Julian Bethwaite discusses his new 8m sportsboat
Following the success of the 29er and 49er so the latest fruit of Bethwaite creative genius is a canting keel 8m sportsboat named...wait for it...the 79er. The boat, the largest in the Bethwaite line-up, came about through demand says Julian Bethwaite. Pierre Gale, one of Australia's top sports boat sailors, discussed with the Bethwaites the possibility of a boat that 'would knock the socks off people’. "We are getting a lot of old skiffies and other people seeing their kids having a lot of fun in 49ers, 29ers, 18s, RS600s and whatever and they are saying ‘where’s mine?’ basically. They want to have a bit of fun too," says Julian Bethwaite. The prototype they came up with went beyond the mark performance-wise and Gale asked them to tune it down. "It was probably the best thing we could have done. I think the radical boat would have fallen over or fallen apart," admits Bethwaite. The 79er has been in development for the last two years and is shortly to go into full production, built by Northshore Yachts in Gosford, near Sydney [as opposed to the Northshore Yachts on Chichester Harbour]. However Bethwaite expects the boat will end up being built somewhere in Asia. "We already have a production facility in Indonesia which works well and makes an extremely nice product." In terms of looks the boat is clearly a '9er' with wings albeit with not quite the same low flying aircraft look of the 49er (in fact the wings are hinged to enable trailing). This 9er is unique in that is comes with basic accommodation. Although there is no head or galley, in the forepeak there is V-berth capable of sleeping two 6ft tall adults. In Australia, Bethwaite says, the crew will probably throw an awning over the boom and sleep in