Megabyte Class

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Specifications

  • Length: 14' 3" 
  • Beam: 5' 2"
  • Mainsail Area: 100 sq.ft.
  • Hull Weight: 130 lb. 

The Megabtye is a fast, yet stable boat that can be sailed with two crew or raced singlehanded. The boat was designed to carry some “serious weight” with a proper cockpit laid out for two people, but with the simplicity of a single sail. The Megabyte’s lightweight, tapered, carbon fiber mast and battened Mylar sail provide plenty of power when needed, and are easy to depower with well led controls. Sailors well over 200 lbs can singlehand the Megabyte competitively and comfortably thanks to its powerful sail plan, deep cockpit, and high boom. The two piece carbon fiber mast and 130 lb hull make the dinghy easy to car top and transport. The Megabyte was design by Bruce Farr and selected as Boat of the Year by Sailing World in 2000.

Construction

  • Glass reinforced polyester, foam sandwich
  • All cockpit fittings are supported by tapped aluminum backing plates
  • Large inspection hatch to access rear storage space

Hardware

  • Safety grabrail for capsize recovery
  • Double bailers, fore and aft

Sails & Rigging

  • Fully battened Mylar sail
  • Carbon fiber 2 piece mast
  • Vang, outhaul and cunningham controls led to cockpit sides
  • Padded hiking straps for skipper and crew

Testimonials:

The Megabyte as a PHRF racer!? A testimonial from a new Megabyte sailor...

About a year and a half ago I saw a Megabyte for the first time at the Mayor's Cup Regatta in Jefferson City. It was pretty much love at first sight and I talked to Jim Crabtree (who is now our class president) about the boat. He also had nothing but praise for the boat. He has done well with fleet building, and they now have 5 Megabytes in his club. They race One Design on a small smooth water lake. But I wanted to see if this boat could compete against much larger keelboats on Lake Ozarks, which is also notoriously choppy. Normally not a great environment for a dinghy, but my gut told me it would do well racing PHRF.  I asked around a little, but nobody I talked to had tried this before.  So, I bought a used MB (#184) and my 2016 season was a bit of a Megabyte experiment.

Our club sails a mixed PHRF fleet that includes 2 big boats, (a J-35 and a C&C 115) 6 Capri 25's, 2 S2 7.9's and a few others in the 25ft range.

I had been sailing a Santana 20 in this fleet and doing fairly well when I had crew.  But like a lot of

guys in our club, I found it harder and harder to line up crew.  I would sometimes singlehand the Santana, but found I was not competitive in it solo.  The boat is just not set up to singlehand.

For my 2016 season, I decided to try the Megabyte against the keelboats and just see how it would stack up.  We had a wide range of conditions to test the boat.  Our Spring season was very windy and choppy.   I did struggle with the boat in those conditions, but still managed 2nd place overall in the spring series. Then our fall series had mostly lighter than our normal 10-15 kt winds, and I took 1st overall in the lighter conditions.  The boat really surpassed my expectations and was really an eye opener for the guys in our club.

A well crewed J-35 usually takes top spot in our club, and I think they were impressed and surprised that such a small boat can compete against keelboats, and win!

I think this is the boat's niche. PHRF fleets are dwindling all over the country.  Too costly for the average guy, too hard to find crew.  I think there's a lot of guys like me out there, who are coming

out of a keelboat, but still want to race at their local club without the cost and hassle of keeping a larger raceboat.

The Megabyte is an amazing adult sized single handed PHRF racer!  So, for all you keelboat guys out there who are tired of the rounding up crew, think outside the box and try a Megabyte!


Why the Megabyte? A testimonial from the class president...

If a sailor’s best day is the day he sells a boat and his second best day is the day he buys a boat, my life has been filled with joy! Some of my favorites over the past fifty years included the Lightning, Laser, J22 and MC Scow. That was all before I bought a Megabyte.

In search of a great small dingy for a small inland lake I bought a Laser to build a fleet. I had owned Lasers in the past and was familiar with the boat and know no one can dispute the success of this dingy. Life was good, races were won and interest was piqued – everyone wants the boat that wins! Then I blew out my ACL on a weekend trip. Hiking was never the same and folding myself up in the small cockpit on light-wind days was painful.

I wanted a bigger boat but it needed to be a single-handler. The search began. I read about the Megabyte and was interested.

"The Megabyte is for big guys who don't want to hike anymore. They called it 'The Gentleman's Finn.'" Sounds good for a Senior Sailor. I found one in Chicago through my sailing network. It looked good and sailed great! It followed me home.

The Megabyte hull weighs as much as a Laser, but is about 5 inches longer and carries 20 additional square feet of mainsail. The Megabyte's beam is a generous 5-foot, 2-inches-a full 8 inches wider than the Laser. It was this beam, and the accompanying added stability. However, bigger hull allows for a real cockpit, which is more than a foot deep in most areas – instant knee relief!

I was concerned about the references to the 225 lb. design weight of the skipper. I am shy of that weight and thought I would be over-powered. My first regatta entailed two capsizes. However, I found the capsizes were more a result of a lack of experience with a carbon mast and Mylar sail. Depowering techniques are different than what I was accustomed to employing.

Holly Fabian is the best person to debunk the 225 lb. weight myth. Holly won the North American Class Championships not once but twice. This enchanting lady is a fraction of 225 lbs. and won amidst tough (and sizable) competition.

Bruce Farr and Ian Bruce teamed up to build a new and improved Laser. The traveler is mounted in the middle of the boat, which allows for a greater throw arc. The Outhaul, Vang and Cunningham are ergonomically lead back to the cockpit. Together the combination allows for a much better looking, user friendly and more tweakable sail than one finds on other similar boats.

Although I sail singlehanded, the Megabyte is well suited for two adults or even an adult and a child. There is an extra set of hiking straps forward as well as plenty of cockpit room.

The Megabyte is well-built and well-equipped. Most importantly, Zim Sailing is the builder. Zim is one of the best boat companies for support and parts I have experienced. I have been very thankful for their timely assistance and quick responses.

The Megabyte is a great boat! That little boat that followed me home this past spring now has four class friends and interest is growing.