From concept to production
The idea for the PIXEL as a new double-handed trainer “transition boat” between the Opti and Laser/Club 420 came from Wes Oliver in 2002 when he approached his neighbor, Bruce Kirby
to “fill the boat gap.” Mr. Kirby, noted small boat designer and creator of the Laser, Sonar and Ideal 18, created the PIXEL design in 2003. In late 2003, the two men were introduced to Flying Eagle Boat Co
. in China and in January, 2004, they visited the factory for the first time. Since then, they have been back several times. Flying Eagle is a well known builder of high tech world class rowing shells, and provided boats for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Their new factory includes more than 580,000 square feet and offers the latest in fiberglass and composite manufacturing technology.
The PIXEL was first sailed in October, 2004 and after extensive testing and a few minor modifications, production boats were delivered in June 2005. JSA of Long Island Sound boat testing took place through the summer of 2005, culminating in the selection of the PIXEL to be the double-handed trainer in JSA member programs from that point forward. The PIXEL design was finalized and production began for the 2006 sailing season.
Nearwater Boats was formed in May, 2004 by Wes Oliver, to develop, import and market the PIXEL. He has worked for three years to bring this high quality, innovative dinghy to fruition. Wes has sailed on Long Island Sound for many years, has been Junior Sailing program co-chair at Norwalk Yacht Club, continues to participate on the Junior Sailing Committee at Norwalk, and is the father of two active junior sailors in the Norwalk program.
He is a member of the New York Yacht Club, The Storm Trysail Club and the Norwalk Yacht Club. Wes has extensive big boat offshore racing experience and has served on the Race Committees for four America’s Cup matches, as Chairman of the New York Yacht Club Race Committee, the 1996 Olympics, and as PRO for numerous local and national events and junior regattas.
His 30 years of professional experience in worldwide production management have positioned him well for insuring the delivery of high quality PIXELS.