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Big Smiles for Lough Ree's Inaugural 'Skiff Weekend' With 29ers, 49ers, Int 14 & RS700 in Action

9th November 2021
29er skiff youth sailing on Lough Ree at the inaugural Skiff Weekend
29er skiff youth sailing on Lough Ree at the inaugural Skiff Weekend

Lough Ree was the perfect arena for the first "skiffs weekend". 13 hardy sailors launched and sailed in 29ers, 49ers, Int14 and RS700.

The concept was to try out fast boats and enjoy the thrills of high-speed sailing. 

29er: The 29er is the most popular skiff for youth sailors. There is an active class in Ireland with events regrouping up to 15 boats at present.

The class is growing and results internationally have been excellent.

Recently, Ireland took third position at the Europeans Nations Cup which regrouped the best three finishers from each country.

49er sailing49er sailing

49er: Natural progression from the 29er, the 49er is an Olympic class. Following in the footsteps of our Olympians, there are a handful of boat owners in Ireland enjoying the challenge of controlling the overpowered rig.

International 14(Above and below) International 14 

Int14: The International 14 is a development class that has led to great designs of skiffs with massive spinnakers and full carbon hulls. "Chocolate Girl" raised a few heart rates when hoisting the yellow kite on Lough Ree at the weekend,

RS700: Along with the Musto skiff, the 700 is the single-handed ultimate skiff, the boat you wonder how it is possible to gybe safely with the spinnaker up.

RS 700(Above and below) RS 700

RS700RS700

A wet and blustery westerly welcomed the participants so the weekend started indoors with a shore-based session delivered by skiff coaches Thomas Chaix and Chris Bateman.

Eventually, the wind dropped enough to launch for an evening session on the open lake and the sailors managed a few fun runs before dark.

Sunday morning was chilly but the 12-14 kts on the lake proved perfect for hours of fast sailing swapping crews, helms and boats for the participants. The display of skills was excellent in ideal conditions. Ethan Spain developed a liking for the RS700 whilst the 29er sailors really enjoyed giving it a go in the 49ers. The wind eventually started to drop to give a gentle sail into the sunset.

The smiles all around and the boat park chats were unanimous and the weekend was only the start towards building a group of skiffs enthusiasts keen for more of these weekends of fast fun, friendly regattas and coaching development.

Big thanks to Lough Ree YC and its team of dedicated members John McGonigle, Emmet Duffy and Garrett Leech for making the weekend happen.

Published in 29er
Thomas Chaix

About The Author

Thomas Chaix

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Tralee–based Thomas Chaix (41) is a full-time freelance sailing coach. He currently sails the 49er dinghy (for fun) but raced the Laser for 25 years and has been a member of French and Irish teams

 

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About the 29er Skiff Dinghy

The 29er is a one-design double-handed, single trapeze skiff for youth sailors.

There is an active class in Ireland, just one of the 38-countries from across all continents now racing the high-performance skiff.

The 29er is one of the latest dinghy classes to arrive in Ireland and has a 50/50 split between boys and girls.

The class like to describe the boat as "The most popular skiff for sailors who want to go fast!".

Derived from the Olympic class 49er class and designed by Julian Bethwaite the 29er was first produced in 1998.

Two sailors sail the 29er, one on trapeze.

The class is targeted at youth sailors aiming at sailing the larger 49er which is an Olympic class.


The 6.25-metre high rig features a fractional asymmetrical spinnaker; a self-tacking jib decreases the workload of the crew, making manoeuvres more efficient and freeing the crew to take the mainsheet upwind and on two-sail reaches.

The 15.00 m2 spinnaker rigging set-up challenges crews to be fit and coordinated, and manoeuvres in the boat require athleticism due to its lack of inherent stability and the high speed with which the fully battened mainsail and jib power up.

The 74kg weight hull is constructed of fibreglass-reinforced polyester in a foam sandwich layout.

The fully battened mainsail and jib are made from a transparent Mylar laminate with orange or red Dacron trimming, while the spinnaker is manufactured from ripstop Nylon.

The mast is in three parts - an aluminium bottom and middle section, with a polyester-fibreglass composite tip to increase mast bend and decrease both overall weights, and the capsizing moment a heavy mast tip can generate. Foils are aluminium or fibreglass.

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29er skiff technical specs

  • Hull weight 74kg (163lb)
  • LOA 4.45m (14.4ft)
  • Beam 1.77m (5ft 7in)
  • Crew 2 (single trapeze) 
  • Spinnaker area 15.00 m2 (181.2sq.ft)
  • Upwind sail area 12.5 m2 (142.0 sq.ft)
  • Mast length 6.25m (20.5ft)

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