Types of Boats
There are is a wide variety of small sailboats which suit any skill level and interest in the sport of sailing. The following sailboats are the most commonly used, however there are many more to choose from.
The Optimist is a small, single-handed sailing dinghy intended for use by children up to the age of 15. It is one of the most popular sailing dinghies in the world, with over 150,000 boats officially registered with the class and many more built but never registered.
The Optimist is recognized as an International Class by the International Sailing Federation.
The Laser Radial
The Laser Radial is generally sailed and raced by lighter weight sailors and is usually the choice of teens growing out of the Optimist and is the current single handed class for female Olympic sailors. The only difference between the Laser Standard and Laser Radial is the size of the sail and the length of the lower section of the mast. Everything else is the same and very tightly specified and controlled by the International Class Association to ensure competitive racing in identical boats. The sail itself is 62 square feet (5.8 m2), about 19% smaller than the full Laser Standard rig.
The Laser (or Laser Standard) is a popular one-design class of small sailing dinghy. The design, by Canadian Bruce Kirby, emphasizes simplicity and performance. The Laser is one of the most popular single-handed dinghies in the world. As of 2012, there are more than 200,000 boats worldwide and is the current single handed class for male Olympic sailors The Laser also provides very competitive racing due to the very tight class association controls which eliminate differences in hull, sails and equipment.
The International 420 Class Dinghy is a double-handed (2 crew) monohull planing dinghy with centreboard, bermuda rig and centre sheeting. The name describes the overall length of the boat in centimetres (the boat is exactly 4.2 metres long). The 420 is equipped with spinnaker and optional trapeze, making teamwork necessary to sail it well. It has a large sail-area-to-weight ratio, and is designed to plane easily. The 420 was designed specifically to be easier to handle than its larger higher-performance cousin, the 470 (Olympic Class).
The Club 420 dinghy is a derivative of the 420 that is popular in North America. It is a strongly enforced class boat which the basis for the Club 420 class which has hundreds of local events and championship events throughout North America. The boats are very similar in appearance but the club 420 is slightly stronger, heavier and less refined.Simple and safe for beginning sailors and yet challenging enough for collegiate champions, the C420 offers more learning opportunities than any other double-handed boat in North America. Over 7,000 Club 420s are sailed in youth programs all over the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
The 29er is a two-person high performance sailing skiff designed by Julian Bethwaite and first produced in 1998. It is targeted at youth, especially those training for the Canada Games and those who want to transition into the larger 49er. It has a single trapeze and a fractional asymmetric spinnaker. The 29er is exhilarating to sail and requires athleticism due to its lack of inherent stability and the high speed with which the fully battened mainsail and jib power up.
The 49er is a two-handed skiff-type high-performance sailing dinghy. The two crew work on different roles with the helm making many tactical decisions, as well as steering, and the crew doing most of the sail control. Both of the crew are equipped with their own trapeze and sailing is handled while "flying".
The boat was selected by the International Sailing Federation after a series of trials for a high performance two person skiff and has been in every Olympics since its debut in Sydney Olympics of 2000.
MOTOR YACHTS AND CRUISING SAILBOATS
Cruising Sailboats are fitted with a keel or ballast and are much more stable than their dinghy counterparts. Although the two employ very different modes of propulsion, motor yachts and cruising sailboats come in a variety of sizes with a broad range of amenities and tailor to those seeking adventure on the water with family and friends.
Generally, both motor yachts and cruising sailboats fit into the following categories:
Day cruiser yacht (no cabin, sparse amenities).
Weekender yacht (one or two basic cabins, basic galley appliances and plumbing).
Cruising yacht (sufficient amenities to allow for living aboard for extended periods).
Sport fishing yacht (yacht with living amenities and sport fishing equipment).
Luxury yacht (similar to the last three types of yachts, with more luxurious finishings/amenities).
SPORT KEEL BOATS AND RACING YACHTS
Sport Keel Boats and Racing Boats come in a variety of designs, however in Atlantic Canada, racing yachts are typically very similar to their cruising cousins with upgraded hardware, sails and a dedicated effort to reduce weight. Modern designs tend to have a very wide beam and a flat bottom aft, to provide buoyancy preventing an excessive heel angle and to promote surfing and planning.
Yacht races may be over a simple course of only a few miles, as in the harbour racing and long-distance, open-ocean races or epic trans-global contests.
Kitesurfing or kiteboarding is a surface water sport combining aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport.
A kitesurfer or kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water on a kiteboard similar to a wakeboard or a small surfboard, with or without foot-straps or bindings.
There are different styles of kiteboarding, including freestyle, freeride, downwinders, speed, course racing, wakestyle, jumping and wave-riding. In 2012, the number of kitesurfers has been estimated by the ISAF and IKA at 1.5 million persons worldwide.
Windsurfing is a surface water sport that combines elements of surfing and sailing. It consists of a board usually 2 to 3 metres long, powered by wind on a sail. The sail area generally ranges from 2.5 m2 to 12 m2 depending on the conditions, the skill of the sailor and the type of windsurfing being undertaken.
Windsurfing can be said to straddle both the laid-back culture of surf sports and the more rules-based environment of sailing. Although it might be considered a minimalistic version of a sailboat, windsurfing offers experiences that are outside the scope of other sailing craft designs. Windsurfers can perform jumps, inverted loops, spinning maneuvers, and other "freestyle" moves that cannot be matched by any sailboat.