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29er XS rig at Club level ... an experiment begins


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So my Club in Sydney, Hunters Hill Sailing Club, is working on a sailing development plan with a bunch of other Clubs around the country, including Fremantle, South of Perth, Mornington, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and others.  We are working on ways to welcome, teach, develop and retain sailors from an early age, under the working banner of Structured Learning Methodology.  Each of the Clubs has a different DNA and different streams of sailors and classes, but its fair to say we are all super enthusiastic nuffies about kids and boats!! 

At our Club, we have a strong Opti program which is supported by the Flying 11 2 hander, before the kids move into the 29ers, Laser or Nacra 15. As the 29er has gained traction in the last couple of seasons - we put the entire Opti and F11 fleet through the NSW 9er Association "Skiff Skills program" a year or so back - some of our OptiKids have become very keen to get going on the 9er ... clearly "running before they can walk", "taking a big bite and chewing hard" etc etc. So what to do, from a safety and skill development perspective? Well, plan A was to have a dedicated rescue boat along side the youngsters every session - massively resource heavy and didn't really allow the kids to focus on the skills required ...  one particular Sunday was especially frustrating - two ripper kids having a great go at things, but struggling to get and keep the boat upright, but having a ball in any event. Along the way both the 9er coach and the Nacra coach had to zip across and check on the kids as the "dedicated dad" had taken off to get a coffee ... sigh.

Anyway, I posted a pic on FB of the kids capsized and on the centreboard, and up sailing, and talked a little about the risk issues we were grappling with. frankly, I suggested the kids would be better off in a F11, but of course, sometimes its better to go with what the kids are enthusiastic about.   Anyway, that evening our local 9er dealer rang me as part of a continuing discussion about 49ers and their availability, and mentioned that he had a smaller 9er rig called the XS - two piece mast with a flexy tip, square top main, smaller jib and kite etc .... so I got onto Google and did some digging, finding some stuff on here actually,  posted by Julian, some video from the lakes in Italy, and then, loh and behold, our buddies from South of Perth had just posted a Coaches update and video of "their new 29er XS rig" for their Opti kids!!  Here's the video ...

So, as it turned out I had a video call with the South of Perth coaching staff, amongst others, that very week.  So I asked Dennis "tell me about the XS rig, why, how, for whom"? etc...  he described word for word the development stage our kids were at in Sydney, the type of kid, and what it meant for the older hulls - a new lease on life given lower rig loads.  Even better, he had the assistant coach in the video above sitting alongside him, who explained that he was a bit big for the rig and had to swing in and out, but that in 15 knots he had a ball with the young helm, and that two opti kids were able to focus on the skill development without too much of a worry about keeping the boat upright, as so much weight had come out of the tip of the rig, and everything was much more stable.

That was enough for us, and with the help of a donor, three XS rigs arrived the next weekend and were stepped on some older hulls the younger kids had purchased.   The kids have been out on the water training with their older team mates (fleet of 14 on its way to 20) and they haven't missed a beat. We still keep an eye on them, of course, and we haven't had a solid 18-20 knots yet, but so far so good. 

Here's some pics ... the on water one has an instructor steering and a ten year old crewing...

Its an interesting development within our Club program - we will see where it takes us - but its certainly been well received by the kids!  And it wouldn't have come about without this open sharing of ideas and models within the SLM structure... seems obvious of course!!

Cheers

Stanno

 

 

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Before I get to Rambler, Hi Stanno.

The XS rig came about because of the drive of the FFV (French) and FIV (Italian) federations, and was driven particular hard by Paolo from Nautivela.   He obviously speaks Italian and French (and German, and Spainish and English (Aussie) so your right, they where into him for a rig for the 6-8 year old hulls.

2 things have happened, a) the 29er hulls and lasting longer and longer, so the 6-8 year old hulls are no longer lying about & b) the FFV & FIV had a change of position. 

The wheel turns, but it's interesting it's now doing another revoloution, and the rig is coming back into favour.

But the XS rig is perfectly suited for ex-opie sailors, and as you mentioned they (the rig and the sailors) are the right size, and when you put them in a XS they are also fearless and can manage what ever is thrown at them.     It's very inspiring!

