By Ben Cooper – RS700 legend & epic blog writer
My love affair with the RS700 began in the same vein as most youthful tryst. A sideways glance, double take, hot flush and deep down knowing that one day I had to have one in my life. It wasn’t down to one particular thing, but more of a combination of elements that generated a first attraction that lead to a growing desire and understanding that this boat would fulfill all my sailing requirements
I first started way back in 2004 i think with an old boat, 724 i think it was. I capsized a lot. Really a lot. I spent all winter sailing from Lymington crashing backwards and forwards until I dragged some form of muscle memory from my aching limbs to be in a position to be able to confidently sail around the course without being a hindrance. The first step on the road to satisfaction. It doesn’t sound like fun, but it was. The feeling of acceleration on the bear away, and then again when the kite popped overcame any frustration with my incompetence.
The worst thing? I got wet and tired. That was it.
Don’t forget people go swimming for a sport, and get wet and tired also. I got to go sailing in between swims which was a win for me.
Honestly, it only took around 5 months to become proficient and then it was time for an upgrade.
Thanks to RS, I was offered a good deal to part exchange with a new boat, and had the most incredible few years racing around the circuit, trips to Lake Como and Lake Garda (a must) and all over the country having a great time.
The double USP of having a superb boat and also the backing and infrastructure of the other RS classes offered something quite unique, at all of the major events there are families, generations and genders racing that gives quite a carnival atmosphere. Let’s face it, it is holiday time after all, not a professional sport.
I was taken away for a few years with work and house renovation, then as grey slivers appeared on the hairline, it was time to get back on the horse, and so bought last year a low budget 700 (844) to put some elbow grease into and rejoin the circuit for 2020.
I managed one event, the inlands, where although a bit of a gusty affair. There was some muscle memory lurking in there, and with the help and advice of my fellow competitors, it was a very enjoyable event and I did get in the way very much.
The dreaded virus has taken most of that away, but 2021 I am sure it will restart again. I have another winter to crash around and discover my love of swimming ready for the season.
For anyone looking for a challenge, without having to spend more than the car towing it, the RS700 has to be, without a doubt, the most bang for buck dinghy available. Second hand prices are in the region of £2000 – £4,000, a good second hand boat, with new rope, new sails and cover would cost no more than £5,000 and be more than capable of winning a championship. What other classes offer that, and free swimming lessons?