The ecoOpti 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 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.
The materials for the hull of the ecoOpti were carefully selected and tested to make sure that they delivered the same high performance as conventionally built boats in the Optimist class, but in a pack- age that is significantly more sustainable. 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%. 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.
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.
The ecoOpti launch will focus on sailing clubs to ensure as many young sailors as possible get the chance to experience the new sailboat.
A competition will be launched in June 2022 to give sailing clubs around the world the chance to own one of the first ten ecoOpti ever produced. The ten boats will be built over the course of 2022 and ready for the opening of the 2023 sailing season by March 2023.
Winning sailing clubs will provide a 500 EUR deposit ahead of build. The total cost of the ecoOpti is comparable with other composite Optimists at EUR 4000.
Pictured Holly Manvell, founder and Skipper of Clean Sailors, and Fabio Bignolini, Chief Operations Officer of Northern Light Composites and in Malcesine, Italy. Credit: Clean Sailors
“The Optimist is renowned across the world for being the primary boat so many of us have our first experience of sailing in, myself included. It’s the single largest class on our planet, sailed by our youngest and the next generations of our global sailing community. Much of the current, global Optimist class are imported plastic hulls which enter landfill at end of life. It’s therefore super important to consider and develop how we produce this boat, and how we introduce our future sailors to a better way of sailing, at comparable cost - something that Northern Light Composites have managed to achieve.” says Holly Manvell, founder of Clean Sailors.
“Many of us sailors started with the Optimist and it is really exciting for us to launch this project for a new generation of recyclable boats. I believe that starting with young sailors is the way to change the marine industry's perception about our new technology and what is possible for the future of better boatbuilding. We are super proud to launch our ecoOpti with Clean Sailors and a partner like Onesails, both who share our same sensitivity for the end-of-life problem. We can't wait to tour Europe over the coming months and talk about new materials and technologies with the industry and young sailors, alike.” says Fabio Bignolini, co-founder of nlcomp.
“I’m very proud that OneSails can support the launch of the ecoOpti with nl comp and Clean Sailors. As a team of sailmakers we are committed to testing and developing new technologies to minimize the impact we have on our environment. We are proud to be the leading sail provider for the Optimist class and the sailmaker leading the way for better, smarter practices in sailmaking.” says Dede De Luca, founder of Onesails.
“Train ‘em young! This could be the motto for Northern Light Composites’ ecoOpti project, which Bcomp is an instrumental partner of. Our advanced ampliTex™ flax fabrics are used throughout the hull laminates, matching the performance and weight of traditional glass laminates, but with much more attractive end-of-life options and environmental properties. It is great to see that sustainability and our planet’s health are starting to become major priorities in the selection of boatbuilding materials. Passing on this sustainable mindset already to young sailors is definitely the way to go”, commented Paolo Dassi, Marine and Industry Manager at Bcomp.
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 Spostboat 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
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
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