The RAD was designed to fill a void in most Junior Sailing Programs between Opti and C420. Many programs were having a hard time with keeping and engaging kids that were either becoming too big, getting lonely, getting bored or just didnt want to skipper an Opti. Historically, Sailing programs had three boats to transition to as the kids developed first an Opti, Sabat, Pram or Dyer Dow; then the first crewed boats ( Blue Jays) simple and affordable, then the premium race boats with everything now the C420.
We needed to fill a this gap and many clubs have tried, but in a terrible economy and no clear momentum for any one class, we decided to use our older C420s and get 2 to 3 kids sailing them no trapeze and without spinnakers (although instructors have let the kids try it all for fun challenges). The Main Sail design is about 28% smaller, had a loose foot for easier rigging and launching, and didnt use a full length batten to help in depowering. We decided to keep the existing Jib design as to not create another purchase requirement.
The design was tested and showed great handling by light crews (150lbs) in 15 knots and in light winds heavier crews (3 kids 240lbs) was still very responsive.
The main concern, after the ability to handle a breeze, was the balance of the boat. The good news was that the standard Jib didnt over-power the boat or drive it off the wind. Its pointing characteristics were marginally effected and noticeable by only the most experienced C420 sailors. We did experiment with raking the mast back a bit and that worked well but felt it almost wasnt needed.
While several Yacht Clubs have been working with the sail, St Francis, Barrington & Sail Newport. Edgartown went into full swing and had and Opti program for 8-to 11 year olds and the a choice of continuing on to Race Team in Optis or going into the RAD program for 12 to 14 year olds and finally transition to C420 for the duration. We believe that the RAD can include 11 year olds as well in the future.
The Kids loved the boat! Almost all wanted to get back out and sail more. Many of the Opti kids who opted not to sail the RAD were asking to go into the RAD program. Light weather and Heavy air alike Big smiles were seen across all kids. Parents throughout the season kept coming in and saying how much their kids just loved sailing now.
We also had the kids rotate skipper and crew positions throughout the sessions to get the experience of working as a team and understanding the roles on a boat. While we did play with the trapeze and the kids did like this option, recommend that at this stage keep it simple and focus on the sailing. The whole program seems to be the perfect next step out of Optis.
Edgartown Yacht Club Race Week.
We had a start at Edgartown Race Week which was a tremendous success. Seven boats were registered and sailed in 15 to 20 knots the first day, down to virtually no wind the second day and the final day moderate breeze in 5 to 12 knots. Good progress in the boat was shown by all teams Capsizes were at a minimum even in the heavy breezes. Many clubs have inquired and are looking into the design for next season.
We expect a few more clubs will launch a program in the coming season and that many
more will experiment with the Sails. We think that The RAD is not only great for Jr Sailing, but for the club budgets, and most importantly for the kids who love the new challenge. It is a brilliant way to use the older C420s and continue building on the success of this boat to develop skilled, well rounded and happy sailors.
For further information on the Edgartown YC program please call
For information on purchasing or trialing the sail please contact
Roland A. Van der Meer
Ph: 650 325 9600 x314