Considered a staple of one design keelboat racing, the RS21 is used by clubs and individuals alike, for everything ranging from top international events to Wednesday night racing. Given its popularity and continued growth, it comes as no surprise that the RS21 is attracting the attention of a new, growing group of sailors, youth multihanded sailors.
Multihanded youth sailing has been around for a while, about 100 years to be exact. In 1921, Commodore Herbert Sears of Eastern Yacht Club held the first-ever Sears Cup, a competition of Junior sailors across Massachusetts competing in multihanded boats. Throughout the years, the event has grown in scope and size; today’s event sees sailors from across the country competing for the illustrious Cup. It was only fitting that this year, for the historic 100th year of the Sears Cup, racers will be competing in the RS21
Interest and participation in youth multihanded keelboat sailing has seen remarkable growth since the first running of the Sears Cup a century ago, especially in the last decade. More and more youth programs and camps are including keelboat sailing instruction as part of their program offerings. This has created a whole new generation of competitive keelboat sailors. In the last ten years new events, such as the J/70 Youth Championship and The Rose Cup, have emerged to meet the demand for junior keelboat sailing. Crucial to the success of youth keelboat sailing is finding boats that are fast and responsive, without overpowering young sailors.
The RS21 was designed to be a club keelboat for everyone, to be both exciting and well balanced. This makes it an obvious choice for youth sailors. The boat’s ergonomic design means it can plane at 11-12 knots while maintaining stability and is responsive to roll tacking and gybing. A large open cockpit, with minimal obstructions, comfortably fits 4+ crew and reduces bruising. Low sheet loads make it easy for youth sailors to trim and ease, and reefable packages are available to fit different crew weights and sizes. Its versatility and extremely reasonable cost make it a high-value option for clubs and individuals.
Though the RS21 is poised and ready to bring youth keelboat racing to the next level, the history of behind junior multihanded sailing has not been forgotten. The boat fits Commodore Sear’s original goal of promoting youth keelboat sailing while continuing its trailblazing path in a new era of competitive keelboat racing.