Racing Skiffs


Written by
Charles Kinsley

Courtesy Charles Kinsley

Racing skiffs were first used nearly a 100 years ago but it took some time for the concept of flat hulls and enormous sails to filter through to the average dinghy.

Thanks to big advances in the technology of boat construction and the introducing of mylar sails, the benefits of early planing and control off the wind with an asymmetric spinnaker have revolutionised modern dinghy sailing.

Thirty years ago when windsurfing first hit the scene, there was a mass exodus of young sailors to the new fast and exciting sport. Dinghy sailing reacted much as skiing did to snowboarding with the introduction of new classes of boat much lighter, faster and easier to handle than their forebears, with open transoms and requiring lightning reactions. These modern skiffs are now available to all sailors in various forms which vary from the extremes of the Musto Skiff (built for one person) to the more manageable teaching and fun sailing boats produced by a variety of manufacturers. The most famous of these boats is the 49er which is the most exciting of the ten Olympic sailing classes, and its younger sibling the 29er which is built for youth and women sailors.

The Fraglia Vela Malcesine sailing club has put Malcesine at the forefront of regatta venues in Europe.

Host to a round of the prestigious RC44 circuit, it also has a sailing school which teaches in these newer types of sailboats and is no longer dependant on the slow and heavy school boats of bygone years. At this certified school and others which are to be found in the Malcesine area, you can find fist class institutions with fully qualified instructors who can teach you in a variety of languages and introduce you to this fast and exhilarating sport either as a passenger with a qualified helmsman or as a student keen to learn how to handle one the these craft by yourself.

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