RS Sailing are passionate about inspiring young sailors into a lifetime in our sport, and we are so proud that so many of our Classes have a thriving youth scene.
With the RS Aero, we took it one step further; designed from inception to maximise the use of lightweight materials and have the flexibility to use multiple rigs, the RS Aero is the perfect platform for Youth sailors. They can hone their boat handling skills in a dinghy that allows them to thrive at racing the boat, not fight it around the race track.
This blog below talks about the boat, the Class Association and the Youth Program.
The British-built RS Aero hull is light – just 32 kgs to be precise, that’s 3kgs lighter than your average Optimist.
The light hull means two things; firstly that the sailing experience is more skiff-like. She’s skitty but so smooth and in an awe-inspiring way. The RS Aero is incredibly rewarding to sail, she still requires a firm hand in a breeze, but as soon as you step away from survival sailing, there’s something so satisfying about a boat that is truly responsive to your body weight – that pops onto the plane with a flick of the shoulders, that has a deck specifically designed for a better hiking angle, and that effortlessly skips downwind with the vibes of an RS800.
Secondly, as you transition into youth classes, the hull of the boat usually gets heavier, meaning that righting the boat from a capsize can be really challenging and dragging it up and down the beach is a workout in itself. Not with the RS Aero. Sailors can enjoy long days on the water as they’re not constantly battling with a heavy-dated piece of kit. Capsizing is much easier to recover, which builds sailors’ confidence to take on the breeze on those big days.
The RS Aero has four rigs, the 5, 6, 7 and 9, which roughly translates to the sail area, the spars are carbon, and they’re flexible and robust – they look awesome too. Even with the smallest RS Aero rig the sail-area to hull-weight ratio is significantly higher than most existing hiking single-handers, due to the incredible light weight of the RS Aero. So even the RS Aero 5 enjoys the amazingly responsive feel that makes the boat so exciting. The tracked mast and halyard are more practical than a sleeved luff because it’s much easier when stepping the mast in a breeze for smaller sailors and suiting full-length top battens.
The rig is positioned well forward in the boat, providing a nicely balanced helm and a central mainsheet system offers light sheet loads with zero risk of snagging the transom in tacks and gybes.
The top section is identical on each boat, and you just change your bottom section depending on your rig size. There’s a kicker, downhaul, outhaul, mainsheet bridle, mainsheet and a halyard to play with. The controls have been designed ergonomically so that changing gear is effortless. This promotes continuous tweaking and curious sailors.
The sails are dacron, they have a balanced natural sail shape which completely removes weather helm, and the controls have enough range in them for clear mode setups. Whether you are looking to point high past the competition or power through below them, the RS Aero has genuine modes. A worry with any new boat is being able to handle it in a breeze, especially for lighter youth sailors, but the RS Aero can depower incredibly well. The sails are made by North Sails, who are renowned around the industry, the sails are made of a thick cloth, making them really durable and ensuring they maintain their shape for a longer period allowing you to use your sail for seasons rather than just a handful of events.
The foils on an RS Aero really work. They are so balanced it takes some time for transitioning Junior sailors to get used to them. The daggerboard is glass/carbon construction from CNC milled tooling, technically developed to reduce downwind drag whilst still generating enough lift upwind. Junior sailors are constantly coached to use their body weight instead of their foils which is usually pretty challenging when the hull is so heavy in comparison to the sailor. The RS Aero is almost the opposite, your body weight as a sailor is heavier than the hull and rig meaning any movements you make directly affect the hull. From roll tacks that would make your old coaches whoop, actually rocking the boat upwind in waves and heeling the boat on top of you like a boss around the windward mark – The RS Aero is all about feel and balancing yourself with the rig.
If our word doesn’t do it for you, the World Sailing Technical Committee were blown away with the RS Aero at the Olympic Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy Equipment trials, she’s currently the undeniable best single-hander in the world! One of the most interesting summaries by the Evaluation Panel was point 4.6 Quality Evaluation where they concluded:
“RS Aero’s finished product exceeded all others in terms of quality and durability. The hardware and systems are well designed to function easily for the sailor and are proven in international competition. The spars are built to a specification and quality control standard that is producing consistent equipment for this international class. The lightweight hull is engineered with modern materials and modern composite building expertise bringing consistency of manufacture that is performing in the current marketplace. These have yet to experience Olympic competition however their World Championships were held in 2018 in high winds and waves at the London 2012 Olympic Venue with no breakage reported. The class has single source of supply for all parts. The hull production is single source in a high technology composite facility which is not exclusively building boats”.
