Designed by Julian Bethwaite,
the 49er is an evolution of the International 14's and Aussie 18's. The
hump-less drag curve has been refined and works better on the 49er than
on the 18's due to its length/weight ratios. The boat has very fine lines
forward - meaning that the slap and thud that is normally associated
with going to windward at speed is removed. The 49er is controllable
over 20 knots and benefits from easy handling, even in the most highly
races and tough conditions.
It's hard to imagine
that a boat that looks so up to date as the 49er has been around for a decade
already. Almost a thousand boats later,
it has become a modern design classic. Dave Hall comments: 'The 49er
is the boat by which all others are judged, and it has changed the face
of sailing. It has brought skiff sailing to everyone. We've got boats
that match today's era, they look appropriate for the 21st century, and
they bring high-performance thrills for low cost and very little maintenance.