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The Enterprise dinghy is a lively tactical double handed hiking dinghy designed for close racing, that has been a WLYC class fleet since the early 60s and is one of the main classes sailed in the 24 Hour Race . It is 13’ 3” (4.04m) long, has a centreboard and two sails, these sails are manufactured from instantly recognisable blue sail cloth. It is an International class with fleets in UK, Ireland, India, Sri Lanka, USA and South Africa. To date there have been in excess of 23,350 boats built since 1956 when the first Enterprise was built. The dinghy is available in many forms of construction from wood, FRP (Foam Reinforced Plastic) and more recently epoxy, examples of each type of construction are regularly sailed at the club.
The current National Champions, Mark Lunn and Steve Blackburn are from WLYC and the National Team Prize at the National Championships is regularly being won by competitors from WLYC. The class has extremely close and competitive racing both on the lake and on the sea at Ainsdale.
The GP14 is a popular sailing dinghy, with over 14,000 built. It is 14’ (4.26m) long and is a double handed hiking dinghy with a spinnaker and centreboard. It has been a WLYC class fleet since the early 60s and is one of the main classes that is sailed in the Crewsaver 24hr Race. The club fleet has competitive racing with a wide range of abilities that reflect the board appeal of the class.
The class is active in the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and parts of north-eastern USA, and the GP 14 can be used for both racing and cruising. The boat is relatively heavy, but stable, and the weight and the freeboard together with her lines combine to make her an excellent sea boat. She is also an ideal boat to learn to sail in.
The class is raced competitively, and offers excellent close racing; she is a very forgiving and easy boat to sail, but a very challenging and demanding and immensely rewarding boat to sail really well.
The International Laser Class sailboat, is also called Laser Standard is a popular single handed, hiking, one-design class of small sailing dinghy. The design, by Bruce Kirby, emphasizes simplicity and performance. The dinghy is manufactured by independent companies in different parts of the world, including Europe, USA, Australia and Japan.
The Laser is one of the most popular single-handed dinghies in the world. As of 2012, there are more than 200,000 boats worldwide. A commonly cited reason for its popularity is that it is robust, and simple to rig and sail. The Laser also provides very competitive racing due to the very tight class association controls which eliminate differences in hull, sails and equipment.
The term "Laser" is often used to refer to the Laser Standard (the largest of the sail plan rigs available for the Laser hull). However there are two other sail plan rigs available for the Laser hull, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 are three types of 'Laser' administered by the International Laser Class Association.
The Lasers hull is made out of GRP (Glass Re-enforced Plastic) the deck has a foam layer underneath for strength. It is 13’9” (4.2m) long with a slopping dagger board.
The Laser Standard became a men's Olympic-class boat at the 1996 Olympics and the Laser Radial became the women’s single hander class boat for the 2008 Olympics.
WLYC has had a class fleet of Lasers since the mid 70s and still has competitive racing with both the Standard and Radial rigs.
The Streaker is a single handed hiking sailing dinghy designed in 1975 by Jack Holt. It is a light (minimum weight only 48 kg) one-person boat with a uni-rig stayed sail plan. It is sailed mainly in Britain and the Philippines, and over 1800 have been built. At first all boats were built of plywood, but since 1998 fibreglass, and fibreglass variants have been used, and now over half of new boats are of fibreglass or composite (fibreglass and wood) construction.
The hull design is a double chine hull, with very little freeboard and incorporates an unconventional raking dagger board.
The class fleet has been at WLYC for the last 5 years and now has its own class since 2013. It has grown significantly with competitors of all ages and abilities and has regular turnouts of over 10 boats.
The Handicap Fleet is made up of a wide variety of dinghies both single and double handed. It is split into two, Fast Handicap and Slow Handicap, because of the differences in speed across the range of boats.
The fleet includes single handed dinghies such as the Finn and OK. On a more extreme level, there is the Contender and RS700 which once up to speed make the lake look small. In the very near future an International Canoe is set to join the fleet.
For the juniors there are Toppers, which offer a step up, from the Optimists for the younger ones, to other classes of boat, as they grow and get more experienced, they sail in our Slow Handicap fleet. The Topper is manufactured from injection moulded polypropylene which is an extremely robust material and is virtually indestructible.
Double handed dinghies include the RS200 and RS400 which speed around in all directions once their asymmetric spinnakers are hoisted. They hate a dead run, much to the amusement of those in single handers without shrouds.
Handicap racing allows you to sail whichever type of dinghy you fancy. To enable a true playing field with boats of different speeds the Portsmouth Yardstick Handicap system is used to give truly competitive racing.
Our lake probably doesn't suit all types of dinghy, such as a 49er, International 14 or 18ft Skiff may feel a little constrained but the spectators in the bar will be most pleased.
Racing not only happens on the lake, we also sail on the sea at Ainsdale when tide and weather allows.
Our current fleet includes; Finn, OK, Contender, Solo, RS200, RS300, RS400, RS700, Flying Dutchman, Topper.
The RC Laser (Radio Controlled Laser) has been a class of boat raced at WLYC for many years, mainly in the off season during the winter.
The boat is a ¼ scale version of the Laser Standard and has 4 rigs of different sizes to cope with the varying wind conditions. It is a true one design, as all the boats are identical and the skill of the competitor is what comes through at the end.
In 2011 WLYC hosted the National Championship on the lake and in 2013 the inaugural World Championships were held at WLYC. This attracted entries from France, the Nederland’s, Australia and the UK.
Also several regional events for the class are held throughout the year.
More recently the Dragon Force RG65 has been adopted as a class. This boat has a two sail plan and is built around the RG65 rules, it is also a one design with its own class rules within the RG65 rule. The boats are identical but you can make your own or use professionally made sails. It is proving very popular as over 1000 have been supplied into the UK within the 12 months that the boat has been in manufacture.
During the winter of 2014, WLYC has held a winter series for both these classes, which has proved extremely popular. We have had numbers of 36 boats attending a recent event, with competitors coming from as far afield as the Midlands, North Wales and Yorkshire.
West Lancashire Yacht Club
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