As with all our classes at RS, we try to remove the ‘Arms Race’. We like the best sailors on the water to win, not those with the deepest pockets. 7-year-old boats are as competitive as brand new boats, impeccable build quality to ISO:9001 and the clever use of carbon fibre, epoxy resin and woven glass throughout the hull ensures that the RS Aero remains stiff and durable for decades.
Another bonus is that the second-hand market in the RS Aero is fierce because the boats are so popular, they’re snapped up quickly and hold their residual value beyond any of our other classes and the RS Aero’s competitors.
• Length – 4m (13’2″)
• Beam – 1.4m (4’7″)
• Hull weight – 32kg (66lb)
• Hull construction – Carbon fibre, epoxy resin and woven glass
• Mast – 2-part carbon fibre with track & halyard
• Boom – Carbon fibre with centre mainsheet
• Control lines – Split & cleated on either side deck
• RS Aero 5 – 5.2m²
• RS Aero 6 – 6.3m²
• RS Aero 7 – 7.4m²
• RS Aero 9 – 8.9m²
Sailor weight guide
• RS Aero 5: 35 – 65kg
• RS Aero 6: 50 – 75kg
• RS Aero 7: 60 – 85kg
• RS Aero 9: 75 – 100kg
Click here to read even more features and stats.
In the eight years since the RS Aero was launched, there have been over 3,000 RS Aero’s distributed Worldwide. There were just over 150 RS Aero events held worldwide last year, sailors ages ranged from just eleven years old, up to well into their awesome eighties. There is a whole squad of driven youth sailors, a lively group of female sailors, a ton of competitive club warriors and a select few Olympic hopefuls. Whatever your age or sailing ability there’s a group of sailors within the class ready to welcome you.
True to its RS roots, the RS Aero Class race hard but also play hard! From a laid-back BBQ, formal sit-down dinners, fancy dress rampages or just a cold drink in the bar after sailing – there is something for everyone. The RS Aero Class have a great range of events you can easily get involved in to develop your racing prowess, from fleet racing, team racing and stadium racing. The Class has a passionate and incredibly active committee of volunteers that drive the RS Aero Class Association forward. Peter Barton, the International RS Aero Class Manager, works tirelessly coordinating and managing the classes snowballing activity. There is a busy Facebook group and a great forum full of top tips, spare kit and support.
The RS Aero Class is a class for life, full of like-minded sailors. If you’re enjoying your sailing, getting to grips with racing and excited by travelling to events you could be part of the RS Aero Class from your 10th birthday to your 100th. Whether you want to get started with some local regional racing or you’re using the RS Aero to compliment your Olympic campaign, keep thriving as a sailor and an all-round human by joining the RS Aero Class – it will inspire confidence and a commitment to a lifetime in our sport which is all RS wants for its youth sailors.
The Global Youth Program
Youth training programs are developing around the globe with the RS Aero Sweden Youth Team, the RS Aero GBR Youth Team and the RS Aero Italian Youth Team leading the way.
With a whole new set of training camp locations, elite coaches, a busy social program have been introduced for the 2022/2023 program with each weekend focussing on a topic that will form a clear outcome goal for the Teams. The coaching sessions vary from a mixture of boat handling skills, strategy, tactics, boat prep, nutrition, fitness and so much more – with the goal of building up to a summer of epic championship racing.
The second RS Aero Youth World Championship will be held in 2023 and the dates and venue will be announced in just a few weeks’ time. What better way to benchmark a hard year of training on the water and celebrate being part of a fantastic class than by attending the Youth Worlds on the sailing world stage. The event is open to all boats of the RS Aero 5 and RS Aero 6 classes helmed by sailors aged under 22 years on 31st December 2023.
We would really recommend reaching out to either your National Class Association or local RS Dealer for more information about the RS Aero, all of our team are truly passionate about the Class and will give you free and honest advice. Another great place to take a look around is your National Class Association website or social media page to see what events are coming up!
Are you interested in buying your very own RS Aero? Reach out to your local dealer to find out about new and used RS Aero’s that will get you crossing the finish line before you know it.
Make the most of our RS Aero Youth Program Offer, where sailors can claim a free rig when they buy a new RS Aero and confirm they will sign up for your local Class Association and the RS Aero Youth Worlds 2023.