THE RS AERO ONE DESIGN, SINGLE-HANDED RACING DINGHY
(Spelling fixes and minor edits April 19, 8am EST)
I was highly impressed with the RS Aero. Here a quick summary that I will expand on soon. The Aero has a number of unique attributes that no other single handed one design has. The boat was clearly FAR better thought out than any other ‘modern” single-handed racing dinghies that I have sailed to date. In some ways, the RS Aero was superior to an almost embarrassing degree.
- The all up weight. 66 lbs all up vs. 125 for the Laser and the M14. That is a game changer not only in both beach and car top handling but especially in performance, liveliness, and simply thrill of sailing the boat. With the RS Aero, every small body movement and trim adjustment was rewarded with instantaneous feedback and far more exciting results.
- The main halyard. The ability to raise the mast separately from the sail is very convenient. Lifting a sizeable full batten rig (M14) or massive Laser aluminum rig in strong wings, or even light winds with a smaller sailor is a feat of strength that I can personally do without. Rigging the RS Aero is relaxed and comfortable. It feels much more intelligent than the human feat of strength required in the Laser and M14.
- Spar quality. The quality and fit and finish of the RS Aero spar makes the others look crude (to put it gently) in comparison. The RS aero spar and boom design is brilliant from both an engineering and build quality perspective. The M14 spar isn’t any lighter than the Laser. The RS Aero team clearly engineered quality, durability and meaningful weight savings into their spar package.
- Sailing position comfort. Again, a game changer. I find the small difference between the deck and floor height in the M14 to be very awkward, also the colossal cockpit makes it a long step between sides when tacking and this can cause the sailor to become unstable and fall. That can make maneuvers awkward. This is one advantage of a Laser over the M14, its easier to control the boat from a seating position perspective. The Aero offers a significant comfort improvement over the Laser in terms of comfort and stability which is, again, one of the few strong characteristics of the Laser.
- Dacron sail (5, 7 and 9 meters). The dacron sail shapes beautifully around the significant bend of the free-standing mast and is very forgiving. Mylar is an abysmal material choice for a free-standing rig (the M14’s full battens help but the rig is then heavy again) as it is unable to stretch and gets quite distorted in high (or very low) winds where the optimal prebend is lowest. Laser offers only a 5 and 7-meter sail. The nine makes the Aero a fantastic boat for a 200-240 lb sailor recreationally.
- Rigging. RS Aero is simple and brilliant. A step above the others who simply seem to copy the Laser setup. I love the RS Aero rigging and control lines.
- Speed and Excitement. Unmatched. We blew the Olympic Finns sailing nearby away with ease upwind. In a breeze, downwind, the RS Aero is so superior that it is in a class all by itself. #Syonara
- Stackability. The boat is designed to be stackable (the bottom of the hull below holds the upper hull in place) making trailering and shipping much more efficient, safer and simple. Again the 66 lb hull weight makes stacking the boats possible and FAR easier. The Laser and the M14 are WAY TO HEAVY. Shame on them in 2018.
- Class Management. The RS Aero is already a deeply supported and strong international class with World’s attendance over 150 boats expected in 2018. Marc Jacobi (here in the USA) is the best fleet coach, supporter, sales manager that I have ever seen in sailing. Great guy.
- PRICE! $1000 cheaper than the M14. Same as a race Laser. FAR better than both. Demo boats readily available for $6800. All of this value makes the RS Aero a complete NO BRAINER. What are we waiting for? Life is too short to sail Lasers forever. The time has come to put Lasers out to pasture.
Summary: The RS Aero is the best single-handed dinghy that I have ever sailed, by far, PERIOD.
More photo’s soon as well.
March 20, 2018