Adventures getting a old wooden racing dinghy into competitive condition (edition 2)

Nick Lightbody
11 min readMay 14, 2021

A brand new wooden Scorpion №2048 Liquid Spirit built by Duffin/Paintcraft.

This is what we would be up against. But all is not lost, old wooden racing dinghies, dry stored, offer fantastic value and potentially a competitive sail. Here’s why…

Engineering in wood

Wood is a fantastic engineering material — provided it’s moisture content is controlled to remain at a low level.

Aluminium Spars

Aluminium spars are long lived — provided electrolytic corrosion generally between stainless steel and aluminium aided by salt and water is avoided.

Polyester & nylon sails

Sails whether constructed of resin stabilised fibre or mesh reinforced film are exceptionally long lived, virtually impervious to moisture, vulnerable only to rodent teeth.

Amazing wooden racing dinghies

Many younger sailors today may never have had the pleasure of sailing and racing a wooden boat whilst their declining popularity in the face of waves of plastic boats means that online boat sale sites enable those who know their wooden boats to buy the most amazing bargains.

This is driven in part we suspect by the idea of plastic boats being convenient & maintenance free. In today’s more sustainably aware world perhaps wooden boats will make a comeback since a couple of afternoons varnishing each year isn’t such big deal is it, really?

Wooden boats of championship winning quality can be bought today in 2021 for very modest prices. Racing dinghies built by hand by craftsmen such as Laurie Smart, Jon Turner, Spud Rowsell, Dave Ovington and others in the U.K. have a character and a unique quality which is hard to find elsewhere in a market saturated by boats popped out of moulds.

Epoxy resin & wood

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Nick Lightbody

A British former lawyer designing sustainable micro responsive web sites because “less is better”.