Australian Skiffs

Bunchofgrapes

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Since the topic of the International Canoe has been raised, let's include an Australian plank tortourer. The Skate

http://www.skatesailingaustralia.org/images/slide3.jpg



http://www.skatesailingaustralia.org/images/slide2.jpg

It was designed in the late 50's to be a following on boat from the then very popular VJ (dealt with up thread)

But the timing was unfortunate in that the Cherub arrived shortly afterwards and became 'the boat' for older teenagers and those in their early 20's.

Personaly I've never understood how you come in off a 10ft plank quick enough to deal with a sudden lull. Double tea bagging a skiff (a phrase that now causes much smirking and giggles among Gen X) is bad enough. Getting washed off the end of a plank would seem worse.

A friend of mine sailed one in his youth. Although instead of 'sailing' he described it more as sitting capsized in th middle of the bay most of the time.
Hardly torture, more like insanely good fun. 

I'm well and truly into the veteran category and have been sailing up front on a Skate these last two seasons and I can tell you from experience planks are so much easier on your back than a trapeze. Not so much on the knees, but then that is likely more likely to do with my advancing decrepitude rather than the ergonomics. Btw the current Skate bears little resemblance to that of the 50's. Some evolutionary photos of the sail plan is attached.

IMG_S6033.jpg

IMG_7042.jpg

IMG_7047.jpg

 

Rambler

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East Coast OZ
In posting here I've sort of come to appreciate just how all pervasive the Bethwaite family has been in the junior and intermediate skiff classes; often by the repurposing of a skiff hull into a different manifestation of a skiff.

The 29er has been through a couple of iterations of this, most recently to produce another junior skiff trainer in the form of the 29XS.

XS 29er cropped.jpg i

Julian commented on the history of the class upthread in the following terms

"... the XS rig, it was orignially design for the FFV (French) and FIV (Italians) but apathy got the better of them, so now they have been re-discovered by Aussies for exactly the reason you are saying and are in exceptionally short supply.

There is a push at present to re-do them, I am not involved, but am being pressured to get involved (I just don't have the band width at present)."

Our club was lucky enough to recently have donated to it a modified 59er with an XS rig as one of its options. It's a very neat little rig and while we have been all but prevented from sailing for a couple of months now by the after effects of devastating floods upriver from us, we set it up the other day to have a good look at it.

What's not clear from the photo is that it has a nice little reefing system too.

Which sort of raises one aspect of the Bethwaite line of production boats, in that the XS rig - designed for the 29er - fitted on the 59er without modification because of the commonality of many parts and dimensions.

Here it is set up on the 59er

. IMG_1331[1].JPG

 

Stanno

Member
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Sydney
Re the arch .... its a good point and we have been monitoring it without alarm over two seasons.  At the end of the day, we think that "if Julian designed that way, it should be ok" ... 

IMG_5411.jpeg

IMG_5414.jpeg

 

Rambler

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East Coast OZ
Re the arch .... its a good point and we have been monitoring it without alarm over two seasons.  At the end of the day, we think that "if Julian designed that way, it should be ok" ... 

View attachment 507760

View attachment 507761
Interesting.

The 59er came with a bridle attached to the two jib sheet blocks near or on the gunwale arch mounting points.

But I would infer you (and maybe the intended way) attach them to the center of the arch.

Do you keep the rigs lightly tensioned?

Did Julian desigh them that way? Julian where are you? :rolleyes:

 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
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Eastern NC
You mean "sitting on the edge pretending to hike" hahahaha.
That's where I got my 60% from :D


The problem is that the vast majority of small boat sailing is done in shifting winds, on smaller bodies of water. Trapping may be easier on older backs, hips, knees, but the demands of constant maneuvering on/off a trap is much higher.

Ergonomics play a big part in how I evaluate boats nowadays. There is no reason IMHO to sail a boat that you have to fight like wrestling a porcupine in a sack. One thing I loved about the VX-1 is that the performance level is very rewarding, but it's comfy & roomy and easy to sail. Why aren't more boats like this? So they can be 0.0001% faster around the buoys?

The point is to have fun. If you enjoy getting hit with boards while tearing up your spine and knees, have at it. But is it necessary to the sport of sailing?

- DSK

 

Rambler

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East Coast OZ
I'll dig out some more photos.... but yes we keep some tension on and a lashing on the arch  .... no failures!
Thanks. I'd appreciate that.

The boat came with multiple rigs.

We had to go largely by guesswork and working out why unfamiliar arrangements were in unexpected places.

 

Rambler

Super Anarchist
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East Coast OZ
While we wait for Julian to come along and explain to us how we should hold the XS rig up, let's look at another Bethwaite derivative boat; the 29erXX.

I remember the first and only time I've seen one of these; a member brought one up to Pittwater. I suspect it might have been on some sort of loan/ test/ demonstration exercise.

I must admit, I liked the look of them even then. But sailing a normal 29er with an underweight son as my crew, we weren't really ready for it.

