Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

Prototype for Olympic Womens Skiff trials has great pedigree

by Richard Gladwell on 27 Oct 2011
Mackay Womens High Performance Skiff Trials entrant - Takapuna October 2011 © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

A New Zealand developed prototype is being test sailed in Auckland ahead of the proposed evaluation trials for the Olympic Womens Two-Person Skiff.

The boat utilizes the 49er hull, foils and boom with a new sailplan designed to suit the ISAF specified target weight of 110-130kg.

The team behind the Mackay Boats' prototype oozes talent and has a track record of excellence

Two New Zealand sailors the diminutive Alex Maloney, an ISAF Youth Silver medallist on the 29er class, and Molly Meech a top female youth sailor in the Laser Radial class have been working through the test sail process under the eyes of David Mackay and John Clinton.

Mackay and Clinton, now work together at Mackay Boats, recognised as one of the top builders of Olympic boats in the 470 and 49er classes, and the company was recognised in 2008 with a award from yachting New Zealand recognising the company’s achievement in building all three medal winners in the Mens, Gold and Bronze in the Womens 470, plus the gold in the Mens 49er class.

Clinton was previously with Southern Spars, overseeing much of the development of their dinghy spar technology. He is also part of yachting NZ's Olympic coaching team.

Below the maststep, effectively the Mackay prototype is a standard 49er hull, boom and sprit, with a reduced rig. 'The rig will just pop straight on a standard 49er hull,' says John Clinton. 'Theres another turning block in the gennaker to take the load off the sheet, but that is the only change.'

The criteria published by the International Sailing Federation ahead of the trials to select a boat for the new Olympic Womens Two-Person Skiff, which will be staged in European Spring of 2012.

One of the strictures is the specified weight band of 110-130kg of which Maloney and Meech sit dead centre at around 120kg.

New rig for established class
Surprisingly the Mackay boat is not some new creation developed as the ultimate Womens HP Skiff - rather it is the same 49er hull used for the Mens event, but with a smaller rig. A similar concept to the Mens Laser and Womens Laser Radial, if you will.

Dave Mackay says that they have talked to many women crews who are thinking about sailing a womens skiff and a common line has been 'what about the 49er with a womens rig?'

'The builders and designers have all got their preferences but this is about the girls. Let them decide what they want to sail. It would be absurd not to give them this as an option,' Mackay remarks.

The commonality of equipment concept, with the well-established Mens 49er class which made its debut at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, is is vital to the Mackay prototype, and gives the boat some major competitive advantages.

First of these is that there is an instant availability of boats - with second hand 49er hulls being readily available and at a relatively cheap price - so the entry level costs are reduced. Add in a new rig and sails at the costs of about EUR5500 and you are ready to go sailing.

Second is that the tooling up costs for building are eliminated as standard 49er moulds are already used, and from an existing builder network already used to building a quality, and Olympic tested product. same song second
verse for the measurement.

Thirdly with an existing International 49er class structure in place the Womens boat has a strong and cost effective organisation structure in place - similar to the single handed Laser, doublehanded 470, Mens and Womens Windsurfer the RS:X which also straddle both sides of the Olympic gender divide.

The boat goes a long way towards fulfilling one of the ISAF Olympic Commission Reports Recommendation to have as much shared equipment as possible between the genders. It's big benefit is that through the ready availability of second hand 49er hulls, developing countries can quickly get a program together at a low cost, and let their sailor's go up the learning curve without damaging new gear.

At first take the Mackay prototype would seem to be a daunting prospect for two female sailors - but no so say Maloney and Meech.

'It feels really nice to sail we’ve sailed the 29er and the 29erXX and another development 14 ft skiff. For me this one feels nicest in all conditions,' says Alex Maloney.

'It definitely feels the best all round. We have it out in 20kts it goes very well we just need to work on our technique, ' chips in Molly Meech, who stepped into the skiffs straight from the Laser Radial. Alex and Molly recently finished second in the US 29erXX Nationals

'It is just a matter of getting used to the size, running across the boat instead of stepping,' adds Maloney. 'It is easier than we thought to sail.

'Capsizing is not really a problem, weve managed to get the boat up ourselves every time it is just a matter of having the right technique.'

The boat has been sailing for over two months in a full range of conditions.

On the previous weekend the prototype competed against 49ers in the Stack Interiors WinChamps at Murrays Bay Sailing Club hitting out against the 49ers. 'The speed difference wasnt too significant, so we were competing with them,' says Maloney.

'We had really gusty shifty conditions. We were coming in about the middle of the fleet. We expect to be just as fast or faster than the 49ers in the breeze', she adds.

Coach Clinton makes the point that the small performance difference between the two boats would allow one coach to easily cover the Mens and Women crews -providing a similar level of compatibility and synergy that exists in the
Mens and Womens 470.

Lower rig, better stability
'The rig uses the same mast section and fitout as the mens 49er, but is around 10% shorter', says Clinton putting on his spar and sail designers hat.

'The main and jib have about 15% less area than the mens 49er which results in the 120kg crew being fully powered up at the same wind speed as the men.

'The sailplan is influenced by the recent wide head 18ft skiff mainsails, requiring a straighter rig than the mens 49er', he adds.

Maloney and Meech say the big surprise with the Mackay prototype is its stability. 'With the 29erXX your boat handling has to be a lot quicker,' explains Alex Maloney. 'In some ways the two are hard to compare as they
are a lot different.

'In the breeze the 29erXX is more unstable, and the first few times out in the Mackay, we said that if we had tried that trick in an 29erXX we would have capsized.

'The difference is in the wings and beam in the 49er hull which give you more leeway for error. The 29er XX is a harder boat to save when you make an error, but with the 49er hull you can get on the wings and pull her back.

Details of the trials have not yet been announced by the ISAF. Several boats are expected to be entered from UK, being a combination of existing classes, prototypes and the RS-900, which Meech and Maloney have not yet sailed.





[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]


Mackay Boats

Related Articles

A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Shawn Macking about the StPYC’s Sailing Center and OD fleet
I talked with Shawn Macking, the StPYC’s waterfront director, to learn how the club is getting more people out sailing. I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club’s Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.
Posted on 13 Feb
A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup race to Cuba
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016