The RS Zest has been designed as teaching boat through and through, we spoke to many key players in the industry worldwide and ask what were the pit falls of the current boats on the market. We looked at the key challenges from both a student and instructor point of view, this then created the building blocks for our design brief for the RS Zest.

Design team:

Jo Richards – Designer of some of our most successful boats in the range including the RS Aero and RS Quest as well as one of the most successful training boats in the past, the Laser Pico.

Alex Newton Southern – Internal RS Design lead and Managing Director: Alex has had a key role in many of our latest range ensuring the RS Sailing values and continuity stay relevant.

Steve Dean – I am responsible for the training sector within RS Sailing, I am an RYA Coach Assessor and therefore bring real life experiences to the design team having used these types of boats on the front line for many years.

Problems we wanted to solve:
Feedback gained from all the above helped us create 10 key issues we wanted to solve:

• Daggerboards are a hindrance in a training environment
• Single handed training boats are sailed double up 80% time! The crew members experience is often sat on the floor in the front of the boat.
• Can these boats take the extra crew weight (Do they nose dive with a crew member)
• Boom heights are on the low side for an adult or tall teenager
• Stepping mast can be a bit of an issue with students not correctly engaging mast gates. Some systems can be dangerous with a vertical mast step (As opposed to foot in and rock forward), which is not ideal with beginners, especially in stronger winds
• Weather helm! Students unable to properly secure rudders in the correct position
• Until a boat capsizes it should be relatively dry, self-draining and minimise spray
• A quicker way to remove the jibs on the water, when in use.
• Mainsheet getting caught around rudder during manoeuvres or when rigging up
• Towing from transom often leads to use of drainage flaps as a secure point, this inevitably break regularly.

The RS Zest design:
Here are the solutions we have implemented into the RS Zest design:

• The RS Zest has a centreboard which is much more sensible for launching and landing
• The RS Zest has a fuller bow to take the extra crew loads and a proper crew space where one or two crew members can sit on the side of the boat.
• We have raised the boom height by 4 inches which makes for more open feel to cockpit and reduces the chances of those bumps on the head.
• We designed a safety system that cradles the mast once it has been raised, meaning it will not accidently fall down if the mast gate isn’t secured correctly
• We have installed a cammed system that means the rudder is either up or down, the knock on effect is the helm is super light for the student
• Completely self-draining cockpit and the gunwhales have been specifically designed to disperse spray on a choppy day
• We have a full centre mainsheet system where the mainsheet does not run to the end of the boom. Therefore, the mainsheet is never in a situation to get tangled.
• We have installed 2 towing loops which enable you to rig a bridle across the rudder.

We have had some amazing feedback from the finished product which, goes online in January 2018, with some of the key Centres within the UK and overseas pre-ordering large fleets. As I am writing this article we are currently at just shy of 400 pre-orders 1 month away from the final boat being built, which we are incredibly proud and excited about. Thank you for all of your support!

If your Club or Centre is keen to see what the fuss is all about, then we can help you get in to a boat to trial:

UK – I am building a demo tour for the start of the year which currently has over 100 locations, please get in contact to find out if we can add you to the list or point you to the nearest demo. steve@rssailing.com

EuropeGet in touch with our European dealers to arrange a demo day.

USGet in touch with our US dealers to arrange a demo day.

Rest of the worldGet in touch with our international dealers to arrange a demo day.

Keep up to date with everything RS Zest related as well as our Training range, Follow the @RSTrainingzone Facebook page.

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