Thursday, October 30, 2014

RS Aero - Impressions in Light Winds

On Wednesday of my first week at Minorca Sailing, I took the RS Aero 9 out for a test sail in winds of about 6-8 knots. Here are my impressions of that experience, based on an email I wrote to some friends that evening...

Sailing the RS Aero 9 in lighter winds felt quite tame compared to my first sail in stronger winds with the 7 rig. I was glad I was in the 9 rig. The 7 would have been kind of boring I think. The experience was probably similar to sailing a full rig Laser in similar conditions. Sorry to report the Aero does not have a magic trick of planing in 6 knots - at least not with a 190lb crew. 
Played around with various downwind sitting positions. 
Did some roll tacks and roll gybes. I think you need to be a bit more gentle with those than with a Laser but it comes naturally to control the flatten in a manner that isn't too aggressive.  
There is definitely a big difference in speed between sailing close-hauled and cracking off 10 degrees or so, even in light conditions. Not sure what is best VMG. I actually spent most of the afternoon sailing quite low, but a Minorca Sailing instructor later told me that he always sails the Aero as high as he can.

 Minorca Sailing instructor explaining VMG

Summing up the experience I think that if this had been my one and only demo in the Aero I would have ended up thinking that it's a perfectly fine boat but that it didn't offer anything special compared to a Laser. Whereas yesterday in stronger winds I was constantly thinking about how much fun it was. I guess that's a message to other people contemplating purchasing an Aero - make sure you sail it in some different wind conditions before you decide.

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