The Byte is a small one-design sailing dinghy sailed by one person. It is was designed by Canadian Ian Bruce, who also commissioned and marketed the Laser.
The Byte began as an inexpensive version of the Europe dinghy that could target sailors weighing between 45 kilograms and 65 kilograms (100 pounds to 145 pounds).
The Byte is 12 ft (3.7 m) long, 4 ft 3 in (1.3 m) wide and roughly 100 lb (45 kg). The hull is composed of glass reinforced polyester and foam sandwich. The Byte is designed for sailors weighing 120 to 145 lb (54 to 66 kg) although most sailors weighing 90 to 160 lb (41 to 73 kg) should have no problems sailing this boat on a recreational basis. The Byte sail size is only 58 square feet (5.6 m ) making it the ideal boat for those sailors who enjoy the independence and simplicity of a cat rigged boat, such as the Laser, but who are not strong or heavy enough to control a large sail.
The rigging is similar to that of the Laser except one noticeable difference. The traveler is just below the main sheet block and not at the stern of the boat (similar to a Finn or Europe dinghy). This eradicates the chance of the main sheet getting caught on the transom which is a common complaint of the Laser. The sail controls are also "split" and led to both side-decks, again somewhat like a Finn or Europe and allows for more technical adjustments.
The Byte was updated in 2004 with the development of a fully battened sail and two piece carbon-fibre mast. This CII rig has a slightly larger sail made of mylar and similar in appearance to the 29er sails. The new rig is designed to be self-depowering and was a welcome update to the previous byte rig. The inspiration for the new rig and sail was to create an out-of-the-box, cost effective, women's and youth boat.
Although the Byte class operates on numerous continents, its largest fleets in Canada, Singapore, Bermuda, Great Britain and Switzerland.
The Byte CII is one of two boats designated in the ISAF Regulations for use as the Girl's One Person Dinghy for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships. The other is the Laser Radial.
The Byte CII has been used at two Youth World Championships, in Australia and Canada, and was also used in 2010 in the inaugural IOC Youth Olympic Games in Singapore as the single-handed dinghy for both the boys and the girls. The Byte CII has been chosen by ISAF for use as the Boys and Girls one person dinghy at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China.
The Byte CII is produced by Zim Sailing, Rhode Island, USA. Ovington Boats, UK. Nautivela SRL, Milan Italy, Xtreme Sailing Products Singapore, Armada Boats, Sao Paulo, Brazil and by Performance Sailcraft Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia
The long time Asia-Pacific Laser manufacturer Performance Sailcraft Australasia (PSA), after receiving permission from ISAF, acquired the Copyright and worldwide building and marketing rights to the single handed Byte and Byte CII dinghy in 2012.
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