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Northern Light Composites’ ecoOptimist

- World’s First Sustainable and Fully Recyclable Optimist Launched

Press release from Clean Sailors – 

Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors team up to launch the world’s first sustainable and recyclable Optimist for young sailors and sailing schools, globally, supported by OneSails and Swiss clean-tech company, Bcomp.

© FOUCHA-MUYARD
The ecoOptimist at JEC World 2022 in Paris - Credit: FOUCHA-MUYARD

The ecoOptimist dinghy is the first fully recyclable sailing boat of the Optimist class in the world with already more than 90% of the hull being recyclable today. It, has been designed and built by Northern Light Composites in Monfalcone, Italy, who have teamed up with Clean Sailors to launch the ecoOptimist for young sailors.  A huge number of sailors around the world have their first experiences on the water in an Optimist dinghy – it represents the single largest sailing class on the planet, and is the single most-widely used boat, globally.

“The Optimist is renowned across the world for being the primary boat so many of us have our first experience of sailing in, myself included. It’s the single largest class on our planet,  sailed by our youngest and the next generations of our global sailing community. Much of the current, global Optimist class are imported plastic hulls which enter landfill at end of life,” explains Holly Manvell, founder of Clean Sailors. “It’s therefore super important to consider and develop how we produce this boat, and how we introduce our future sailors to a better way of sailing, at comparable cost – something that Northern Light Composites have managed to achieve.”

The materials for the hull of the ecoOptimist were carefully selected and tested to make sure that they delivered the same high performance as conventionally built boats in the Optimist class, but in a pack- age that is significantly more sustainable. The ecoOptimist is not only built from sustainable materials but also recyclable once it is no longer fit to carry young sailors – more than 90% of the hull are already recyclable today and soon it should be 100%. The ampliTex™ natural fibre reinforcements, Atlas HPE core and resin can then be reused to produce new components. Compared to conventional glass fibres, flax fibres reduce the CO2 footprint of the composite from cradle to gate and don’t rely on fossil resources for the production of the raw material. Instead, they sequester CO2 from the atmosphere during their growth and act as a natural CO2 sink during their entire lifetime.

© Clean Sailors
Holly Manvell, founder and Skipper of Clean Sailors, and Fabio Bignolini, Chief Operations Officer of Northern Light Composites - Credit: nlcomp

“Many of us sailors started with the Optimist and it is really exciting for us to launch this project for a new generation of recyclable boats,” says Fabio Bignolini, co-founder and COO of Northern Light Composites. “I believe that starting with young sailors is the way to change the marine industry’s perception about our new technology and what is possible for the future of better boatbuilding. We are super proud to launch our ecoOptimist  with Clean Sailors and a partner like Onesails,  both who share our same sensitivity for the end-of-life problem. We can’t wait to tour Europe over the coming months and talk about new materials and technologies with the industry and young sailors, alike.”

Each ecoOptimist also features a sail by the renowned sailmaker OneSails, the primary producer of winning Optimist sails worldwide and the only sailmakers to date achieving a performing, strong and durable ISO certified sustainable and recyclable sail fabric, produced in a low carbon footprint manufacturing process, making them the leading sailmaker also in sustainable practices. OneSails is a proud partner of the ecoOptimist project.

 

The ecoOptimist launch will focus on sailing clubs to ensure as many young sailors as possible get the chance to experience the new sailboat.

 

A competition will be launched in June 2022 to give sailing clubs around the world the chance to own one of the first ten ecoOptimists ever produced. The ten boats will be built over the course of 2022 and ready for the opening of the 2023 sailing season by March 2023.

 

Winning sailing clubs will provide a 500 EUR deposit ahead of build. The total cost of the ecoOptimist is comparable with other composite Optimists at EUR 4000.

Paolo Dassi, Marine and Industry Manager at Bcomp, commented: “Train ‘em young! This could be the motto for  Northern Light Composites’ ecoOptimist project, which Bcomp is an instrumental partner of. Our advanced ampliTex™ flax fabrics are used throughout the hull laminates, matching the performance and weight of traditional glass laminates, but with much more attractive end-of-life options and environmental properties. It is great to see that sustainability and our planet’s health are starting to become major priorities in the selection of boatbuilding materials. Passing on this sustainable mindset already to young sailors is definitely the way to go.”

About Northern Light Composites

 Northern Light Composites is an innovative startup that deals with the research and development of recyclable composites in order to solve the problems related to the end of life of fibreglass composites. The company was founded in December 2019 by three passionate sailors and started working on the research and development of rComposite, the world’s first recyclable composite solution for the marine industry.

 

More information: www.northernlightcomposites.com

About Clean Sailors

Clean Sailors is a not-for-profit, mobilising the global sailing community in conservation of our oceans. Launched in July 2020, Clean Sailors’ mission is to set a new standard of sailing within our global sailing community: clean sailing, by raising awareness of ocean conservation opportunities within our sport, our passion, our pastime.

 

More information: www.cleansailors.com

 

Full press release from Clean Sailors 

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