49er (dinghy)

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Current specifications
49er skiff.svg
49er black.svg
Class symbol
Crew 2 (double trapeze)
LOA 4,876 mm (16 ft)
Beam without wings:
1,752 mm (5 ft 9 in)
with wings:
2,743 mm (9 ft 0 in)
Draft 1,447 mm (4 ft 9 in)
Hull weight 74.25 kg (163.7 lb)
Main & jib area 19.97 m2 (215 sq ft)
Spinnaker area 37.16 m2 (400 sq ft)
D-PN 68.2[1]
RYA PN 740[2]
Olympic class

The 49er and 49er FX is a two-handed skiff-type high-performance sailing dinghy. The two crew work on different roles with the helm making many tactical decisions, as well as steering, and the crew doing most of the sail control. Both of the crew are equipped with their own trapeze and sailing is handled while "flying".

The 49er was designed by Julian Bethwaite, the son of Frank Bethwaite, designer of the Tasar and the popular Laser 2 classes. The boat was selected by the International Sailing Federation after a series of trials for a high performance two person skiff and has been in every olympics since its debut in Sydney Olympics of 2000.


The 49er's name comes from its hull length of 4.99 metres. It incorporates ideas developed in Julian Bethwaite's 18ft Skiffs, notably the Prime Computer series of boats, which were double handers.

For a controllable and fast gust response, the mast was carefully tuned to deflect from the top downwards with an increase in wind speed, causing the upper main to twist, reducing the heeling moment. The use of solid wings, rather than tubes as on similar boats (RS800 etc.), aids sailors new to the world of skiff racing while facilitating rapid movement across the 49er during maneuvers.

49er skiffs in a race
49ers at the Extreme Sailing Series in Boston harbor preparing to race, 4th of July, 2011

The 49er made its first Olympic appearance at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and has continued to grow in popularity ever since.

With a Portsmouth yardstick Handicap of 740 the 49er is the fastest two person one-design monohull dinghy.

In 2009 the boat received a new rig design, including a larger fully carbon mast (replacing the aluminum mast) and square top (roach) mainsail.[3]


Year Gold Silver Bronze
2000 Sydney
 Finland (FIN)
Thomas Johanson
Jyrki Järvi
 Great Britain (GBR)
Ian Barker
Simon Hiscocks
 United States (USA)
Jonathan McKee
Charlie McKee
2004 Athens
 Spain (ESP)
Iker Martínez
Xabier Fernández
 Ukraine (UKR)
Rodion Luka
George Leonchuk
 Great Britain (GBR)
Chris Draper
Simon Hiscocks
2008 Beijing
 Denmark (DEN)
Jonas Warrer
Martin Kirketerp
 Spain (ESP)
Iker Martínez de Lizarduy
Xabier Fernández
 Germany (GER)
Jan-Peter Peckolt
Hannes Peckolt
2012 London
 Australia (AUS)
Nathan Outteridge
Iain Jensen
 New Zealand (NZL)
Peter Burling
Blair Tuke
 Denmark (DEN)
Allan Nørregaard
Peter Lang


World Championships[edit]

Further information: 49er World Championships

Related Boats[edit]

The 49er FX. Mackay Boats developed the new FX rig for the 49er. Starting with the 49er hull, wings, and foils, the goal was all about designing a rig that would go straight into the existing 49er boats and provide the correct amount of power for the lighter crew target weight specified by ISAF. The boat will be used for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil (women's class). The class has been popular for all women's teams who are lighter in body weight.

The 29er is a smaller, single trapeze trainer to the 49er. It has become popular in North America, Europe and Australia as a fast exciting youth boat. Recently the 29erXX, a twin trapeze version of the 29er, has been produced with a rig very similar to the 49er.

The 59er dinghy was put into production in Australia and the UK in 2002. The 59er is a non-trapeze, 4.7m sailing dinghy, rigged with an asymmetric spinnaker. It is designed for a crew weight of 145 kg to 180 kg. Performance expectations are that it be similar to the 49er/29er model.


  1. ^ "Centerboard Classes". US Sailing. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Portsmouth Number List 2012". Royal Yachting Association. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  3. ^ http://www.49er.org/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/

External links[edit]