RS Aero wins 2024 Olympic Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy Equipment trials
(Reprinted with thanks to Yachts and Yachting)by Mark Jardine 3 May 16:19 BST
The RS Aero has won World Sailing's Equipment trials (Sea Trials) for the 2024 Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy Event. The four boats tested were the D-Zero, Laser, Melges 14 and RS Aero.
The Evaluation Panel met multiple times via web conference and spent five days together between the 11th & 15th March during the Sea Trials hosted at the Real Club Naútico de Valencia, in Spain, evaluating the equipment options.
The Evaluation Panel developed a scoring matrix against which the equipment options were scored based on the evaluation criteria for the event. In this the RS Aero scored 80%, the Laser 69%, the Melges 14 54% and the D-Zero 52%.
The RS Aero was launched in 2014 after three years of development by Jo Richards and the RS Team.
RS Sailing's Alex Newton-Southon, CEO - Design & Technologies, said on hearing the news:
"RS Sailing is delighted that the RS Aero is the clear overall top scorer in the World Sailing Evaluation Panel report into Equipment for the Olympic Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy Event.
"We are impressed by the comprehensive report and thoroughness of the Evaluation Panel in conducting the process and proud of the recognition that the RS Aero received in all areas, including that the RS Aero exceeded all others in terms of quality and durability.
"We are passionate about the future, not just about RS Sailing, but also about the sport itself. We love sailing!"
The Evaluation Panel's summary on the RS Aero was:
The equipment is deemed suitable for Olympic competition. The boat was described as fun, fast and appealing with simple and well executed concepts which were appreciated by the MNA* sailors.
The light hull (30kg) requires sensitive boat handling and was considered by the sailors as having the potential to reward higher sailing skills.
The design is simple and well thought out for shipping, saving space when stacking hulls for transport. Its light weight and its size make it attractive and suitable for the youth pathway.
The hull is engineered with modern materials and production methods. All fiber is CNC cut, the quantity of material is optimized and proven to be effective and there are strict controls on the building processes monitoring the production to a high level of standardization.
Mass production is already established with a high-end quality product. Quality was recognized by the MNA sailors and considered among the highest in terms of value for money. The builder is in a satisfactory position to produce and deliver boats in a reasonable timescale.
The boat pricing information is credible, proposing an open book pricing, where the price is driven by a formula to be monitored by World Sailing accounting for all factors.
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.
The next step is the World Sailing Mid-Year Conference where the World Council will vote on keeping the existing equipment or taking the advice of the Evaluation Panel. This takes place on the 19th May in London.
* MNA Member National Authority
Written by Mark Jardine – YachtsandYachting.com