29er - the next ISAF youth class?
Hall says Ovington Boats has now sold 150 of the mini-skiffs in the UK, and another 100 in Europe. "It’s been particularly strong in Spain, Finland and Britain, and it’s interesting to note they were also the countries that did well in the 49er at the Olympics." Hall certainly puts a lot of the 29er’s success down to the fact that it is the obvious trainer for its bigger cousin. "It’s also because it’s what the kids want to sail. There’s nothing they’d rather be in."
After a bit of a slump, it seems the 49er is picking up interest in the UK too. Hall said they took between six and eight orders for new boats at the London Boat Show and added: "You can’t get a second-hand 49er for love nor money at the moment." Certainly there is an influx of champions from other classes, such as DJ Edwards from the Fireball and Chris Draper from the 470. RS400 national champion Roger Gilbert is one of those on the hunt for a second-hand boat.
The Musto Skiff also aroused a lot of interest at the Show. Colin Goodman of Hyde Sails and Proctor Masts’ new manager Chips Howarth will bring some quality to the Musto Skiff fleet in its inaugural year, with the circuit for the single-hander already running on the back of the established 49er and 29er UK series.