2023 is an exciting year for the RS800 class. With a trip to Torbole, Lake Garda for the European Championships on the horizon and fresh energy in the class we are ready to go and keen to showcase what it is all about.
Over Spring 2023 we are pleased to be able to offer multiple ‘Try an RS800’ experiences across Europe. If you are interested in getting a taste of RS800 sailing then please reach out to the relevant contacts:
- 25-26 March @ Arradon, France: Mark Johnson, +33688119769
- 25-26 March @ Monteynard, France: Alexandre Emanuel, +33603393401
- 1-2 April @ Larmor Plage, France: Gilles Peeters, +33760483669
- 7 April @ Lac Du Der, France: Gilles Peeters, +33760483669
- 15-16 April @ Hayling Island Sailing Club, UK: Hugh Shone, email@example.com
- Please note that the HISC date is part of a wider training weekend and so would be a great opportunity to see the UK class in action.
Alternatively, you can fill out this form to quickly express interest in any of the above and we will be in touch: https://forms.gle/R6bh8dgapp3aUvdS7
Ben Palmer has been sailing RS800s for three years and has recently joined the Class Committee to help us better understand our fleet with some recent survey work. There is no better person to talk to when trying to understand the appeal of the boat with current sailors:
Why do people sail RS800s?
“The survey showed that the main reason people get into RS800 sailing is for its raw appeal. It is a cool boat to sail and the majority of sailors enjoy the boat for those champagne sends in 15kts, for the thrill. The boat is also highly accessible for a wide range of sailors and backgrounds. The weight equalization, adjustable racks and differing mainsheet systems cater for different team make-ups. We have mixed teams with female crews and helms; we have sailors who are competing well into their 60s and still competitive. The thrill that the boat can deliver is accessible to a wide range of teams: it truly is accessible skiff sailing.”
How’s the racing?
“The second most influential factor for getting into RS800 sailing was racing with friends. The circuit provides a great way for sailors to race against their mates and get that friendly competition that spurs them on whilst remaining comparatively laid back and relaxed.”
Are venues for the class important?
“Absolutely! One of the critical questions the committee asked was where do the sailors like to go sailing? What was super clear was Garda, Garda, Garda. The RS800 currently travels to Lake Garda every two years for our European Championships and this remains a big appeal for prospective and current sailors. The venue is like no other, with amazing mountain scenery, 15 to 20 kts of warm wind, sunshine, fresh cool lake water and off the water cuisine and social activities to boot. Hitting this top sailing and holiday destination with 80 friends and having an awesome time on and off the water is a major plus for the class. The importance placed on brilliant venues by the class was excellent feedback and I know the committee are working hard at delivering on this moving forward.”
Where do RS800 sailors come from?
“This was super interesting, as the RS800 attracts sailors from every single background; performance skiffs, slow tactical hiking boats, yachts and catamarans. It appeals to everyone. It was not surprising to see the 29er had the small majority and looking at the National Champions of old, lots of them spent some time in the 29er at some point.”
Where are RS800 sailors active?
“The top location is the South East of England with Hayling Island Sailing Club having the most active RS800 fleet. However, second to the South East was France. There is a great RS800 fleet growing rapidly in France led by the amazing Gilles Peters. Growth in the likes of France is in part down to the affordability of the boat due to its strict one design nature. There is a strong second hand market. Old second hand boats are still competitive reflecting the great build quality. I bought my boat for £2.5k, and managed to come 4th at last year’s nationals. That is a lot of boat for your money!”
Any final thoughts?
“I’m pleased we were able to survey the class as it has shown us the key motivations behind owning an RS800 and what is important to the fleet. This will definitely help the committee continue to support existing and new RS800 sailors under those key principles of great venues, great sailing and great friends! Come and join in!”
RS800 Class Association website: https://www.rs800.org/
RS800 Instagram: rs800uk
RS800 YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHx6YnUmwqM&t=337s