The first Bieker 6

James Boyd Photography /
We get the guided to to the latest International 14 offering from Seattle
One of the most highly anticipated boats taking part in last week’s Artemis International 14 World Championship was the latest offering from design guru Paul Bieker. The last 14 design from Seattle-based Bieker, who has also been part of Oracle Racing’s design team, was the Bieker 5. These won the world championships in 2005 with Howie Hamlin and Euan McNicol and subsequently in 2008 and 2010 with Archie Massey. But in Weymouth last week was the first example of the new Beiker 6. This was being sailed by Kris Henderson, who builds the boat in Seattle, with Joe Bersch out on the wire, who is the money. So what is different about the 6? Like most contempory 14s, the B6’s hull is minimum beam with a substantial chine, a bowsprit and a gantry off the transom to hold the T-foil rudder. Between the 5 and 6 one of the most significant differences is at the bottom of the stem, where the shape is slightly bulbous but narrows higher up. According to Henderson this came about through Beiker’s work on the USA 17 33rd America’s Cup winning trimaran where the floats had a wavepiercing-type bow. “The waterline is a lot narrower up in the front, so the B5 is more like a pumpkin seed-shaped waterline whereas the B6 is more of a wedge waterline.” So the waterline shape is wider aft providing the crew with more stability when gybing and due to the fullness and because of the added buoyancy up forward this enables the rudder T-foil to be used more. “Even in medium to light breeze we’ll get the foil on really hard to get that knuckle down below the water,” says Henderson. “The Beiker 5, or any 14, as you are going upwind in waves, it will want to auger