Alex Newton-Southon – Managing Director (Technical) RS Sailing gives an insight into the Technical Development of the RS21 Keelboat.
“It is so exciting to be launching the RS21 here at Boot, Düsseldorf this year. Our design team has been working on the RS21 for the past three years, responding to approaches from several international operations who had looked at existing options and felt a new boat was needed to full fill their requirements.
The RS21 is actually quite separated from other small keelboats in a perceived crowded market. The boat responds to the need for a progressive, simple and affordable solution for keelboat clubs that increasingly see the opportunity for fleet ownership, league competition and training. Pay-as-you-go sailing. Personally, I wanted to create a boat which also looks fresh, up to date and represents what our brand stands for. Simplicity and usability can also look appealing.
The RS21 is specifically designed for fleet purchase, with attributes that will appeal to individual buyers as well. It puts close racing over ultimate performance. Convenient ownership over complexity. It maximises low maintenance, comfortable ergonomics, value, and of course pure sailing enjoyment.
High stability is something that we have learned about and maximised on a number of our boats. An emphasis has been placed on user friendliness in all aspects for the design. High form stability and almost 50% ballast ratio provide easy handling and enjoyable performance.
Distinct chines contribute to the form stability, shed water and lead to a drier ride for the crew. The balanced rocker shape gives good all round performance across the wind range.
The keel can be raised using a removable internal crane – or even fully removed for transport.
This allows boats to be efficiently multi-stacked on a trailer or truck for initial delivery and transport to events – reducing the carbon footprint and improving sustainability aspects so we can stack 6 boats in a 40ft container, which is unheard of for a boat this size.
The deck design gives plenty of space for four sailors, while the layout ensures the boat could be handled by only two. It maximises flexibility for both racing and training removing common issues associated with club competition. A lot of effort has been put into creating space for every team member on board so every sailor will have a roll and will directly contribute to the sailing experience of team.
RS Sailing is committed to building on the sustainability of our boats and operations. We care about the future of the planet and its oceans for the next generations of sailors. Following the testing of sustainable materials for use in composite hulls, the RS21 was designed to incorporate eco-friendly materials into the construction – Bio-derived resins and recycled core materials mean the RS21 leads the way in one-design keelboat production. And we are also committed to evolving the specifications as materials improve their sustainability credentials.
We have been working with world leading electric motor brand Torqeedo to create an integrated electric motor option. The deck design incorporates an innovative retracting sail-drive system which is incredibly convenient, clean and creates no drag during sailing. It is an environmentally friendly solution to get you home when the wind drops.
We have also worked with Scanstrut to develop bespoke electrical components. Together we recently won the 2017 Overall Dame Award for the electronics for our para sailing equipment for our RS Venture Connect keelboat, so this partnership has already proved successful.
Another exciting area that will evolve for the RS21 is the innovative automated performance data capture that can bring people together, assist with learning and create a community that will add social value – as it does in other aspects of our lives. Scanstrut is working with us to equip each RS21 with its own data logger sending info to a remote online site – together with a set of innovative racing and performance electronics options. You will be able to see more than just seeing speed and depth using today’s technology.
All the above features, and many more, have been incorporated into a boat that has been designed, from the outset, to be highly efficient to manufacture and equip. Affordability, of both initial purchase and cost effective operation, has been a key goal throughout the development process. Attractive club charter fees or realistic syndicate costs will make the RS21 a financially appealing proposition. (How much does it cost?)
RS Sailing wants to be the best partner for the sport. That means that we want to service all sailing federations, clubs and schools – take complexity out of the sport where we can. Creating a modern, no-nonsense boat with smart features the RS21 fits exactly with this objective. A boat that will make access to sailing easier, affordable and help build participation beyond the existing committed enthusiasts.