime.

The crew's aim is to make an ocean ambassador of each and every sailor around the world, and Clean Sailor’s already counts three-time world champion and four-time Paralympian Hannah Stodel, as well as CJ Perez, the youngest ever sailor to join the SailGP league, as ambassadors to their cause.

In  2021, Clean Sailors launched Cleaner Marina with industry partners including boatfolk, MDL Marinas, savvy navvy and Ecoworks Marine, to encourage better, cleaner standards across marinas, ports and harbours, globally.

In January 2022, Clean Sailors announced the launch of the Clean Sailors Youth Racing Team with three international Champion sailors; CJ Perez (18) the youngest sailor ever to join the SailGP league and the first latina, Lukas Hesse (22), German Champion 2020 and Swiss sailor Jann Schüpbach (20). 2022 will see the exceptional young champions compete together in the Persico 69F, at the very highest standard of foiling and as ambassadors for cleaner, healthier seas and a cleaner sailing industry. 

More information: www.cleansailors.com


About OneSails

OneSails is a leading sailmaking network that develops a wide range of products and sails from dinghy classes to ocean and offshore sailing. They are the leading provider of sails for the Optimist class, as well as for ORC and IRC boats, and many one design classes. OneSails more recently provided Pip Hare’s Vendee campaign sails for her 24,000mile journey around the world, which OneSails’ recently recycled in a bid to improve sustainability in offshore racing. 

OneSails sails are made with exclusive 4T FORTE ™ continuous yarn composite design and technology to ensure quality, durability and performance. OneSails also produces and develops custom products and vintage sails.

In October 2013, OneSails launched into the market the 4T FORTE ™, the revolutionary continuous yarns composite technology, which became the reference for the construction of high performance sails. One year later, CSQA, the leading Italian company in certification and inspection services for companies, certified that the LCA-Life Cycle Assessment study was to sail 4T FORTE ™ marketed by OneSails complies with ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards.

Respect for the environment is one of the OneSails main priorities, thus maintaining a concrete focus on growing environmental issues. The further commitment of OneSails to the environment is aimed at the recovery of disused sails and the progressive expansion of the recovery cycle and recycling of selective materials. The 4T FORTE ™ sailing recycling process was officially launched in 2015. 

More information: www.onesails.com


About Bcomp

Bcomp™ is a Swiss cleantech company and ESG-enabler that develops and sells sustainable lightweighting solutions. Its proprietary natural fibre-based reinforcement technologies ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ reduce environmental impact in a wide range of high-performance applications, from automotive interiors to the highest levels of motorsports, from luxury yachting to sports, infrastructure, aerospace and even space. The Bcomp team offers its customers cutting-edge engineering support from idea to final part, out of its Fribourg headquarter. 

More information: www.bcomp.ch


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