The P Class yacht

Trent Rippey 2010

Most of New Zealands best sailors learned in a P Class.  Peter Blake, Russell Coutts, Dean Barker, Chris Dickson, Craig Monk, Leslie Egnot, Barbara and Bruce Kendall, Aaron MacIntosh, Jo Aleh, Peter Burling; too many to mention.

The P Class was designed in New Zealand in 1924 and is still chosen as a trainer by New Zealand’s best young sailors.  This is what Russell Coutts said in his book, Course to Victory, about the P Class:

My first boat was a P Class; an amazing little craft.  It is seven feet long and usually home built out of plywood.  It has one sail, a short mast, a low aspect sail plan and it has the mast stepped well forward.  The cockpit has no self draining system and you have to bail the water out continuously when sailing in strong winds.  They are much more demanding boats to sail than an Optimist or Sabot and they are one of the most difficult boats to sail downwind in strong winds because they frequently nose-dive.  It’s such a complicated boat in terms of balance, sail shapes, and tuning that there’s no doubt that if you can master it you can sail almost any boat.  It’s a great training boat because it’s difficult to sail correctly, especially in windy conditions.