I qualify the next statement as one from a know all teenager (who brought the boat up) as opposed to one of fact. But I was told they turned out to be no faster than an ordinary 29er and it was inferred they were a failed experiment. [Mind you, in looking for photos, I came acroos this old forum here where it gets a bit of a caning 





They don't call the Pittwater area the insular peninsular for nothing. We were far removed from the Rose Bay Bethwaite base, so I didn't hear of them, let alone that they'd spread to Eurpoe and had something of a following, for another decade. It was a pity in a way, because they (like the 15's we eventually adopted) might have meet our needs for a weekend warrior twin wire skiff with the sail area to let us go and play in the strong river currents on a lighter wind day (although the age demographic of the XX might not have been as socally suitable for the older age range we have in the club).

Med__F7R05241.jpg


Note in the following photos the rudder frame extension and gunwale foot extension.

View attachment 63980

Julian has mentioned that there is a newer version of a twin wired 29er hull in the works; the 29erC. I haven't found any photos of it.

 
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Rambler

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East Coast OZ
I had a better read of the old XX thread which ran between 2008 and 2013.

It seemed there were a few very loud and strident haters, but no shortage of defenders too (and some middle of the road mere sceptics).

There were a few questioned why have the XX when you had the 49er. Crew weight was one issue, now solved by the FX.

But as future entries I have in mind will elaborate on, there was then, and still is a gap between the 29er class and 49er (or even 49erFX), which is not easy to fill.

Something for weekend warriors, that's one design (or at least oneish design - so old boats remain competitive), easy to maintain, solid but light, accepts a wide range of crew weights but has the power for twin wires and the speed that goes with it.

 
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Rambler

Super Anarchist
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East Coast OZ
While looking for the famous video of the 18ft skiff Nokia sailing in heavy whether (for another thread) I came across this one of two young Australian guys sailing a 29er rudderless in an impressive display.

Sure, many coaches teach rudderless sailing, but a skiff under spinnaker raises it to a higher level.

On two occasions I've tried sailing the 15 rudderless - after losing it in strong winds - and found it an unsuccessful way of getting it home :D [At least in those conditions]




 
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JulianB

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Interesting.

The 59er came with a bridle attached to the two jib sheet blocks near or on the gunwale arch mounting points.

But I would infer you (and maybe the intended way) attach them to the center of the arch.

Do you keep the rigs lightly tensioned?

Did Julian desigh them that way? Julian where are you? :rolleyes:
Hi guys, took the bride up to Armidale (she did the morta board, degree presentation thingy, I married a woman far smarter than I, dangerous) so been off the grid for a few days.

Max tension you will ever get in a f/stay is on the beach as you rig up, as soon as you sheet on, or get on the wire or what ever, the tension goes down.   So I think a 29er is 24-26 on a loogs gague, and that's 180kgs.    The "throat" is a 40mm bit of 2mm wall tube 400mm long, so fulcrum is 200mm from the mount, I have not done the maths but I am guessing it could take a tonne.   The wire will break long before you get close to bending the tube! 

 

JulianB

Super Anarchist
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Sydney mostly
View attachment 63980

So this shot is off Shark Island, That's Catalina's restaurant in the back ground and I could have well taken the photo.

Dave O'Connor is steering and that's a very young Harry Bethwaite in the bow, Im guessing it's 15 years old (hazza would have been 17).

The rudder frame is from Ovingtons, as are the wing extensions.

The 29erXX was the right boat for the girls, but the FX was the right boat for the Olympics.   

29erC, most activity is now happening in America, people are buying Cherub rigs and pluging them onto 29ers, you can't stop it and crazy if you try (really great line from a movie like that).     No idea where that will land, and though I care and care a lot, I have way to many other projects, plus I have been there, done that!

XX is a fair bit faster than a 29er, mostly because you have another 30-35% grunt from the 2nd wire.   In light air it's a lot faster, very similar weight and a lot more sail.         I really need to re-vist the XS rig, it should be so simple.    But way too many projects already.

                     jB

 

Stanno

Member
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Sydney
Julian - it is just incredible the little gems you share with us. Its so appreciated. 

And yes, we need to talk about the XS rigs ;-)

Beers are waiting ...

Best,

Stanno

 

Rambler

Super Anarchist
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East Coast OZ
Since we're still talking about Bethwaite Boats, let's continue with the 59er

View attachment 16844

2005ullswater1.jpg


I will admit, I never really understood the 59er.

A skiff without trapezes.

I (rather rudely) thought of it as a skiff for two old fat guys. But because I've always regarded trapezing as easier on the body than proper hiking, wondered why that was the way to go.

But I was probably not looking past my history of trapeze powered skiffs, which not everyone has.

As far as I know, it didn't really take off in Australia, but did find a following overseas. Many of the Australian ones were converted to trapeze power for club racing.

I understand it was quality built from the outset with epoxy resin used in the foam cored laminate.

The flaw in my own prejudices aganst this tyle was confirmed when RS launched their own version of the concept - the RS400 - which I understand, being more production and polyester resin built, out competed the 59er on price. But all of this is second hand knowledge, so entirely consestable..

 
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