Why One-Design Sailboats?
One-design boats are good designs, many of which have stood the test of time. Seaworthy can be the difference between life and death, or perhaps just fun and not so much. By requiring one-design sailboats as part of our boat requirements, we instill good seamanship as de riguer.
One-design fleet boats hold their value - significantly longer than custom boats. Why? Because there is an organization behind each boat. This is obvious when one looks at the value of boats. The Lightning class has in general been able to say "the price you buy your boat is nearly the price you can sell it for". That has been true for nearly 80 years. Many Lightnings at VLSC are more than 2 decades old, and yet still retain much of their owner's original purchase value.
You do not need to be a racer to enjoy this sustained value. However, racers are more apt to take care of their boat and keep it near maximum value.
Similar boats build camaraderie. Similar boats beget similar experiences that can be shared, whether racing or just sailing. It is easier to learn to launch, sail, retrieve, haul out, winter over, etc. These learned experiences can be taught and contribute greatly to overall enjoyment of sailing. Junior programs around the world understand this and use one-design classes to train their students.
There are over 150 recognized one-design classes in the U.S., with most being appropriate for sailing on Vancouver Lake. There is a choice on size, cost, crew size, competitiveness, excitement, stability, and pleasure.
Need a new rudder? Owning a one-design boat makes finding sails, rigging, and other replacement parts easier.
Many of the older classes were specifically designed for the hobby builder. Of these one-design boats, many have plans or kits available that are relatively easy (for the woodworker) to build.
Sailing one-designs does not mean stifled experimentation. There are many classes that are experimental where modifications can be radical. Even the more established classes evolve over time to keep the boats safe and fun to sail.
When you own and sail a one-design boat you are supporting the broader sailing community as well.