“20 Years of Awesome” RS Sailing reaches 20-year Anniversary
2014 sees the 20th Anniversary of the sailboat brand RS Sailing, with boats suitable for learning and training right up to high performance skiff sailing – and all ages and sailing styles in between.
It all began with a group of sailors sat on a sea wall discussing the fact that there were many developments in sailboat design and construction, but only a few “exotic” classes using them, so an opportunity existed to create new classes that moved the game forward for many more sailors. The vision was born to use these advances to develop boats that would make higher performance, more exciting boats, more accessible.
RS Sailing decided to launch two new classes at the same time for maximum impact, despite limited resources. Development teams were assembled consisting of the designers, hull manufacturers, hardware suppliers and Hyde Sails as sailmaker – all overseen by Nick Peters, who retired from RS Sailing just last year. This has proven to be really successful and the development process has never changed – only the team has evolved and grown.
The RS400 and RS600 were the first two boats; developed through 1993 and launched at the London Boat Show in January 1994. The reaction to both boats was so exciting with orders placed immediately and incredible enthusiasm from a whole range of sailors. A number of them are still involved today – one of the very first guys to buy a 400 ordered yet another new one just last week. We love that.
Another element to the RS vision was to create events that were fantastic to be part of from both sailing and social perspectives, whether you were at the front, middle or back of the fleet. The RS racing circuits, awesome people and the camaraderie have, from the outset, played a huge part in the RS story. Even at the highest level, both in RS adult and junior classes, there is a spirit of competition while having a good time, helping others improve and socialising without experience level barriers. The first National Championships were at Hayling Island and saw about sixty boats come together for the first true RS festival of all that we all love about small boat sailing – and the die was cast.
Following the successful introduction of the RS400 and 600 classes we added boats to the range, filling niches where development had been relatively static. These were all performance racing boats, mainly sold in the UK, with the RS200 particularly strong – currently the UK’s strongest adult double-handed class, highly competitive and with an incredible reputation for lively events afloat and ashore.
In 2002 the market was broadened with the first rotomoulded multi-purpose boat that would have training and recreational markets, as well as building a junior racing Class – the RS Feva was born late in 2003.
These broader markets gave the opportunity to begin to build the RS Sailing international dealer network. As the network has grown and the RS range become more established, international sales have increased rapidly – now representing well over 60% of our sales, with RS dealers in around 40 countries.
The last ten years has seen steady expansion to the range of multi purpose boats such as the RS Tera, a superb entry level junior single-hander, inspiring young sailors in a truly exciting, affordable and durable boat. The RS Feva became RS Sailing’s most successful Class and the world’s best selling two person sailboat every year since 2006. Feva World Championships attract approaching 200 boats and the Class is still rapidly expanding into new regions – North America being one of the latest. Just last week the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club ordered their first fleet and the first shipment of Fevas left for Qatar.
Several RS designs have earned ISAF Class status and we are incredibly proud that our boats have been selected by sailing programmes, including National Sailing Authorities, across the world for projects to help build sailing participation.
Excitement and momentum is still brewing at RS HQ as the launch of a boat for a group of sailors not catered for until now kick started 2014. The RS Venture Keel with its Sailability equipment options should genuinely help more sailors get afloat. The interchangeable gear means the boat can be used by able-bodied sailors in the morning and set up in Sailability mode in the afternoon – a major advantage for many clubs and sailing centres, echoed by the gratifying response from the Sailability community.
Martin Wadhams, Managing Director of RS Sailing commented, “It has been a privilege to work with so many great people in creating and building the RS brand over the last 20 years and to make so many good friends among the amazing RS sailing community. Right now we are absolutely flat–out delivering boats to destinations all over the world and the next generation of RS sailors. Awesome. “
The latest RS development could be the biggest Class of all. The RS Aero is, in many ways, a 21st century Laser. And just like the first RS boats, its key features use further developments in technology to define its reason for being – and deliver a “full size” single-hander that weighs the same as an Optimist! You can easily imagine just how exciting and responsive that feels. Over three years of development and through four versions of the hull, many sailors have given feedback – from club sailors to Ben Ainslie…. and nearly all of them have said they want one. The RS Aero will be unveiled at the RYA Dinghy Show in London 1-2 March 2014.
From: RS Sailing North America
RS Aero Lift‐off and North America Launch Information
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 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 – 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 & 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 3 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 www.rssailing.com
The press will have access to RS Aero in the UK only initially – many thanks for your initial contacts to arrange a sail –US based equipment will land mid Summer and a further announcement will be made of press sailing opportunities
Please stay tuned for further details on the launch pricing and offer. Watch the site: RSsailing.com for the latest information, photos and UK press releases.
RS boats are available in every part of North America.
North America is represented by over 35 dealers, including these primary distributors.
The Boat Locker, West Coast Sailing, Fogh Marine, KO Sailing.
For further info and queries please contact
RS Sailing North America
US Cell: (203) 308 5511
US Switchboard: (203) 212 9411
“20 Years of Awesome” RS Sailing reaches 20-year Anniversary