Following the U.K. debut of the RS Aero single-hander last month, demand has been greater than any demand for a new RS boat ever. The first 100 boats sold out literally in a weekend. Even with the manufacturers own lofty expectations for the boat, the worldwide response following the unveiling has been unprecedented. RS Sailing unveiled what could become one of the most important new sailboats of this era. This ultra?light, new generation single-hander has struck a nerve with sailors and ignited excitement around the world. The following outlines the rollout timeline for the RS Aero for North America.
The RS Aero is the 21st century full size single hander weighing just 70lb, that’s similar to an Opti. Every dinghy sailor can imagine how that changes the game. Sail the boat and you quickly realize you underestimated it. From the exhilaration on the water, to the sheer user-friendliness ashore, the RS Aero resets preconceptions: The rush as the boat accelerates the ability to carry it up the beach single-handed – the convenience of youths or small women lifting it onto a roofrack with ease - Truly attainable in all aspects for any sailor.
Ultra?light weight means the hull form and rigs need not be extreme, so the RS Aero is utterly exciting without being at all hard to handle. Wide structural gunwales give a dry ride and make the boat quick and safe to right from capsize.
A three rig system, has been envisaged from the start to cover the desired sailor range – RS Aero 5 (juniors) – RS Aero 7 (women and lighter men) – RS Aero 9 (men). All spars are carbon fiber, with a common top mast and boom for all sails and radically different stiffness lower mast sections. The hull is so light that even the Aero 5 has a higher sail area to weight ratio than most existing single-handers and retains the Aero’s incredibly dynamic feel.
Two v4 pre-production prototypes were on the RS Sailing booth at a London show and caused a storm, with crowds around them all weekend and people lifting the boat and laughing out loud at the surprise. Final stages of the development process are underway, with every aspect of this simple boat having been examined, developed and tested for functionality over fashion, minimal weight, maximum strength and manufacturing efficiency.
Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of the RS Aero is that despite being half the weight, built using epoxy resin and significant amounts of carbon fiber in the hull and all carbon spars, the price will be close to that of a Laser – a launch offer of just $6940 strictly limited to the first 200 boats reserved in North America. Boats will be allocated and sold on a first come/first served basis and can be reserved subject to a trial sail and confirmation with your regional distributor later this summer.
Final development of the RS Aero is concluding after three years of secretive testing and research, four different hull variations, and numerous rig, foil and layout options. The UK, being the home of RS Sailing, will be the first launch country for the boat. Six months after that, the Aero will roll out to other European countries. North America will see their first test boats in the Summer of 2014 and customer orders arriving March 2015. The order book and official purchasing queue for the RS Aero in North America will start March 24, 2014 with a downloadable order form on the website.