The RS Aero felt initially a little unfamiliar but I soon got the hang of it and it wasn't long before it felt like a boat I had been sailing for years. As expected it was a lot of fun on reaches. I tried various reaching angles and it seemed to be easy to get planing on all of them. I can imagine that some recreational sailors will buy an RS Aero just for the pleasure of reaching back and forth as many kite sailors and windsurfers seem to do. At least to my inexperienced eye that's what a lot of them seem to be doing most of the time.
Upwind it was a delight how the narrow bow sliced through the chop. At least in these winds, the gunwales were deflecting all the spray away from my face and body on both reaches and beats. I didn't seem to be able to apply enough cunningham to depower the sail for upwind sailing but it was easy to apply enough vang to achieve the desired effect. The hiking position was very comfortable. Oh god. I'm starting to value "comfort" as a desirable feature in a single-handed dinghy. I must be getting old.
Tacks and gybes were no problem. Tacking from close-hauled to close-hauled was straightforward. Another sailor here who took out an Aero earlier in the day reported that it was hard to tack from reach to reach (without getting it going fast on a close-hauled course first) because the boat lacked sufficient momentum to get through the tack. I didn't try that personally.
I had heard that it felt "uncomfortable" when sailing downwind. My experience was that it's not exactly uncomfortable, just a bit of an unfamiliar position. I found a position that I think I could maintain indefinitely which locked me into the boat and enabled me to balance it easily.
Actually they had to drag me off the water today because some other sailor wanted to try the boat, otherwise I would have been out even longer than the 1 hour 40 minutes or so that I was.
I was very comfortable in the 7 rig in these winds. Felt more like a Laser Radial than a Full Rig in terms of how much effort was required. Suspect I will want a 9 rig in lighter winds and hope to get a chance to test that out soon.
More reports to come on two more test sails with the 9 and 7 rigs in different wind conditions, a capsize recovery evaluation, what I heard about the Aero from other sailors and instructors, and some of my own comments on various aspects of the hardware and boat design.
Watch this space.