The adjustable hikingbench™ for dinghy sailors to exercise and keep race fit
Improve your sailing performance; spend just 10 minutes a day on the Hikingbench™ is the easy way to strengthen your hiking and abdominal core muscles
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The history of hiking out and the use of a hiking bench
Paul Elvstrøm (1928 – 2016) was a Danish sailor, who won four Olympic gold medals and thirteen world titles. He raced in a number of classes, to win four consecutive individual gold medals (1948–60), first time in a Firefly, subsequently in Finns. He transformed dinghy sailing by pioneering the technique of hiking out. He was the first to fix toe-straps in the bottom of his dinghy so that he could hook his feet underneath the straps. This enabled him to get all his body weight from the knees upwards outside the boat. This provided significant leverage to enable the boat to remain level in stronger winds and hence go faster than his competitors. This revolutionised dinghy racing and quickly became the norm in all dinghy classes.
This technique required significant fitness. Elvstrøm built a training bench with toe-straps in his garage to replicate the sitting-out position in his dinghy. He then trained on dry land hiking out on the bench at home.
The Hikingbench™ development story
During the early part of the 2009 sailing season, a prototype Hikingbench™ was shown to RYA Topper squad sailors at a number of Traveller and National events. During this period we noted the sailors' comments and the products have evolved to meet sailors' requirements. From this, the original flat Classic Hikingbench™ for Toppers and Solo was made after extensively testing.
The Hikingbench™ is constructed from anodised aluminium extrusion which provides a strong, yet light weight assembly. The whole unit is held together with ergonomically designed hand wheel nuts which screw onto stainless steel studs. This allows for easy assembly, transport and storage and was awarded Patent registration number 4012136. The Hikingbench range, are fitted with an adjustable toe-strap and seat position, which can be set to match most dinghies.
During September 2009 the hikingbench.com website was launched and the product advertised on Yachts & Yachting. Since then it has been exported all over the World.
We then moved on to create a taller version suitable for the Finn and International OK dinghy known as the Elite Hikingbench™. This needed considerable reinforcement to the structure due to the hiking style and forces involved. Without the help and encouragement from members of the Finn class this would not have been possible. This version is suitable for many other classes with a high freeboard including some of the RS range.
March 2010 the Hikingbench™ range was exhibited at the RYA Dinghy show for the first time. Many sailors from different class associations tried the demonstration models on the stand, and we received enquiries regarding the possibility of mounting the Finn style seat on the Classic Hikingbench™ by RS500 & Supernova owners. This became known as the Classic 119 Hikingbench™.
At the 2011 RYA Dinghy Show we added the Laser Pro Hikingbench™ with a wide seat to match the Laser's deck width. We then went on to develop and improve the range adding the Classic pro™ for the foiling Moth. Both models feature an “Enhanced toe strap mounting for Hikingbench” which was awarded a design Patent registration number 4023026 in January 2012.
This exciting story continued as we were then approached by RS Sailing to develop the RS Aero Hikingbench.
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