Tuesday, July 28, 2015

RS Aero North Americans

This weekend I went out to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon to sail in the first ever RS Aero North Americans.

To be honest I had such a good time and I am still on such a high that if I tried to write a post today on how I feel about the trip, all you would get is a confusing babble of superlatives.

So today, I will just stick to the facts and let pictures tell the story.

The event was sponsored by West Coast Sailing - "the ultimate dinghy sailing store." Here is their fleet of RS Aero charter boats about to head out to the Gorge on Friday. Most of the 22 sailors brought their own boats but those of us who flew in from England, the east coast or Hawaii chartered from West Coast Sailing.

Here we all are watching Peter Barton go over the finer points of how to rig, tune and sail the RS Aero.

And then it was out on the water for two practice sessions racing around a short course with lunch and a debrief in between them. Friday was sunny and hot with the breeze around 15 -20 knots. That's me in 1516.

Saturday was a little cooler with some occasional showers.  We raced on a zig-zag course with two gybe marks. The winds built during the day up to the point where the race committee decided after four races that we should take a break on shore for safety reasons. I heard that the International 14 sailors (who were also holding their NAs at the Gorge) refused to go out again, so racing was abandoned for the day.

Sunday was a mixed bag of winds of various strengths including a near dead calm in the middle of the day. "The weather's never like this here!" we were told. Another four races were completed sailing windward-leeward courses.

Here are Peter Barton 1515 and Dan Falk 1384 at the front of the fleet.

Here is me in 1516 somewhat further back in the fleet. Do I need more vang?

OK. There you have it. Not too many babbling superlatives, I hope.

Coming soon, posts on...

Something I "achieved" on Saturday for the first time in my life, although not really in a good way.

7 best things about the RS Aero North Americans. (Or some other random number.)

13 reasons to go to Oregon and sail the Gorge. (Or some other random number.)

What to say to people who ask you how the Aero compares to the Laser.

What next for the RS Aero in North America?

Oh, so that's how it's supposed to feel?

A brewery review.

Aero aerobatics.

Aero tweaks.


Thanks to Todd Riccardi and Sean Trew for the photos.


Dieharddinghysailor said...

I really wanted to go down for the event (just to watch) as it's only 5 hrs away from me here on Whidbey Island. And would have been great to get a ride in an Aero, and meet a fellow UK dinghy enthusiast (they are a bit thin on the ground here!) Sounds like you had a blast!

Tillerman said...

It was a blast dhds.

And you really ought to try an Aero some time. The good news is that you are not far from Seattle which seems to be building the biggest Aero fleet so far in North America. Email me at tillermeister@gmail.com if you want a name to contact there.

mackconsult said...

I test sailed one recently at VLSC; I am a life long dinghy sailor with lots of laser experience. And I think the Aero is the up and coming replacement boat of the laser. Finally something to replace this 40 year old design that has a great one design class support.

Tillerman said...

"Replacement boat of the Laser." I hear talk like that all the time and I am not sure what it means. Are we saying...

1. The RS Aero will replace the Laser as the Olympic singlehander?
2. The RS Aero will replace the Laser as the most popular racing singlehanded boat in the world?
3. Lasers will no longer be manufactured and sold because of the Aero's success?
4. Sailor Joe Schmoe has decided to sell his Laser and buy an Aero?

4 is happening for sure. Not for me - I am keeping my Laser as well as my Aero. But last weekend I did hear of some people doing this.

1 might happen but, if it does, it's a good many years in the future.

I don't expect to see 2 or 3 in my lifetime.

What do you think?

Peter Barton said...

"Do I need more vang?"
I think you probably do. It is hard to tell from the photo but the boom looks high, the mast straight and the sail full.

Tillerman said...

Thanks Peter for confirming what I thought.

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