The Flying Dutchman has been the basis for many important innovations in sailing over the past half century, including a roller furling genoa, windward sheeting traveler, spinnaker chute, spinnaker pole launchers and composite construction. The boat was the first design to make use of a trapeze gear, a feature commonly found today on high performance dinghies and catamarans.
These innovations developed because the Flying Dutchman was left as an "open" one-design class, where innovation and development in the boat is allowed and encouraged. Parameters that influence the speed of the boat directly, including hull shape, weight and sail area are strictly controlled, but other areas can be adapted to suit.
Jean Doering is volunteer publicist for Willow Bank Yacht Club.