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Crewsaver 2021 Safetyline LEADERBOARD

First glimpse of the 59er in words, photos & videos...

by Mark Jardine 18 Mar 2002 12:51 GMT
A rig along the lines of the 29er & 49er

The relatively thin hull with rolled wing-like side decks

Photos © Mark Jardine

Friday was my first chance to have a go in the new 59er from Ovington Boats. This Frank Bethwaite designed boat is designed for the more mature skiff sailor with no trapezes, but performance that you would associate with a true skiff-style boat.

The rig will look very familiar to those used to the 29er and 49er - this is due to it being designed by Frank’s son Julian who made both of their rigs. The sail area is 150sq. ft. upwind with a 235sq. ft. asymmetric kite. Our test sail was in around 12 knots of breeze.

The first thing I noticed while sailing the boat was how flat the sails seem. With the new designs such as the 59er the hull itself is relatively thin, requiring less depth in the sails to drive the boat along. The remainder of the width of the boat is made up with the rolled wing-like side decks.

Upwind the boat was easy to sail and keep in a groove. Dave Hall of Ovington Boats said that the fastest upwind performance was gained when not feathering, until it becomes too windy to do this. The responsive rig does most of the work that would usually be required by playing the mainsheet. Loads on the controls are unbelievably light with the off-the-boom mainsheet only requiring fingertip control. The jib is a self-tacker like the 29er and 49er with a single control line lead centrally behind the mast.

Through the tacks you really notice the extra space afforded by the high boom. Also the extra height of the rolled side decks make it very easy to stand instantly coming into the boat.

Downwind the boat quickly gets up and goes. By sailing high initially the apparent wind quickly built sending us further off the wind in an instant. Once here the sheet loads again were light and the boat was very stable. Gybing as well was easy but I am sure would provide a challenge in stronger winds.

Early racing in Sydney Harbour showed the 59er to be slightly slower than a B14 in the breeze, but holding it’s own in the lighter winds. The increased rocker gives it the extra light wind performance which should be great for inland racers.

The class is aimed at crews weighing over 150kg between the helm & crew. Teams under this weight will carry lead to bring them up to the minimum weight.

Over the weekend Dave Hall went to sail in the Grafham Asymmetric Shoot-out. For the first two races he sailed in the medium handicap division with a PY of 910, winds were around 8-10 knots. On the water they were very fast taking a 1st & 2nd on handicap. Not interested in their overall result at this stage, Dave talked with the event organisers and moved to the fast handicap division with a revised PY of 890. In 15 knot winds this gave them results of a 4th, 8th & 5th, finishing amongst the twin-wire RS800’s. Dave’s initial thoughts after this are that a PY somewhere around 900 is probably right for the boat.

This really is a true hiking skiff with the latest in Bethwaite thinking going into the hull and rig. Test sails can be arranged with Dave Hall at Ovington Boats. See the Ovington Boats website for further details and contacts.

Photos: (© Mark Jardine, click thumbnail for full picture)



Videos: (© Mark Jardine, all videos are in QuickTime format, take a look at the file size shown in brackets before downloading as some videos could take a long time on slower internet connections, you can download the QuickTime viewer for free by clicking here, to save the movie for later viewing on a PC, right click the link and choose 'Save Target As')