January 2, 2006

The Pixel's Place: The Pixel is a Pistol

By from SailMagazine.com

THE TIME HAS COME FOR a change on Long Island Sound. For decades the Blue Jay, a hard-chinned double-handed junior trainer, has served as a bridge boat to the performance-oriented 420. A Jay teaches kids how to fly a spinnaker, sail with others, and race around the buoys. But its design - Sparkman & Stephens, circa 1947 - is dated. For kids, this isn't cool. Along came the Pixel, the latest creation from designer Bruce Kirby of Laser fame. The Pixel was targeted as a replacement for the Blue Jay. The Junior Sailing Association of Long Island was looking for a boat with Blue Jay-like stability and a lot more performance. Weighing in ay 185 pounds, the 14-foot Pixel has an open transom (self-bailing), a carbon-fiber mast, and a symmetric spinnaker. Kirby could have gone with an asymmetric chute, but the JSA prefers a symmetric for training purposes. The boat is built by Flying Eagle Boatworks outside of Shanghai, China. Money talked on this decision. It was the only affordable way to build an epoxy hull and 7-pound carbon spar to sell for $5,995, roughly $1000 less than the Blue Jay. When he designed the Pixel, Kirby had in mind two 120-pounders on board. probably coming out of an Optimist dinghy. The official decision to replace the Jay with the Pixel was made by JSA in late October. Now, Kirby says, "the lid is off".

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