Roble/Shea Sailing

What We Sail: The (Incredibly Awesome) 49erFX


The 49er was designed by Julian Bethwaite for use in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and operated as a male-only class from 1996-2012. In 2013, the mast and sails of the 49er were retrofitted for smaller-sized sailors and introduced as the 49erFX, which debuted as the female, double-handed high-performance skiff for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 49erFX’s lightweight construction is designed to reach speeds of 25 mph and fully "plane" downwind. Given the physically challenging nature of the boat, fitness is a very high priority for 49er sailors.

Click here to see the Animated Boat Preview by NBC Olympics

Sailing World Cup – the 49erFX Class

  • 4-6 events per year in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia
  • Invitations are issued to sailors based on their World rankings and few spots are designated for qualifiers; most events feature a maximum of 30 or 40 competitors.

Boat Specs:

  • 2 crew members & 2 trapezes
  • Hull designed in the 1990s by Bethwaite
  • Hull weight: 74.0 kg
  • Hull length: 4.99 m
  • Beam length: 2.9 m
  • Mast & sails designed in 2012 by Mackay
  • Mast height: 7.5 m
  • Mainsail area: 13.8 sq m
  • Jib area: 5.8 sq m
  • Spinnaker area: 25.1 sq m