In the drive for consistency across all aspects of 49er equipment, the rudder and centerboard have been a focus of the Class, Sailors and Builders for a few years now.
Recently the Builders agreed on a route forward that will improve the consistency of the foils. The shape will remain the same but there will be a new laminate schedule with increased amounts of carbon. The Builders have all agreed, with the Class Executive, The Class Technical Committee and ISAF a standard approach to manufacture, the same laminate structure, the same shape as currently and the same bend characteristics.
With the increased amount of carbon and a uniform manufacturing process the boards will be approximately 750 grams lighter than the current boards. This will be the only significant performance difference.
We believe this is the correct approach given the sailor dissatisfaction over the last 2 years. By lightening the boards now we do not need to make additional changes post 2016 as part of our equipment evolution plans.
We believe that with the weight savings we will not need to worry about top teams using older equipment, which would undermine the strict one-design goal of the Class. The most important driver of this change is that the boards become consistent across each of the builders and the simplified building process should allow all boards to be more consistent overall.
We have been very hesitant to make this change at such a late date in the quadrennial, but ultimately the dissatisfaction with the current foil product by sailors has lead us to make this change now. We believe that it is better to switch right now as opposed to waiting another 18 months.
The intention is that all boards supplied after May 11th will be as above. They will not become Class legal until AFTER the Porto Europeans on August 1st. There will be no grandfathering of existing foils (i.e. you will be able to continue using the existing foils indefinitely) but all Olympic entrants will be required to use the new foils.
For the 49er Class Executive and Builders