Dinghy Sailing

Ciaran Finnegan

Club dinghy racing takes place every Wednesday evening @ 7pm (starts May 31st) and Sat. Mornings @ 11am (starts June 10th).


Keeping in touch: Contact Ian Doolin to join the dingy sailors WhatsApp group 086-8136193 or Charlie Boland for the Flying Fifteen WhatsApp group 087-2224475


If you want thrills, speed and spills then dinghy sailing sailing is for you…be warned, you will get wet!

Dinghies are small open sailing boats which are great fun for day sailing, racing or just mucking about. They come in all shapes and sizes and are an inexpensive way to enjoy being on the water.

Popular dinghies at WHSC are;

  • Optimist’s ( Oppie’s) – Designed in 1947 by Clark Mills to offer low cost sailing for young people, it’s a classic. Imagine a 2.36 m (7 ft 9 in) bath tub with a sail. Perfect for younger kids learning how to sail. Wikipedia article.
  • Laser’s (one) – One of the most popular single-handed dinghies in the world. A 4.2 m (13 ft 9 in) ‘one design’ which is fun to sail and easy to transport. Wikipedia article.
  • Wayfarer – A 4.83 m (15 feet 10 in) long dinghy designed in 1957 by Ian Proctor and known for it’s stability and seaworthiness. A great boat to take the whole family. The club purchased two brand new Hartley wayfarers in 2016 for sail training and club rental. Wikipedia article
  • 420’s – So named because of it’s length, 4.2 meters ( 13 ft 9 in). A popular youth training and racing dinghy designed for a crew of 2. Wikipedia article
  • Flying 15’s – The Flying Fifteen is a 6.1 m (20-foot) two person keel boat and was designed by Uffa Fox in 1947. Wikipedia article
  • Topper Topaz – A low maintenance plastic hulled dinghy suitable for 1-2 sailor. A robust dinghy, perfect for learning to sail.
  • Topper Omega – A larger version of the Topaz suitable for group sailing. A robust dinghy, perfect for learning to sail.

What to Wear for Dinghy Sailing

We all like to look good but fashion comes second to water safety.  At sea exposure and fatigue set in quickly, wearing the right gear keeps you safe. These are meant as a rough guide only, what you wear will depend on conditions – talk to your instructor or more experienced club members if you are unsure.

  • Buoyancy aid – Never sail without it. Keeps you afloat when you fall in. It’s important to use a vest style buoyancy aid suitable for dinghy sailing which allows free movement of the arms.
  • Neoprene wetsuit – This is the lowest layer which insulates your body should you fall in. It should be 3 or 4mm and shorties are ok in warm weather.
  • Sailing smock / cag – A windproof and waterproof layer which keeps the wind chill down and lets splashes roll off.
  • Hiking shorts – These prevent the soft wetsuit material from abrasion.
  • Neoprene gloves – Stops rope burn and keeps the fingers warm. Fingerless gloves are ok in warm weather.
  • Neoprene sailing booties – Keeps toes and feet warm and protected, especially when hiking (leaning over the edge supported by toe straps).
  • Thermal top – A thermal top over the wetsuit is a good idea on colder days. Be sure to use one that’s not going to retain a lot of water if you capsize.
  • A beanie hat – For colder days a suitable hat. Be sure it’s suitable and keeps you warm even when wet.
  • UV protection – Beware ! The suns effect is magnified at sea.. Don’t forget sun glasses, a cap & sun cream.