Just when we thought all prayers for a chic and functional nesting dinghy were answered with the kit of the adorable PT 11 by Port Townsend Watercraft , here come the French with their interpretation of the theme: The Reverso Air performance sailing dinghy. While traditional nesting dinghies come in two halves that, well, nest inside each other for compact storage, the 163-pound Reverso Air requires more assembly, with four parts that can be stacked on top of each other. The whole boat can be put together by two people in less than two minutes.
It is a singlehanded performance boat with a four-part carbon mast that is 16′ 5″ long and spreads a 64.5 ft2 (6 square meter) fathead mainsail, which hints at a lively character. But the thinking goes beyond sailing bliss and aims to improve portability and storability of a rigid-hulled sailboat.
For transport, neither roof rack nor road trailer are required. “It fits into the trunk of a car, it can be hauled by convertible and it is entirely possible to load it onto a bicycle trailer”, says US-importer Alex Caslow, whose company, Red Beard Sailing, specializes in small sailing, rowing and paddle craft. Provided the premises accommodate a stack of fiberglass parts that measures 3′ x 4’9″ x 2’5″ “(0.91 m x 1.45 m x 0.73 m), this boat could, at least in theory, be stored under a coffee table, in a closet, on the balcony, or in the basement of a small urban apartment. Alternatively, it could find a spot on deck or in the lazarette of cruising or charter yachts, which is part of the concept’s original intent.
Designer and CEO of the Reverso Project, Antoine Simon, has a sailing background and experience as a pilot. “With the Reverso Project, I had the vision of a compact, stylish and agile sailboat that can fit anywhere and removes all the hassle that surrounds sailing and stops people from buying a boat,” he was quoted in a superyacht magazine. Simon also envisions the Reverso Air as an accessory for luxury yachts that want to offer their charter guests a dinghy to or have fun.
The boat can carry up to two adults or one adult and two children. The hull segments are built from two fiberglass skins with carbon reinforcements. A layer of air is trapped in between, obviating the need for a foam core. “Sandwich laminate would have been too heavy,” explains Caslow. The largest section weighs about 33 pounds, so it is light enough to be carried by one person without strain.
The Reverso Air’s four elements are fastened to each other with stainless-steel clasps on deck and while they are also tied together by two longitudinal straps that run on both sides of the daggerboard trunk and are tightened by a purchase system, so the hull stays rigid and resists flex and torsion when thrashing upwind through a chop. How much tension does it require? Mon dieu, that must stay secret, to ward off copycats. “Enough to lift a small car,” chuckles Caslow.
The flotation tanks are sealed and have inspection ports and vent holes. Caslow mentions redundancies that are built in for safety, i.e. the two tightening straps and the positive buoyancy. The boat can lose two sections and it still will float and sail”, he says.
In the US, the Reverso Air is listed at USD 10,900, which includes the sail and a dedicated spot to mount the Velocitek Speedpuck GPS. Customers can add bags for the kit and a beach dolly. In the future, an optional a motor mount for a small electric outboard could add utility as a tender.
Specifications / measurements
Loa: 11′ 2″(3.40 m)
Beam: 4′ 9″ (1.45 m)
Weight: 163 lbs. (74 kg)
Mast height: 16′ 5″ (5 m)
Sail area: 64.5 sq. ft. (6 sqm)
Load capacity: 400 lbs. (181 kg)
Max occupancy: 2 adults or 1 adult and 2 kids
Hull material: Fiberglass / polyester composite with carbon reinforcements
Construction method hull: Vacuum infusion
Packing dimensions: 3′ x 4′ 9″ x 2′ 5″(.91 m x 1.45 m x 0.73 m
Price: USD 10.900