Following several years of development testing four different hull variations and numerous rig, foil and layout options, RS Sailing unveiled what could become one of the most important new sailboats of this era at the Suzuki RYA Dinghy Show in London – the RS Aero.
In many ways you can think of the RS Aero as a 21st century Laser – with the most fundamental difference being ultra-light weight. A full size single hander that, amazingly, weighs 30kg - the same as an Optimist.
Every dinghy sailor can imagine how that changes the game. Sail the boat and you quickly realise you underestimated it. From the exhilaration on the water, to the sheer user-friendliness ashore, the RS Aero re-sets 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 roof-rack with ease.
Ultra-light weight means the hull form and rigs need not be extreme, so the RS Aero is utterly exciting without being 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, as per the Laser, has been envisaged from the start to cover the desired sailor range – RS Aero 5 (youths) – RS Aero 7 (women and light men) – RS Aero 9 (men). All spars are carbon fibre, 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 stand at Alexandra Palace 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 fibre in the hull and all-carbon spars, the price will be close to that of a Laser.
UK roll-out of the RS Aero will take place first and a demo tour begins next weekend. Orders are now being taken with a special launch price available on the first 100 boats – well over half of which have already been reserved.
All through development, the reaction has been similar. From weekend warriors to discerning professionals, the RS Aero re-ignites passion for sailing in its purest, least complicated form. With RS Sailing’s global distribution network, worldwide success seems assured.
Further information about the complex thinking behind the RS Aero’s beautiful simplicity is available from RS Sailing, with RS Aero web pages now live and the team truly excited to talk to you about the boat. RS Sailing