George is a dealer for both RS Sailing and LaserPerformance and, although I have never met him, I gather he is very well respected by his customers as someone who will give them some straight talk about any boat he is offering. Check out his dealership website at http://www.westcoastsailing.net.
He really gets into the details of the features of the RS Aero and how it sails - which is, after all, what we all want to know.
I was wondering about upwind performance in waves and George has the answer…
The boat does not wobble fore and aft as it goes over waves; it feels crisp and connected to the water. With that, if you sit too far back, the transom drags. You need to be at or near the front of the cockpit to get the boat to rotate around your body mass and track over waves.
I was wondering about how easy it is to do capsize recoveries and entries from the water, and George has the answer…
I capsized twice during gybes and found the boat very easy to right. You have to remember when you are in the water next to the boat that you weigh twice as much as it does. I reached in, pulled on the hiking strap, and pulled myself in. The prototype boats didn’t have grab rails, which will make it even easier to recover. The boat is fairly stable throughout the process, I don’t have concerns here.
George does not shy away from criticizing certain aspects of the design that are less than ideal in his view. For example he points out that the outhaul and cunningham are difficult to adjust under load on the prototype boats (apparently being fixed in the production version.)
But all in all it's a very positive review.
Inevitably George is obliged to compare the RS Aero with the Laser. Is it faster than a Laser? Is it going to replace the Laser? Is it the long-awaited "that boat" the one that takes the single-handed market by storm like the Laser did 40 years ago? George's conclusion is probably the wisest thing written yet on this topic.
It’s not a Laser, and I don’t think RS wants it to be. After sailing it and reflecting on my experiences, I’m not sure any sailor would want it to be either.
Exactly. I don't want a boat that's like a Laser. I don't actually want a boat that's "better" than the Laser necessarily. I want a boat that's different from a Laser, that will give me a different sailing experience. If it's more fun on some points of sail that's great. If it's more challenging in some ways that's great too. I don't sail a Laser because it's lacking in challenge; I sail a Laser because it challenges me physically and always leaves me something new to learn and demands techniques that can always be improved.
I'm hoping the RS Aero will do the same.
And I expect to be sailing Lasers for many years too.