Regular readers of this blog will know that I chose to go the RS Aero route. I placed a deposit on an RS Aero as soon as the order book was opened for North America in March 2014. I was later informed that I had the distinction of placing the first order for an RS Aero in North America. I had an opportunity to try out the RS Aero at Minorca Sailing in October of 2014 and, thanks to Scott Hardy of the Boat Locker, two friends and I were able to borrow a demo RS Aero in March this year so they could try it too. All three of us committed to the RS Aero and took delivery of our boats in May. After a summer of sailing the boat in pursuit races and fleet races, two regattas in Massachusetts, and at the 21 boat North Americans in the Columbia River Gorge, we have no regrets. The RS Aero has totally lived up to and even exceeded our expectations.
2015 RS Aero North Americans
Apparently RS Sailing have sold over 750 RS Aeros worldwide with about 100 delivered in North America. The main concentration of RS Aeros on this continent is in the Pacific North West, but they can also be found in the north-east, Florida, Texas and the Gulf Coast, California, Canada and various inland locations.
Correction 14 Oct 2015 - Apparently I understated the RS Aero sales in North America. There was an RS Sailing North American dealers meeting at the Annapolis Boat Show and one of the dealers posted on Sailing Anarchy today that "close to 120" RS Aeros have been sold.
But what about those other two new-single-handers?
The Devoti D-Zero seems to have done well in the UK. From what I gather some clubs in the UK chose to build D-Zero fleets and others went for the RS Aero. Makes sense. There were 24 D-Zeros at their Inland Championship at Yorkshire Dales SC last weekend. I have not heard of any major marketing activity for the D-Zero in the US but I think a few have been imported by individuals.
2015 Devoti D-Zero UK Inland Championship
Courtesy Paul Hargreaves Photography
And the Melges 14? I hadn't heard much about Melges 14 activity this year until seeing the video below produced by Scuttlebutt at the Annapolis Boat Show.
So why would American sailors want to buy the Melges 14 rather than the Aero or D-Zero? Maybe the video has some answers?
1. It's made in America. Americans are very patriotic people and many sailors would rather support a boat made in the good old USA than one of those foreign countries.
2. It's made by Melges a very well-respected boat building brand, if not known all that well in the dinghy market yet.
3. It's a Sailing World 2016 Boat of the Year Nominee. I have no idea what that really means but it sounds good.
4. Can be sailed by one or two people.
5. Two different sized rigs so "kids or gals" can race the boat.
6. Mylar sail.
7. Carbon rig.
8. Melges' goal is to create a one design racing circuit so people can race Melges 14s around the country.
9. Over 40 boats sold so far.
10. Melges hope to have their first Melges 14 regatta this winter down in Florida.
11. Melges rocks!
Posted by Scuttlebutt Sailing News on Friday, October 9, 2015