The 29er is a true high performance skiff - a two man, single trapeze, asymmetric spinnaker boat. 29ers are built on five continents, to exceedingly strict one design standards, and under strict control of the World Sailing. This assures that the boats provide sailing ability as the performance criterium. The boats are rugged, well equipped and fully competitive straight out of the box. Failures are rare, sails are durable, and the expense of running the boat is modest. There is no one design boat currently available which can touch this kind of performance.
The 29er was designed by Australian skiff legend Julian Bethwaite, with a team of internationally recognised dinghy sailors. Julian re-wrote the design book for the Sydney Harbour 18 ft. skiffs (the "Aussie 18's"), while picking up three world titles. He then designed the Olympic 49er followed by the very successful 29er.
Constructed from hi-tech composite foam sandwich, the hull is ultra-lightweight with a self-draining cockpit. The rig is pure skiff, fully battened Mylar sails with a self-tacking jib, supported on a composite-tipped mast that gives the ultimate in gust response and acceleration. Add on an asymmetric spinnaker and you'll discover the 29er is pure dynamite downwind. Other design features include a mainsail cuff to increase sail efficiency, a ram vang, safety foot/grab rails and an enclosed transom.
Although the design was originally targeted to youth sailors as a feeder class to the Olympic 49er, the 29er is a super class on its own merits. The optimal combined crew weight is considered to be 270 lbs to 320 lbs, but is by no means limited to that span. Being a gorilla does not help you win races. Being a monkey might.
Old folks/young kids, boys/girls – everyone competes equally. There are quite a few mixed teams, all boy teams, and all girl teams. You can find all kinds of crew combinations slugging it out in the front of the fleet, as well as in the back of the fleet.
Text courtesy: 29er North America