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Old 23-07-2023, 07:31   #1
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Building an Opti with my grandson

I'm retired and have been sailing for 60 years. In June my 8-year-old grandson took a sailing class and loved it. Which made me very happy, as I'm the only sailor in generations of boaters in my family.

I built my first sailboat when I was in my early 20, and I want to teach my grandson how to build his first boat before I can't anymore. His classes were taught in an Opti and I found plans for an Opti online. The design is based on 3 sheets of marine plywood which I can cut on my CNC router.

Used Opti's are available for $500 to $1000, but buying it will not teach him anything about marine/boat construction or how the parts of a boat go together. Building my first boat is an education that has never left me.

We start construction on Monday, July 24 and Iíve allotted 1 1/2 to 2 months for completion, working 3 hours a day, 3 days a week (grandson's work schedule). Iím looking ahead and know that I'll need to locate the mast-boom-sprit, and a sail. If anyone has parts left over from their own build or from an Opti no longer in use please let me know. I'm in New Bern, NC
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Old 23-07-2023, 08:45   #2
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

Lucky grandson! And luck you too! I have no Opti parts to offer but am looking forward to occasionally hearing about progress. Good luck!
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Old 23-07-2023, 08:47   #3
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

Very cool!
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Old 23-07-2023, 09:01   #4
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

Very nice. I would recommend Racelite for small boat hardware.

https://www.racelitehardware.com/
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Old 23-07-2023, 09:14   #5
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

Great!
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Old 23-07-2023, 11:08   #6
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

I'm probably a bit older than you and have been sailing/boating for about 70 years, but do not have any grand children. I built my first dinghy a MIRROR ... red sails and all, having previously built my own kayak (fabric on stringers). I recommend you let your grandson do as much of the work as he can (and you will allow!) he will never forget it. Best of luck with the build.
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Old 23-07-2023, 11:21   #7
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

Opti? Surely they must be talking about the Optimist class?!

Yes, like Chanticleer my first boat was a Mirror Dinghy (winner of Daily Mirror contest), built as stitch and glue.

I even have a picture
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Old 23-07-2023, 14:43   #8
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

Great bonding movement. But build two, one for him and one for you, so you can both enjoy sailing together. Opti's aren't very physical and at our age, getting in and out at a dock is usually the most difficult thing. Check out the websites for Sailorman in Florida and Minney's in California. Parts and sails occasionally come available for them.
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Old 24-07-2023, 18:33   #9
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

Optis are not really big enough for adults. The weight of an adult lowers the freeboard enough to make capsizing or swamping much easier. We had a friend who built an Opti with his son. It was great for initial learning, but there were hurdles racing it because of the class measurement rules.
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Old 24-07-2023, 18:40   #10
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

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Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
Optis are not really big enough for adults. The weight of an adult lowers the freeboard enough to make capsizing or swamping much easier. We had a friend who built an Opti with his son. It was great for initial learning, but there were hurdles racing it because of the class measurement rules.

Grandpa wonít be sailing in the Opti, Iíll be out in the inflatable if he needs me. He sailed solo in sailing camp. He is a small 8 and I figure heíll fit into it until 14 to 16. Then he also has 2 younger sisters, so Iím hoping the boat will be well utilized for many years to come. A class boat is only needed for racing, itís being built to class specifications if the need ever arises.
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Old 24-07-2023, 20:28   #11
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

How about some pics as the build progresses for those of us whose sailing started at a young age in that type of boat. I have almost 70 years behind me, began with a plywood pram, a Clark Craft kit, when I was 6.
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Old 24-07-2023, 23:39   #12
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

Great idea, enjoy the project.

I'm interested in what kind of CNC router you have as I'd like to get one for my shop.
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Old 25-07-2023, 05:22   #13
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

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Originally Posted by keepondancin View Post
How about some pics as the build progresses for those of us whose sailing started at a young age in that type of boat. I have almost 70 years behind me, began with a plywood pram, a Clark Craft kit, when I was 6.
Day One; we routed out the hull frame 3/4" ply, cross members from 2 x 4, dado each member, and assembled the frame.
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Old 25-07-2023, 05:38   #14
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

Love the puzzle joints! I did something similar to use a 24"/60cm router to make templates for a 96" /2.44 meter boat.
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Old 25-07-2023, 08:07   #15
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Re: Building an Opti with my grandson

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Great idea, enjoy the project.

I'm interested in what kind of CNC router you have as I'd like to get one for my shop.
I'm an engineer and owned an electronics production business for 49 years. I designed my own CNC in early 2000, but my production requirement didn't allow me to take the time needed to build it. It was stuck in my head for 10+ years, after retirement and during Covid I built it. My shop doesn't have the room for a larger CNC. The bed size on mine is 32" (Y) x 44" (X) x 7" (Z), I can cut all the parts for the Opti except the floor, it's just too wide. I've got a friend who has a full sheet machine and he is going to cut the floor for me.
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