X0 and X1 Dinghies - modern performance dinghies for rivers, estuaries and all inland waters


Are the X0 and X1 very complicated boats to sail - are they very technical?
How comfortable are they?
What crew weight can they take?
How tippy or 'hairy' are they?
How easy are they to right after a capsize, and is the centreboard easy to reach when the boat is on its side?
You say it’s self-draining: is that completely self-draining?
So the X0/X1 is an inland boat - does this mean it should never be sailed on the sea?
How easy will it be to maintain?
Most large boats are really heavy - how easy is it to move this one around the dinghy park?
How easy is it to depower when the wind picks up?
How much tweaking do I have to do on the rig?
What is the handicap of each boat?


Are the X0 and X1 very complicated boats to sail - are they very technical?

No, not at all.

They are one-design boats: to keep the cockpit clean and uncluttered there are a only a few lines to adjust. So you and your crew will be able to pick up everything you need to know about controlling the rig very quickly.

That’s not to say the boat won’t reward good sailors, though. With the modern square-top rig on a non-skiff type hull, this is a new type of boat. So it will take a lot of skill in terms of how best to play the sheets and adjust the kicker (or gnav) and cunningham to get the most out of it.

We have really enjoyed sailing the boats and have learned a lot, but there is undoubtedly more to discover by better sailors than us.

Yes, the boat has a spinnaker too - a symmetric one. Many people think these are harder to sail with than asymmetrics. We don’t think this is the case with the simple chute system. Once you have the spi pole up, you just pull one line to hoist the spinnaker. Pull another to drop it. It's really easy!

Symmetric spinnakers are also more versatile in restricted waters and much better for hugging the shore when you have to run against the current. Trimming them correctly is a fine art: something else to perfect!

How comfortable are they?

Very. They have large cockpits and high booms, which make them really easy to tack, with no scrambling around. And they are definitely sit-in boats rather than sit-on boats.

No trapeze – hiking only, with toe-straps firmly located right where you need them.

What crew weight can they take?

This is different for the two boats.

The X0 will suit a lighter or less experienced crew weight ranging from 20st (125kg) upwards, while the X1 will suit those more experienced, with a crew weight from around 24st (150kg) upwards. The upper limit on crew weight for racing purposes has yet to be defined properly, but the hull, which is the same for the X0 and X1, has a very substantial amount of buoyancy and has happily sailed during tests with a three person crew weighing over 38st (240kg).

How tippy or 'hairy' are they?

We think they are 'averagely' stable boats.

They were designed to be sailable by less experienced crews, with a hull shape that is not an ‘extreme’ minimum-wetted-area shape. This is deeper forward and flatter aft: you sit forward for the best performance in light airs; as the wind picks up you move your weight aft and the boat becomes more and more stable.

And one other thing we think really reduces tippiness and saves many capsizes: the super-light weight of the modern carbon mast.

How easy are they to right after a capsize, and is the centreboard easy to reach when the boat is on its side?

The X0/X1 has a narrower beam than many modern dinghies. This means that when capsized, the centreboard is close to the water, so crews can easily climb onto it.

The lightweight mast also means it is less of a struggle to right than boats with smaller but heavier rigs.

The open transom not only makes the boats drain faster, it's also the best place to climb back aboard!

You say it’s self-draining: is that completely self-draining?

Yes – it has a double-bottom (slightly higher than water level) and a completely open transom so it drains dry, with no puddles left in the cockpit.

During the 18 months sailing the boat we’ve capsized many times, and recovery is always quick and easy. Even with the spinnaker up, the chute and single-line drop minimises the hassle and post-capsize 'admin'.

So the X0/X1 is an inland boat – does this mean it should never be sailed on the sea?

No, the X0/X1 is robust and easy to manage so it is absolutely fine on the sea, even in quite windy conditions.

Being made of epoxy the hull is incredibly strong, and the double-skin construction gives it plenty of buoyancy. And even if you ship a wave over the bow, the water simply washes straight through the cockpit and right out the back. We have tried this at Salcombe.

However, the hull shape is not optimised for sea sailing; and there is less need for the square-top mainsail on the sea, where windspeeds are normally higher.

So while it is perfectly fine to sail on the open sea now and again, if this is your main activity we would suggest there are plenty of other boats that are more suitable for you.

How easy will it be to maintain?

It will be very low maintenance, being made in epoxy and with a very high standard of fittings.

Most large boats are really heavy – how easy is it to move this one around the dinghy park?

Many people will be used to 15 or 16ft boats being very heavy, partly on account of  ‘minimum weight’ rules that were set at a time when boats were constructed out of wood.

The X0/X1's modern epoxy sandwich construction and carbon mast and boom, and the aluminium trolley means it's surprisingly light to move around on land.

How easy is it to depower the boat when the wind picks up?

Modern carbon masts are incredibly good at depowering by flexing - automatically responding to gusts as they hit. This effect is amplified when using square top mainsails. And the cunningham, the traditional 'depowering control', is highly effective on carbon rigs. If the wind really picks up take a third person along with you - there's plenty of space!

How much tweaking do I have to do on the rig?

Not much. The boat is a one-design, so you have the assurance that you have exactly the same boat, the same equipment as everyone else out there. There are few adjustments to make to the rig – the main one is to rake the mast back slightly to depower in stronger winds and you do this by dropping the shrouds to lower holes on the deck fittings. So it's not a big deal at all.

What is the handicap?

We are very wary of answering this question at such an early stage, and a facetious first response would be 'we don't know and we don’t care'.

What we mean by this is that the whole POINT of this boat, above everything else, is that it is a real joy to sail on the waters that it was designed for… and that has nothing to do with handicaps.

However, handicap racing is an important part of life at many sailing clubs: so in due course the boat will find itself a settled 'yardstick number'.

The RYA Portsmouth Yardstick (PY) handicap is designed to:

  • be an average number, applicable across all types of waters and all wind strengths, which is published nationally
  • be adjusted by individual clubs according to what they feel their particular conditions require (although many clubs don’t do this)
  • allow personal handicaps within a one-design fleet

The most significant local adjustment to national handicap numbers is likely to be made where tidal flows are present - faster boats tend to do proportionally much better in these conditions. Some other venues that are particularly windy also find this occurs.

We’re grateful to the good people at Queen Mary SC - who must have one of the larger club databases in the UK - for helping process a few numbers for the X1 across upwards of 12 races there, which has resulted in:

  • Design prediction - 970 moving to possibly 950 on tide.
  • Experience to date, possibly 960 moving to 940 on tide.
  • Our present QM handicap quite fairly deducts 10 as a new / unknown class.

The X0 handicap is yet to be determined.

But in the end it's up to the results of those sailing the boat, together with the RYA, to determine the exact number and we’re sure a fair handicap will be achieved for each boat.



Please do let us know if you have any further questions.


Manufacturers: Ovington, Selden, Harken, Hyde Sails, Spinlock