49er is a new generation high performance skiff racing
boat capable for speeds over 30 knots. It originates from
the Australian 18-foot skiffs and was designed by 4 times
18-footer world champion, Julian Bethwaite. The 49er has
a crew weight equalisation system, which makes it suitable
for wide ranges of crew weight. The boat was a new Olympic
class in Sydney 2000.
Width 2.9 m
Weight 125 kg
Sail-Area 59 m2
Mainsail 15 m2
Jib 6 m2
Gennaker 38 m2
Crew weight 130-190 kg
Designed by skiff legend Julian Bethwaite, the 49er smoothly
accelerates onto the plane and the speed just keeps on
rising. The most remarkable feature of the 49er at first
sight is its solid wings which make the boat safe and
a joy to sail. Running from wing to wing is easy helping
newcomers quickly climb the "skiff learning curve".
Trapezing from these wide wings, the crew members generate
a massive righting moment to control the power from the
huge sail area, and continue accelerating the boat.
The enormous sail area means that the 49er is fully powered
up in about 8 knots of breeze. The flexible composite
top mast gives effective gust response above this wind
speed, making control of such a large rig possible. The
high boom means there is plenty of room to move around
the boat, whilst a self-tacking jib frees the crew, who
is concentrating on playing the mainsail upwind and the
asymmetric spinnaker downwind. The short foot on the spinnaker
and radical new style of cut means the sheet loads are
kept to a minimum, allowing many shapes and sizes of crews
to sail the boat effectively.
True skiffs are by their nature less sensitive to crew
weight than slower, heavier boats. The 49er has a simple
four stage weight and leverage (through adjustment of
wing width) compensation system to allow the widest possible
range of competitive sailors' weights.