The Megabtye is a fast, yet stable boat that can be raced single-handedly or sailed with a crew. With a cockpit laid out for two people, it is designed to carry a wide range of weight, but many lighter sailors have mastered the ability to de-power the powerful rig, using the well led control lines that manage the Cunningham, Outhaul, and Vang - helping to maximize very controllable boat speed as sailing conditions change.
Heavier sailors can single-handedly sail the Megabyte competitively and comfortably, thanks to its powerful sail plan, deep and spacious cockpit, and high boom. The two-piece carbon fiber mast and 130 lb. (59 kg) hull make the dinghy easy to car top and transport.
The Megabyte was designed by Bruce Farr and Ian Bruce and was selected as Boat of the Year by Sailing World.
About the MEGABYTE
Length: 14' 3" (4.34 m)
Beam: 5' 2" (1.57 m)
Mainsail area: 100 sq.ft. (9.29 m²)
Hull weight: 130 lb. (59 kg)
The adjacent image is of the Megabyte with the MKII rig (fully battened). View the photos of Megabytes with the MK I rig - for comparison
Glass reinforced polyester, foam sandwich
All cockpit fittings are supported by tapped aluminum backing plates
Large inspection hatch to access rear storage space
Safety grabrail for capsize recovery
Double bailers, fore and aft
Sails & Rigging:
Fully battened Mylar sail (MK II rig) or the original and more conventional MK I rig which has the stiffer mast and partially battened sail.
Carbon fiber 2-piece mast - flexible for controlling the power in the sail.
Vang, Outhaul and Cunningham control lines are well led to the cockpit sides.
Padded hiking straps for skipper (optional for crew)
MKI sails can be purchased from Mad Sails, Madison, WI.
MKII sail can be purchased from Zim Sailing.
See the Zim Sailing sponsor page for further information and images on the 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 designed for single-handed sailing. The search began. I read about the Megabyte and the rest is history.
"The Megabyte is suitable for relatively light (see the note below about a relatively light-weight skipper winning the North American Class Championships in a Megabyte) and heavier skippers, including those who don't want to hike anymore. It's been referred to by some as "The Gentleman's Finn." Sounded 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 that made the difference for me. The 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 boat being well-suited to include heavier skippers. I am shy of being heavy 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 and the very responsive behavior of the boat. De-powering techniques are different than what I was accustomed to employing. This boat can provide some thrilling sailing in heavier conditions and remains very responsive in light air - perhaps dispelling the tag of being "The Gentleman's Finn" - it can be a "Maserati" for those seeking that experience.
Holly Fabian is the best person to debunk the heavy/225 lb. weight myth. Holly won the North American Class Championships not once but twice. This enchanting lady is a fraction of 225 lb. and won amidst tough (and sizable) competition.
Bruce Farr and Ian Bruce teamed up to build a new and improved Laser - the Megabyte. The traveler is mounted in the middle of the boat, which allows for a greater throw arc. The Outhaul, Vang and Cunningham control lines are ergonomically lead back to the cockpit. Together the combination allows for a much better looking, user-friendly and very controllable sail plan. The Megabyte is an amazing racer with a Portsmouth rating of 90.80 - a bit faster than a Laser (91.10), but much more comfortable and easier to sail.
Amongst the photos are boats with either the Mark I or Mark II rig (fully-battened sail). Neither rig has a competitive advantage.
Although I sail single-handed, the Megabyte is well suited for two adults or even an adult and a child.
The Megabyte is well-built and well-equipped. Most importantly, Zim Sailing is the builder. Zim is one of the best boat companies I have experienced, for support and parts. I'm very thankful for their timely assistance.
The Megabyte is a great boat! That boat that followed me home has developed into a one-design fleet."