Avon Sailboats

Small boats.  Right parts.  Fine service.  Since 1968.


Optimist Dinghy Sailing at Pontiac Yacht Club, Michigan


  • Ease of Handling

    Most dinghies can be moved, rigged, launched, and sailed controllably, even by a child. Walker Bay dinghies even have a built in wheel on the keel so one person can move them easily on land.

  • Stability

    Tiny and light, dinghies are sensitive when you step into them, but their hull shape adds stability when you are positioned and underway. Walker Bay RIDs, however, with their inflatable sides, are very stable always.

  • Versatility

    Those that can be rowed, motored, or sailed, are often selected as a tender for a larger boat—because of their versatility. Some dinghies are designed just to be sailed and have a specific purpose and audience in mind: the Optimist for small children, the Super Snark for entry-level sailors.

  • Car-top ability

    Most dinghies can be car-topped. Ease depends on the weight and width of the dinghy, the size/type of the car, and the rack you are using. Sailing dinghies designed to carry 3 adults are rarely easily car-topped and often trailered.

  • Non-intimidating

    Dinghies are cute. Cute is not scary.

Keep in Mind

Dinghies are small and lightweight. Are you? Will you have enough leg and head room when sailing? Will you be content sitting on the narrow rail? If you are tall or heavy, you may have to sit on the floor. Will you be comfortable there?

When sailing a dinghy, how agile you are is also important. You'll need to respond fast—and with the right amount of weight shift. Too much weight moved in a wrong direction can cause a quick capsize.


When dinghies capsize, they fill with water and need to be bailed with a bucket or scoop. Attach one with a line to your boat.

Dinghies are great fun for kids, agile adults, and you, yes? young at heart.

What's a dinghy?


Dinghies are small, generally 8-12 feet, and have an open interior. You sit in dinghies, not on them, unless it's windy, then you sit up on their (usually narrow) side deck (rail) to sail them.

Many dinghies are multi-purpose: row, motor, or sail. Hulls can be rigid, inflatable, or a combination.

Sail Rig

Sailing dinghies have one upright pole (mast), a simple rig, and usually just one sail: lateen (Super Snark), gaff (Optimist), or Marconi (Walker Bay). Some dinghies are more sophisticated, with two sails (sloop rigged), or three (sloop with spinnaker).


All dinghies are best suited to small lakes and harbors.


Capacity varies: one child to several adults—depending on the dinghy.


Prices start under $1000.

Sail in Michigan?

Connect with southeast Michigan sailing clubs and fleets, find sailing lakes in nearby Metro Detroit counties or learn to sail, even if you don't yet own a boat.

Need something else?

  1. Super Snark

    only 50 pounds

    Simple, inexpensive, and the easiest to car-top. Suits children or adults. more

  2. Walker Bay 8 & 10

    small and light

    Versatile, affordable, and rugged throughout. Buy with or without sails. Well designed. Quality. more

  3. WB RIDs

    so versatile

    Walker Bay RIDs (Rigid Inflatable Dinghies) have inflatable "tubes" which surround their rigid dinghies adding enormous stability and more carrying capacity. more

  4. Optimist

    by LaserPerformace

    Perfectly sized for a child, so that he/she can learn to sail—and to race. Used at clubs throughout the world to hook kids on sailing. more

Copyright © 2008 Avon Sailboats • SMALL SAILBOATS & KAYAKS, METRO DETROIT, SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN • 1033 East Auburn, Rochester Hills • r8.9.10