29er - Bethwaite's Baby Looks Set to Rule the World

MadforSailing tested Julian Bethwaite's new youth boat and were dead impressed
The 29er has great potential to become the world's favourite youth boat. The little sister of the super-champion’s choice - the 49er - is hot on the heels of the enduring status of the 420. Its popularity has been increasing rapidly since the first one hit the water in the summer of 1999. And the 29er has recently been selected by the RYA as the official Asymmetric Youth Boat. Teenage years and beyond can be filled by mastering this little speed machine. The 29er was reviewed by Peter Bentley, while four-time World Youth Champion, Sally Cuthbert, and 420 hotshot Dominica Lyndsey did the sailing. Their skills were thoroughly tested in 20-25 knots of wind which, battling against a strong tide, created choppy conditions. Peter commented, ‘The 29er’s harder to sail than you think, but then kids can skateboard and adults can’t’ (the editor notes that PB speaks for himself). The 29er is fundamentally a skiff, with all its attractions and drawbacks. It requires a different style of sailing than more conventional boats, but will serve well to teach the skills required to prosper in other high performance craft. The boat is one you have to run around in - there is no time to sit down when attempting to sail to perfection. It’s good news that the layout has had plenty of thought from the design team. Details like the upside down vang system to create plenty of space for the crew. And the lack of a central main sheet cleat ensures the centre of the boat is clear for the helmsman. But the 29er’s MFS rating of 4 out of 5 was achieved largely through its stunning performance. It is simply electric off the wind, once the ample asymmetric is set. On the construction side, builder Dave Ovington has an outstanding