Hull Weight: 50kg
Created by Bruce Farr in 1970, this one-design class is still New Zealand's ultimate one-person sailing dinghy. Most sailing dinghies require you to put your backside on the side of the boat, hook your toes under straps, then lean out with great effort to counter the effect of wind on the sail. This is hard work, and may not be very good for you. Better by far to use a trapeze: you wear a harness and hook your waist onto a wire from up the mast. You then put your feet against the side of the boat and lie suspended out over the water. Once the wind is strong enough there is no strain and you can actually lie back and relax while all those people using hiking straps are straining their guts out. Even better, the 3.7 sailor has twice their leverage so can balance more force in the sails. More force translates to more speed and more speed to wider grins. That is why the light and speedy 3.7 maintains its national status and popularity (but we do need more local sailors). Some skill is required and the learning curve does involve spectacular wipe-outs and swims. But isn't that what fun-seeking sailors look for: a decent challenge?
Ode to a 3.7
If you want to go to heaven,
Sail there in a three-point-seven.
Those daring young men with their sailing trapeze,
They fly o'er the lake with the greatest of ease.
And when the wind blows, their boat really trucks.
And when it just stops, they swim with the ducks.
The closest thing on earth to heaven
Is my lovely three-point-seven.
Of course, it's so terrific.
It makes a Zephyr look Neolithic.
When I was young and in my prime
I won the races all the time.
Now I'm old and going grey...
I blame the Officer of the Day!