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
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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