I will leave the rest to you, just one intersting point, you will notice there is a reef in the main, this is to bring the area in under 7m² (could be 5, can't remember) the point being, its a EU regulation but it adds a singnificant cost to the main sail,   In Australia, probably everywhere, even inside the EU, it will never get used so next iteration, we probably need to get without the zippers and save the money.

Enjoy, and I am glad to see it being enjoyed!  

                 jB

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Thanks Julian!!

The enjoyment factor is off the scale!!   We are going to use the rigs at "SkiffChicks" in a couple of weekend's time - should look amazing rigged up - XS, 29ers, FX ... and an 18' skiff!!!  Might have to get you down to say hi .... ;-)

Cheers

Chris

 

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Heya Julian

Here are the details - Sat / Sun 11/12 July @ Hunters Hull Sailing Club...

Cheers

Chris

 

https://www.huntershillsailingclub.org.au/events/68636/

 
Details are as follows:
 
When: 11-12 July, 0800 to 1700hrs each day (noting we may go longer on the Saturday depending on speaker's commitments)
 
Where: Hunters Hill Sailing Club
 
Coaches: Caitlin Elks (Australian 49er FX sailor), Harry Morton (Australian 29er Coach) & Special guests TBA
 
Suits: Any female sailors looking to transition into the 9er classes (or other skiffs) down the track, and those looking to get the fundamentals of 29er / 49er sailing well grounded, and be challenged by advanced skills and drills.  From Rookies to RockStars!!
 
Any Opti / Sabot / laser  / Flying Ant etc sailor that would like to come along and get a taste of the skiff classes, please do sign up!! We have 3 29ers rigged with the 29erXS "mini rig" that will get you going nicely, without the insane power of the full rig!!
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I didn't notice the reef points in the main... it does add to the cost but wouldn't it make the boat useful in higher winds too?

One of the things I don't like about the Opti is that many programs seem to try and keep kids in them after they have grown tall enough that the boats are uncomfortable. The 29erXS looks great ergonomically.

Do you have a standard for weight and reach for the kids to move into the 9ers? How about beginners? Optis don't sail on apparent wind, much. The 9er sailors shifting over are learning almost a new/different kind of sailing.

Disclaimer-Warning: I've been working with junior/youth sailors in two different programs for about twelve years now. Both are primarily bringing in raw beginners and working to get them up to being able to skipper a boat, as much on their own, as possible. I notice a big difference between solo sailing (which I think is great for learning the basics) and sloop sailing. For a few years, we only had knee-hi kids in Optis and high school kids in FJ/420s. I did not notice so much, the profound difference in a crewed boat! The first time I turned two very good Opti sailors loose in a small sloop (we did a capsize drill and walked thru tacking & stopping, in the sloop), I turned my attention on the water to the beginners and just loosely watched to make sure they didn't kill themselves. Twenty minutes later, they sailed up to my coach boat, horrible scowls on their little faces. "Something wrong?" I asked. "There's too much ARGUING on this boat!" they hollered.

So I now spend some time & effort on teaching & practicing the relationship between skipper an crew, as well as the physical sailing techniques.

BTW we have boats with reef points although they are nowhere near the performance envelope of the 9ers, we use them reefed about half the time.

FB- Doug

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IME the trouble with reefing mainsails on modern rigs is that the gust response goes up the stuff, so a moderate sail area reduction does nothing to make the boat easier to handle. A big reduction, on the other hand, leaves the boat a total dog downwind. 

I tried a stumping mast on a single hander to try and get round this, but the results were disappointing. Although it retained the gust response the boat lacked sparkle. At the time I thought we might have had too low aspect ratio. It needed a lot more development than I was able to afford. 

Also although the stumping rig worked well enough it was a considerable pain to make, and I think would be v expensive on a production boat. 

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This looks amazing. What's the min weight to right it? Recommended weight / weight range to sail it? How can we get our hands on one of these? Old beater 29er hulls do turn up in Miami. 

I have a 10yo who trapezes and steers from the wire on my foiling cat. 

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That's very cool. Two points.

A lot of oppie kids stay in Oppies because they want to, because they want their turn at winning. Not because anyone is pushing them to.

