|Designer||C. Lowndes Johnson|
|Construction||Plywood, modern boats in Fiberglass|
|Hull weight||256 pounds (116 kg)|
|LOH||16 feet (4.9 m)|
|Mast length||20 feet 5 inches (6.22 m)|
|Upwind sail area||140 square feet (13 m2)|
The Comet dinghy is a 16-foot-long (4.9 m), two-person, one-design class, racing sloop.
With 140 sq ft (13 m2). of sail and a minimal keel-rocker hull, the Comet is able to plane in modest 10-15 knot winds. The mast is 20 ft 5 in (6.22 m) tall and is supported by a conventional three-stay rig with spreaders. (As the class rules are flexible in this regard, some Comets have been configured with 8-stay, Star (sailboat) rigs.) From 1932 through the 1960s, the Comet minimum hull weight was specified as 300 lb (140 kg). Since then, the minimum weight has been lowered to 265 lb (120 kg). with the incorporation of an aluminum centerboard, which replaced the former bronze board. Also, since the 1960s, the Comet has been built in fiberglass along with its original wood construction.
The Comet Class Association is the organizing body responsible for maintaining the one-design specifications and sanctioning of regattas.
The Comet originated in 1932 when Mr. C. Lowndes Johnson was commissioned by Mrs. Elliot Wheeler to design a boat for her sons. Johnson was a former Star class keel boat champion, and he designed the Comet to have many of the same features and characteristics of the Star. However, unlike the Star, Johnson created a racing yacht that was much less costly to build and could be easily sailed in the shallow tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Like the Star, the Comet was a hard chine sloop with a relatively large main sail compared to its jib.
Originally called the "Crab," the design was first introduced to the public in the March issue of "Yachting Magazine" in 1932. The following year it made an appearance at the New York Boat Show as the "Star Junior." Soon thereafter, John ("Doc") Eiman, Erik Jansson, and Wilbur H. Haines, Jr. started the first Comet fleet at the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor in Stone Harbor, NJ. It was at this time that the moniker "Star Junior" was dropped and replaced with the name "Comet."
Despite being a One Design, the Comet has seen many variations of the past 70 years, in regards to construction, hull shape, and cockpit layout.
"Do not confuse the Johnson-designed Comet with the single-handed dinghy of the same name often seen in UK waters." Class association for single handed comet is http://www.cometsailing.org.uk