The 29er is a two-person high performance sailing skiff designed by Julian Bethwaite and first produced in 1998. Derived from the Olympic class 49er class, it is raced in the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.The 29er is able to reach high speeds fairly quickly by having a sleek and hydrodynamic hull and will often exceed the wind speed when planing both up and downwind.
The 29er class is targeted at youth, especially those training to sail the larger Olympic 49er. The Youth Sailing World Championships has adopted it to replace the Laser 2 - which was designed by Julian Bethwaite's father Frank.
The 29er has two sailors, one on trapeze. The rig features a fractional asymmetrical spinnaker; a self-tacking jib decreases the work load of the crew, making maneuvers more efficient and freeing the crew to take the mainsheet upwind and on two-sail reaches. The spinnaker rigging set-up challenges crews to be fit and coordinated, and maneuvers in the boat require athleticism due to its lack of inherent stability and the high speed with which the fully battened mainsail and jib power up.
The hull construction is of fibreglass-reinforced polyester in a foam sandwich layout. The fully battened mainsail and jib are made from a transparent Mylar laminate with orange or red Dacron trimming, while the spinnaker is manufactured from ripstop Nylon. The mast is in three parts - an aluminium bottom and middle section, with a polyester-fiberglass composite tip to increase mast bend and decrease both overall weight, and the capsizing moment a heavy mast tip can generate. Foils are aluminium or fibreglass.
The class has shown large popularity in Oceania with over 700 registered boats out of the 7000 registered worldwide