Reefing dinghies causes all sorts of weird unbalancing lee helm issues.

Either way I know a load of kids who'd love that.

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Hi Steam Flyer, re reefing, we have become pretty proficent at getting the possitioning of things like shrouds/vs/forestay and from memory the boat has D1's so as you go up the wind range, more and more down haul (not neccassarily vang) along with correct tension on the rig and the jib sheet allows the boat to go right up range and still remain in control.

What JimC is refereing to is very very real, you reef the main and you end up with a mast that inverts, when you want it to bend.   And that's not good at all.   Makes it far worse!

"Weird unbalancing lee helm issues" are the least of your problem's.

The other issue is when is it too much wind, particularly in this legalistic society we are heading towards, and especially with kids.

Kid's are evolving, and unless we want to cap that, what we offer them to keep them engaged has to also evolve.  Whether that is a change of boat, and change of venue or some new gear, really matters not.

 

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Hi, so a XS main is 4.289m² and the jib 2.133 m².   Approx 6.45m² in total.   (it obviously reefs under 5m²)

The Spinnaker I can't find a numbers.

Std 29er main is 8.64m² and the jib is 3.76m².    Bit over 12m² in total.   (Std spin is 18m² from memory, but don't bank on it)

XS sails are much higher ratio, which is deliberate, area is down, so it's really easy to handle, but lots of luff length so as you start to get going, you can induce plenty of power.

Bottom line, YES, they could manage it, like anything, don't send them out first time in 20 knts, maybe 10, get them understanding the power and stering for balance and then witin 3-4 sails they will be good for just about anything.

It was design for kids out of Opies, and those kids are late 40's to early 50's so 100kgs combine is perfect.

I would forget about the reef unless you live in Wellington (NZ). 

                              jB

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21 minutes ago, JulianB said:

Hi, so a XS main is 4.289m² and the jib 2.133 m².   Approx 6.45m² in total.   (it obviously reefs under 5m²)

The Spinnaker I can't find a numbers.

Std 29er main is 8.64m² and the jib is 3.76m².    Bit over 12m² in total.   (Std spin is 18m² from memory, but don't bank on it)

XS sails are much higher ratio, which is deliberate, area is down, so it's really easy to handle, but lots of luff length so as you start to get going, you can induce plenty of power.

Bottom line, YES, they could manage it, like anything, don't send them out first time in 20 knts, maybe 10, get them understanding the power and stering for balance and then witin 3-4 sails they will be good for just about anything.

It was design for kids out of Opies, and those kids are late 40's to early 50's so 100kgs combine is perfect.

I would forget about the reef unless you live in Wellington (NZ). 

                              jB

Hi Julian

Just to be clear, I would read you as saying they should use an XS rig, not a full one.

Is that right?

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Dicko was asking about a rig for his kid and mate that are 100kg combined.

For 1-2 years they shoudl be sailing with a XS rig.     They could probably survive a std 29er rig but it would not be much fun.

Got to let them have fun.

Sorry if I was a bit obscure, at 100kgs, the kids will have a ball with a XS rig.

As they get up into the 115-120kgs combined range, then swicth it out for a std rig.

The plan in Italy was the club would lease these rigs out for a year or so, then lease them to the next hopefuls.   Nice idea.

381972304_Mk229er.thumb.jpg.de18e673fb8c99dc659bf4be25e63cc8.jpg

1997 sailing with my then 4 year old son Angus on the Mk2 29er, probably 115kgs combined.

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Angus is now 6' 3" and 90kgs, he ws the best part of 20kgs in that shot!

Really interesting sails, with black trim, you completely lost the boat at 200m, quite amazing.   (hence now the orange piping)

But the sails where really good, and the cloth amazing.   Pity North did not continue with it.

You could puncture it with a knife, and put a rope through the gash, and it would move 200-250mm and then stop.

Very simple cross-cut joints at each batten.     It was probably too cheap to make.

                   

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

That's a understatment, 35 - 50 knts and 11m seas off the coast.

29er, FX and 49er all snapped masts yesterday is the swell surge in the middle of the sound.

We sailed schooners around the Beuna Vista (bar) rather than take Excile out on the Harbour.

                       jB

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  • 8 months later...

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