Why Comet?

ByPaul Hinde

Why Comet?

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Comet Design

The Comet is a small, light, singlehander dinghy that offers exciting and rewarding sailing. Whether you’re close racing with other Comets or simply sailing for fun, the Comet appeals to an amazing range of people, young or not so young.

In light winds the Comet has a reputation for being deceptively fast. The powerful sail set on an unstayed mast, combined with a light easily driven hull make the Comet a light wind flyer. As the wind picks up, the Comet really takes off, planing easily, but always staying manageable and under control.

The Comet’s two-piece mast and lightweight hull enable easy car topping. It is comfortable to sail with a deep cockpit floor and single self-bailer. Even after a capsize the small amount of water onboard soon drains out of the bailer.

To suit all tastes, the Comet can have rear or centre mainsheet. Although the Comet is a one-design built by the same builder for over forty years, the design has moved with the times and new rigs have been introduced over the years. These have been carefully developed to make the Comet more user-friendly and easier to sail without affecting its overall performance.

Comet Racing

Now a well established class of over 900, the Comet has big fleets at several clubs. The Class Association organises a three – day National Championships and a two – day Association Championships as well as twenty or so Open Meetings all round the country.

Comet sailors are well known to be friendly and welcoming to everyone new to racing. In recent years, with the introduction of the newer rigs, more women have discovered the joy of sailing Comets. Comets are renowned for being long-lasting and an older Comet can still be competitive and bought at a very affordable price and retain its value.

Comet Developments

In 1997 the original sail was joined by the Mino, a 5 sq m sail using a much shorter bottom mast, making it ideal for children.

2006 saw the option of the Xtra Rig. A smaller sail area than the standard sail, but made from a more efficient battened Mylar sail, with a zipper luff sleeve and halyard. This combination makes the Comet easier to sail for lightweights and beginners. Comets can now leave their masts up and use overboom covers making them quicker to launch and more user friendly.

In late 2017, the Mylar Xtra was superseded by the White Xtra, a slightly larger sail in conventional white Dacron. 2020 saw the final development, a reefing version of the White Xtra, where the sail can be reduced to a very manageable 5 sq m.

Conversion kits are available to shorten the original mast and boom to create the new rig. For those who prefer the original rig but want to leave the mast in, a standard sail with zipper luff sleeve and halyard is available. The most recent Comet development has been the trial of sidedeck jammers for centre mainsheet Comets.

Comet Quality

Although at first sight a relatively simple design, the Comets GRP hull construction, spars, sail and fittings are carefully designed, are of the highest quality and will give years of excellent service. All parts, sails, masts and conversion kits for various upgrades are readily available from the builder at great value-for-money prices.

Comet Dimensions

Length 11’ 4” 3.45m
Beam 4’ 6” 1.37m
Hull Weight 110 lbs 50 kg
Mast Height
Standard 19’ 10” 6.05m
Xtra 18’ 5.48m
Mino 16’ 10” 5.13m
Sail Area
Standard 70 sq ft 6.5 sq m
Mylar Xtra 65 sq ft 6.0 sq m
White Xtra 67.5 sq ft 6.25sq m
Mino 54 sq ft 5.0 sq m

 

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Paul Hinde administrator