The 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.


Length 4.9 m
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

The Hull
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 Rig
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.
Performance Equalisation
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.