Wheres the Otter gone?

Discussion forum for the Otter class of sailing dinghy

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Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:21 pm

Wheres the Otter gone?

Post by SeaSpray »

Hi all! I'll start by introducing myself. I'm Phil and I dwell in Oxford.

Now lets get down to business :)
I am an ex Otter sailor, if my memory serves me well, my boat was 503 (or there abouts!) I sailed her competitively at the local club and cruised as often as possible. In 1991/2 (not sure!) the Otter Nationals came to Oxford Sailng Club on Farmoor reservoir. We entered and won the Junior National Title :) (happy days).
We had a class association helmed by Dr Alan Cole and a healthy events calender.
Unfortunately due to imposing responsibilities and time restraints little Tarka the Otter was sold on :(
I have not sailed since. Even more :( !!

The point to all this rambling you ask?
What has happened to the Otter class?? Does anyone know when the poor little dinghies slipped into decline? and why? If it wasn't for this excellent forum they wouldn't exist on the internet at all!!

As you may be able to tell I was a BIG fan of the Otter.

These days I have children of my own. They have reached sailing age!!! I really wanted to source a little Otter and show them how to sail, race & hopefully win!! With no Nationals or indeed open meetings it would seem that will not be the case. Shame. The Otter is worth much more.

At a guess you've heard enough of my nosense for now so farewell Otter sailors and happy days afloat! :) Apologies for the writing but the written word has never been my strong point :)
Last edited by SeaSpray on Wed Nov 27, 2013 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:18 am

Re: Wheres the Otter gone?

Post by Otter915 »

Hi Phil,

Its good to hear from another Otter fan. I think the Otter dinghy like many similar ones suffered as a racing dinghy because it is seen as too slow and old fashioned compared to the more modern designs. To be fair as an out and out racing boat this is very true. However the Otter was never designed for speed alone, priority was given to comfort and stability and as a result it makes a great cruising dinghy that can be bought for next to nothing these days.

It seems you have to decide how important racing is going to be for you and the kids. If you are not bothered about racing or can put up with racing in one of the slowest boats in the fleet for club handicap racing then the Otter is still a great boat.

If you are after a general purpose boat that still has a decent one design racing fleet then perhaps a wayfarer or enterprise would better suit your needs (a mirror might be too small for more than one kid).

If you are just interested in racing then I would suggest one of the more modern designs, go to your local club and find out what is most popular there.

Regards James.

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Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:21 pm

Re: Wheres the Otter gone?

Post by SeaSpray »

Hi James,

Thanks for the reply. A few days of pondering and a trip up the club has made my mind up. Not only has the club still got a small Otter fleet, but my old Otter is still there 20years later! I intend to leave a note under the cover asking if there is a possibility of purchase :)
Fingers crossed! I love the idea of my kids sailing the actual boat I did :) I'm a soppy sod I know!!:)
If her current owners love her as I did though they might not want to sell her!
If this turns out to be the case then I think I will still source another Otter and take part in the handicap racing. They have Otters racing at 1275 crewed & 1250 single handed.
Perhaps a little Otter might put the wind up the usual fleet of Lasers & Supanovas!?

Happy Sailing, Phil :)
Last edited by SeaSpray on Wed Nov 27, 2013 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wheres the Otter gone?

Post by DeadeyeDick »

I have an Otter needing a new home.

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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:21 am

Re: Wheres the Otter gone?

Post by springer5 »

Hi folks

Regarding why the Otter 'faded away'. I'm no expert in this and I don't have any evidence but I seem to recall somewhere that they started to be used as school boats quite a bit which meant that there was a 'need' to overbuild them strength wise (double hull etc).
This made them expensive compared to similar dinghies which were used more as private only boats if that makes sense.
Consequently they just became too expensive. They are also very heavy (the double hull ones anyway), compared with say a Mirror which was cheaper and lighter making it easier to buy and car top.

I could be wrong about that, and it may not be the only reason, but I think it played a part.

In other words they were built TOO well. Not that I'm complaining about that.


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