29erBy Steve Killing

“The 29er will be to sailing what snowboarding was to skiing", says the boat's co-developer Ian Bruce. He and others, who have already tasted the 29er's performance, enjoy the rebel-yell style of this boat. With its almost non-existent stability at the dock and its 20-knot sailing speeds, it is not for the sedentary sailor; athletic types looking for an adrenaline-rush will absolutely love it.

Why design a boat for this specific group of sailors? Well, for Julian Bethwaite backed by his father Frank, English designer Dave Ovington, Japanese designer Takao Otani, and Canadian details-man Ian Bruce, it 's quite simple. The 49er, the high performance big cousin of the 29er, was recently granted Olympic status for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. That decision was immediately followed by the question: "How are young sailors going to train for this boat?" The 49er is too complex a boat for smaller novice sailors to jump into, and the untrapezed Laser and comparably low-powered Laser II are inappropriate training vessels. The 29er, however, bridges the gap perfectly and its creators are not bashful about claiming that it is a boat for those with big dreams and above average skill levels.

The hull shape of the 29er is nothing like the common fare at the local launching ramp. As you move aft, the narrow rounded sections in the bow end flatten out to gently curved sections. Chines develop about halfway along the length of the hull to give the water a natural point to break clean when the boat planes - and it will spend a lot of time planing. The interior is clean, smooth and contoured.

The 29er had the luxury of an ideal development schedule - two years of drawing, prototyping and testing, with significant changes along the way. Between the first and fifth prototype, the floor height of the self draining cockpit was raised to keep the boat drier, the hull was extended in length and slightly in width aft to increase the weight capacity, and the rig was reduced in size for manageability by smaller crews. Initially the larger rig was designed to keep the speed in the supersonic region, but it put the boat out of the range for the youth sailors it was intended to serve, so the area of the sail plan was reduced.

29er - designSurprisingly, the smaller rig turned out to be faster. It just doesn't sound logical, does it? I have seen this happen before. It 's understandable that the smaller rig is faster in heavy air when one wants a more controllable, less powerful sail. But how could it be faster in light to medium air? Well no one is quite sure, but I recall that in the days of 12-metre America's Cup boats that the spinnaker size was unlimited -as long as you could hoist it up and fly it from the pole it was legal. The temptation was to go very large, but racers soon discovered that the fastest spinnakers were not the largest sails. The suspicion was that the larger sail did not present as efficient a sail shape. 1t was also heavier physically and therefore did not lift as well in light air. Something of the same phenomenon may be happening with the already large asymmetrical sail on the front of the 29er. There’s a limit to what will fly well, be controllable and fit between the end of the sprit and the hoist on the mast.

Early boats for North America were either built in England or Australia, but new tooling is now being prepared for production in Montreal. Bruce's shop, which also builds the popular Byte, will pump our four boats per week to the tightly controlled class specs. Those specifications keep the hull construction material to fibreglass cloth (no carbon fibre or Kevlar) with polyester resin, for easy repairs at the sailing club. Watch for these spectacular little boats and future Olympians to go screaming by the docks of a high-performance sailing club near you.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s Summer 1999 issue.

Specifications:
Length 14.6'
Beam 5.8'
Weight (unrigged) 155 lb.
Rigged 185 lb.
Sail Area (jib and main) 135 sq. ft.

Related Articles
Profiles
  • 12 September 2018
  • By Ethan

Bruce Kirby given Order of Canada

On Thursday last week, at age 88, Bruce Kirby has been invested into the Order of Canada for his contributions to the sport. Besides representing Canada three times at the Olympics, Kirby's biggest...

Destinations

  • Prev
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.

An Abacos Adventure

Great Guana CayBy Mark Stevens; Photos by Sharon Matthew-Stevens

It’s a perfect Sunday morning jaunt.

We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set for a close reach out of a harbour guarded by a necklace of tiny emerald islands decorated by palms that dance in fifteen knots of wind.

Our boat, “Tropical Escape II” (perfect name for both the boat and our adventure), is a 44-foot Robertson and Caine catamaran, chartered from Sunsail’s Marsh Harbour base on Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island.

Read More about An Abacos Adventure...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Our Photos of the week this time come from BC where our friend Rob Stokes sent us a very nice ...
Back to the days when most sailors made their boats in their garages, backyards, or basements, ...
Our little treasure: Montague (Monte) taken at Pirate's Cove in the Gulf Islands. Monte is a ...
It has been a long, hot summer here on Georgian Bay and we miss Adamant 1 terribly. We did manage ...
On Thursday last week, at age 88, Bruce Kirby has been invested into the Order of Canada for his ...
The Olympic Qualification Regatta is now being held in Aarhus Denmark with unlimited entries. That ...
The demographics of sailing are changing, and more women are getting involved and are often rooted ...
Whether he’s sailing celebrities around the BVI’s or sailing an Etchell back home at his native ...
POTW input is irresistible, so this time you get a couple. And don’t forget to send your own Photo ...
After a good night’s sleep, it was a lot easier to work my way through checking into the US. I ...

Hanse 388

Hanse 388By Katherine Stone

The Hanse group produced their second most popular boat of all time with the Hanse 385. The trick was to build on that winning formula when they upgraded to the Hanse 388, which they have done in spades. The German build quality is first rate and true to the Hanse tradition. Leaving the hull the same with a steep stern and straight stem for an optimal long water line, they went with a slightly stiffer, heavier displacement, new deck, interior layout and window line. Hanse’s highly experienced yacht construction team, judel/vrolijk & co., have combined ease of sailing, comfort and performance into the newly designed Hanse 388.

Read more about the Hanse 388...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 
This one-day course consists of both theory and practical demonstration sessions, is designed to ...
 Since the initial article of this column we have identified a wide range of apps and ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...
Ga-Oh (spirit of the winds in Algonquin) creates bags and other items from re-purposed sails.