The FX was designed after the call went out by World Sailing (then ISAF) to develop a women’s skiff event for the Olympic Games.
We've always loved a challenge and figured that having a skiff class that could work in with the men's 49er class would be a great option for women's skiff sailing. Mackay Boats Director, John Clinton, got to work and designed the FX rig/sail combination so that it could be retrofitted onto an existing 49er hull.
The FX went through 9 months of testing by the Mackay team. It was then taken to Santander (ESP) for an ISAF evaluation trial where the FX was trialled against 5 other boats. The FX was finally selected at the ISAF mid-year conference in early May 2014 and made its Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games.
Designing the FX was done through using the North Sails suite of analysis software and optimised using the Flow program.
The size of the main and jib were adjusted to get the correct fore/aft aerodynamic centre of effort to retain the same balance as the 49er. This also makes the boat easier to sail and easier to right from a capsize.
The main sail was introduced with a wider head based on developments in the 18ft skiff and America’s Cup technology. To make the head work, a stiffer mast was required. This was achieved by raising the hounds, similar to the top 18ft skiff teams, and adding a little carbon to the middle section of the mast to ensure the mid leech stays under control throughout the wind range. The photo above shows one of the first rig/sail iterations for the class.
The main was designed with only 5 battens to reduce the rig weight while using rugged purpose designed skiff cloth to ensure the sails last well.
Check out the first few FX sailing back in 2012