You might have noticed, if you have read this blog for a while, that I like Laser sailing. At times I can even be quite passionate about Laser sailing. I love my Laser. And a lot of other people feel the same way. Over 200,000 Lasers have been sold and it's one of the most popular single-handed racing dinghies in the world.
One of the reasons for the Laser's huge success has been its strict one design rules. But I suspect that this will also eventually be the cause of its demise. A boat which has been "frozen" in 1970s technology must always compete with newer designs, newer concepts, newer technology.
So I am realistic to know that the popularity of any sailing class never lasts for ever. One day a boat will come along which will take over the role of the Laser as the leading single-handed racing dinghy in the world. And from time to time I have written posts on this blog speculating what that boat might be.
MX-Ray? Hoot? D-One? What happened to them? I've never even seen one of them in my neck of the woods.
More recently the RS-100 has been doing well in Europe but I don't think that many have been sold in North America. I have sailed the RS-100 when I have been on vacation at Minorca Sailing and it is certainly an exciting little boat. It is so much more fun to sail downwind than a Laser; the asymmetric spinnaker gives a whole new dimension to the experience.
And yet. The price of a new RS-100 in the US is about twice the price of a new Laser. Not many people are going to buy one at that price. Not enough people to make a big dent in the sales of new Lasers anyway.
But at the RYA Dinghy Show in England today, RS-Sailing is launching another single-hander, the RS Aero.
It is a full-size single-hander. 4m long and 1.4m beam.
It only weighs 30kg so one person can carry it up the beach and it is very easy for youths and women to put on a roof rack.
It has three rigs to suit many different sizes and weights of sailor (just like the Laser.)
It's advertised price is £4870. This compares with the top-of-the range Laser XD in the UK at £4,847.
So what's not to like? Sexy, fast new design. Half the weight of the Laser. Same price. All the technical expertise, manufacturing capability and marketing know-how of RS-Sailing behind it.
RS-Sailing are even describing it as a "21st century Laser" in their RS Aero Lift-off press release.
Could this be the Laser killer?
I wonder if Minorca Sailing will have an RS Aero by September?
Watch this space.