Industrial design student Tim Arbuckle wants more young people to get into the sport of sailing and he believes he may have the design to get nine to 15 year-olds messing about in boats.
The Auckland man has taken The Optimist, the small yacht novice sailors start on, and modified some of its core features to make the vessel more easily transportable and storable.
Mr Arbuckle’s prototype design called the Oppistack is part of Exposure, the annual exhibition of work by final year students from the College of Creative Arts, which opens at Massey University’s Wellington campus tonight.
At present most trailers used to carry the yacht can only transport a maximum of eight optimists per trailer by storing them sideways, he says.
By folding down some of the yachts key components such as its 2.1 metre mast and enabling the parts to sit down in the boat, Mr Arbuckle believes up to 24 Optimists can be stacked and stored on a trailer.
His design using a rotational mould of polyethylene for the hull would also make the vessel more robust too.
“I didn’t set out to change the optimist with this project but I wanted to enhance the experience.”
Growing up in the City of Sails Mr Arbuckle is no stranger to the sea, and his research, partly carried out at the West Bay Yacht Club, convinced him he would like to see the yachting as both a sport and recreational pursuit become more accessible to children and teenagers throughout the country.
Inspired by the Volvo Sailing School, which travels New Zealand for six months every year to give youngsters the opportunity to learn to sail, Mr Arbuckle researched how to overcome both the financial and physical limitations of the sport.
His design includes a colour coding system to make the yacht easy to assemble, the foldable parts easier to carry, and with the school, run by Yachting New Zealand, the potential means by which to share his design with as many boating enthusiasts as possible.
“There’s the opportunity to bring this sport to another 10,000 kids across the country.”