When you get 50 kids in one spot on a hot summer day, you better have a great plan to keep them busy and smiling (50 whiners is not pretty…). One sure way, we have found, is to send them out on a fleet of O’pen Bics with a partner and make them do crazy things while under sail. It seems this technique keeps the junior sailors occupied with thoughts about how to best hot-shot the fleet and come up with the coolest trick or the best technique for some challenging “UnRegatta” sailing.
These kids are mostly experienced Opti sailors who are enjoying the thrill of sailing an open boat like the O’pen Bics. But some are newbies who seem less intimidated by the boat and by the “fun first” racing format that accompanies these boats around the world (Go ahead and google: ‘Unregatta‘). They ditched their bailers and their panic attacks and showed up in full force for the 2nd RI Intergalactic Championships hosted by Tiverton Yacht Club. The weather was perfection with a typical Rhody building southerly throughout the day, and the kids – all of them – rose to the occasion and had tons of fun on the race course and ashore.
The O’pen Bic is a perfect junior sailboat, with simple rigging, a planing hull with an open back that requires no bailing, some kind gunwales that are curved and padded for comfort when hiking and driving and a simple, single mainsail that is easily dumped in big breeze and puffs to keep the boat upright. But these kids don’t seem to mind capsizing. In fact, part of many of the O’pen Bic “UnRegattas” requires capsizing on the horn for FUN! Because of the design, the boat is simple to right and isn’t full of water when you glide back into the cockpit – because it’s open! Kids get fed up with working to right a boat that acts like a suction cup when inverted – and then more so when you must follow up your righting with lots of bailing.
The UnRegatta format is something the Bic fleets around the country have cornered and it’s catching on. O’pen Bic fleets are joining junior sailing programs and around our area in Narragansett Bay there are a bunch of fleets and there will even be a class starting line for them at NBYA Junior Race Week for the first time ever. (register here!)
We think this is a super formula for kids who want to love sailing. Or for the parents of kids who are pushing sailing on less competitive and maybe less aggressive junior sailors. With the fun factor cranked and the scoring non-existent (they know who won!), the O’pen Bic UnRegatta format seems to be a winner.
Jamestown Distributors and our brand of premium paints, adhesives and varnishes, TotalBoat, is an integral part of this growth, sponsoring the 2016 TotalBoat Summer Tour for the second year in a row. (Check out the video from last summer’s tour) The “stoke” is spreading and the kids are jumping into O’pen Bics for a chance to experience sailing that is thrilling & fast. Pick up a complete O’pen Bic from Jamestown Distributors (Check out our rigged boat set up in the Bristol store) and see why this little plastic boat is all the rage. You’ll want to take it for a spin, too – and because it’s bigger than your bathtub, adults up to about 200 pounds can rip around, too! Check one out! (We are also selling the Summer Tour boats at a great discount. If you’re interested, drop us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll get in touch!