What is a Javelin?

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What is a Javelin

Now this is looking like a whole lot-a fun

The Javelin is a high performance, single trapeze, 14ft two handed skiff raced competitively throughout New Zealand and Australia. It has a powerful, efficient sail plan allow it to exceed speeds of 25 knots and provide an exhilarating “ride” and exciting fleet racing.  The hull weight is light at 70Kg, yet leaves plenty of scope to build in a good level of robustness keeping them ease to maintain.

The restricted development of the Javelin class offers close exciting racing at a very affordable price. The Javelin is a light-weight boat, that carries a large sail area for its size. This combination makes the Javelin a very exciting boat to race and sail.

The Javelin was designed in New Zealand by John Spencer in 1961. Its popularity has seen it become a National Class with fleets throughout New Zealand and Australia.

National, Inter-Provincial, and South Pacific championships provide sailors with good close racing, and social events.

What is a Development Class?

BenSmallA Restricted Development Class is one which has a loose set of rules (or restrictions) which allow the sailor freedom to experiment when building or modify a boat. This freedom allows the class to evolve as individuals find new and innovative ways of making their yachts go faster, and faster!

An example of a Javelin Restriction is:

Rule 8.2 BEAM AT WIDEST POINT: No part of the boat may exceed 1727mm overall beam.

The ability to “try something out” has seen some of yachting’s biggest names design Javelin hulls. IACC designers Bruce Farr, and Ian Murray being notable examples.

A number of our most successful Javelin sailors prefer to build and race Javelins of their own design.

Restrictions and Dimensions

Principal Dimensions (see the Class Rules for more information):

Maximum Length :: 4267mm (14′)Maximum Beam :: 1727mm (5′ 6″)
Minimum Weight :: 70Kg (150lb)
Mast Height (above deck) :: 7160mm (23′ 6″)
Main Sail area :: 11.6m² (125ft²)
Jib area :: 4.6m² (50ft²)
Gennaker area :: 18.6m² (200ft²)

To maintain a class “look and feel” all Javelins must have a hard-chine hull shape and a straight bow stem.

Construction materials are unlimited. Javelins have historically been out of plywood.  More recently they have been built using composite materials, often in a sandwich construction.  The core material is typically foam, with a skin of glass, kevlar or carbon (or a combination thereof.

Where do Javelins Sail

The Javelin is a New Zealand and Australian National Class.

NEW ZEALAND – The Javelin is the only High-Performance Skiff class sailed throughout the entire country. Javelins are sailed from the bottom of the South Island in Dunedin up to Auckland, and the Bay of Islands.

The major centres for Javelin Sailing in New Zealand are Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Gisborne, Wellington and Otago. Javelins are also sailed in Huntly, Taupo, Levin, Whakatane, Taranaki, Manawatu and Te-Anau.

AUSTRALIA -The Javelin is sailed in Australia in Victoria and Western Australia.

For information about Javelins sailing in your area ring one of the New Zealand or Australian contacts

How much is it going to cost

The Javelin is the most affordable of all the high performance racing dinghies.

In New Zealand a National Champion winning boat sells for $7,000 – $10,000, with highly competitive boats selling for $3,000 – $7,000. This price generally includes a road and beach trailer, the boat and a quantity of spare sails and other gear.

brand new boat, with carbon mast, carbon foils, and all the flash stuff, will set you back around $18,000. Older less competitive boats can be picked up for $500 – $2,500. These older boats are good for those new to Javelins to get a feel for the class without the extra outlay required for a newer boat.

These prices compare very well with other centre-board dinghies. If you are looking for maximum speed and enjoyment at an affordable price why look any further, have a look at our Boats for Sale listings

Who sails Javelins

Brotherhood of the Sharp EndThe Javelin attracts a variety of people of various ages. Occupations range from Bank Managers, Farmers, Engineers and Carpenters to Sail Makers, Boat Builders and Spar-Makers.

Because its not an Olympic class, the Javelin remains affordable, not only to purchase but also to keep in race winning condition. You also don’t have to worry about being beaten by someone who sails professionally and trains all day.

Although it’s a high performance boat, the Javelin caters for a wide age range. Current sailor’s ages range from around 17 to more than 60. The ability to configure your boat to your budget, fitness and ability means that the older guys are still able to win and teach the younger sailors a thing or to.

The class is especially attractive to those in their early 20’s, cheap fast racing, good competitions, social events and constant challenges are major incentives.

High Performance

The Javelin is NOT a family dinghy for day sailing! The combination of a light weight planing hull design and generous sail area make the Javelin a fast, challenging and exhilarating boat to sail.

A Javelin will plane up-wind in 10kts of wind speed, when 3-sail reaching using a Gennaker speeds in excess of 20kts are readily achievable. Although high-powered the Javelin can be sailed up to about 30 knots of true wind speed

The Javelin is quite a stable boat at speed, however it does require a pretty experienced crew to get the most out of it around a race track on a gusty day. High speed capsizes are inevitable every now and then and make for some pretty entertaining stories when the racing’s over.


A major attraction of the Javelin is the variety of competitions in which you can compete. National and Regional championships are held in New Zealand and Australia, and every two years both sides of the Tasman clash with the South Pacific titles. See the Racing & Competitions section for more information.

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