Unless you have a friend who already sails a 29er and is willing to take you out for a spin, it can be difficult to try the boat out.
So we organise Transition Days throughout the year where you can go for a joyride in the Ovington sponsored transition 29er with an experienced sailor. You can find details of transition days on our class calendar here or you can email our Transition Officer here.
If you are based in Scotland, a transition day can be arranged at a more geographically convenient location through our Scottish Representative at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having tried out a 29er, you now want to buy one, but where from?
Ovington Sailboats sell new 29ers with a rollaway package. Occasionally Ovingtons will also have lightly used 29ers for sale generally charterboats or boats used for the Youth Worlds.
Apollo Duck, Dinghy and Bits and the private 29er UK Facebook Group (not run by the 29er Class) are good places to hunt for second hand boats. It is also worth looking at the websites of clubs with a number of 29ers (Hayling Island Sailing Club, Rutland Sailing Club, Royal Torbay Yacht Club or Lymington for example). Or you can email email@example.com and ask to post a shout out for a 29er on the 29er Class Association Facebook page.
So now you are looking at your potential boat but what should you be looking at ?
29ers have developed over the years. Older boats come with a cheaper price tag. The decision comes down to personal choice and budget.
Older boats do not have moulded kick bars and scuppers (two drainage holes at the back of the boat) so can be prone to leaking on the joins. Copious amount of marine sikaflex can deal with this problem.
Older boats may not have GRP foils. GRP foils are quicker but aluminium foils are unlikely to impact on your speed as a beginner. GRP foils can always be retrofitted by inserting extra packing in the daggerboard case and rudder stock.
It is always worth checking the weight. Fighting weight for a 29er is 74kg. Any lighter and you must add lead. Any heavier and you are carrying excess weight.
Older masts may suffer from compression. Look at the joins on the mast to see if this problem is present. New masts are expensive! Older masts can also become more flexible - better in wind but less good in light airs.
It is worth having a set of turnbuckle shrouds regardless of the age of your boat. These allow you to change the shroud tension on the water. Very handy!
Always try and buy a really old set of sails with your boat. It’s great to think when you fly through your sails how little an extra hole will damage them. Save the good sails for your second year.
The most important thing is to get out there. Work out your budget, buy a boat and start to enjoy the life of the 29er sailor.
And lastly don’t forget to follow class Instagram @uk29erclassassociation and search on #howtosaila29er. This will bring up lots of videos and tuning tips from Class Coach Niall Myant-Best.