Monday, April 11, 2016

RS Aero - First Impressions - Marc Jacobi

Marc Jacobi sailing some boat that is not an RS Aero

Here is a "guest post" from Marc Jacobi, a New England Laser sailor who has recently bought an RS Aero.

Actually it's slightly misleading for me to call this a guest post. More accurately, here is Marc's account of his first trial sail in an RS Aero last November, which I cut and pasted from Marc's Facebook page (with his permission.)

It's also slightly misleading for me to say Marc is a Laser sailor. Marc isn't just any old Laser sailor. Marc is an awesome Laser sailor.  He is a former Olympic campaigner who qualified to sail in every US Laser Olympic Trials in the good old days when the US actually held Olympic trials in the US.

More recently Marc's achievements include...
2015 Laser District 7 Champion
2015 Laser District 10 Champion
2015 Laser World Master Championship - 4th Place
2013 Laser North American Master Champion
2012 Laser US National Master Champion

I could go on, but you get the picture...

Went out for a practice sail in the RS Aero today in 5-10 knots and relatively flat water. Also sailing were two Lasers, one helmed by a very good local Laser sailor. Some observations:

Upwind I could foot or point at will, pulling away in either mode. In the lulls I could ease the vang, stay high and just VMG the hell out of them. In puffs it was hike hard, vang on, smidge downhaul, ease sheet and just accelerate away (or stay up and climb 3-5 degrees higher). The good Laser guy was sailing with the new radial-cut full sail and working very hard, sailing lower but not pulling forward. He mentioned that there was no way he was going to start above me in tomorrow's actual races...

Running it was closer, as my technique was still adjusting. The Aero has a higher aspect ratio main that takes some getting used to, plus the boat is so much lighter. In the puffs I just accelerated away though. Overall, running I would call it about even or Aero slightly ahead. Impressive, considering this was my first time in the Aero and one of the two guys I was trialing against is *very* fast downwind and also a former Olympic campaigner.

Reaching it wasn't close--the Aero blew them away. I was able to sail lower than the two Lasers and stay planing, which allowed me to head up in a lull approaching the leeward mark while they had to sail lower and slower on the final approach. After less than 2 minutes I'd pulled out a 4 BL advantage after starting 1 BL astern and passing them to leeward.

Other observations: - the boat and rig are SO LIGHT pulling around on the dolly! - the blades are nice and quiet (no humming) - the boat accelerates (and decelerates) beautifully - it's more difficult to roll-tack because the hiking strap isn't as high off the deck (making it harder to really fly over to the other side with confidence) - the boom is quite high making it easy to get around without fear of getting conked in the head. - the mid-boom sheeting makes for effortless gybes and roundings - slow-speed sailing is challenging because the boat just stops when hit by waves. I found it easy to get into irons or knocked onto the other tack when maneuvering at low, pre-start-like speeds. - the halyard tail came off the mid-mast mushroom and slapped against the sail going upwind. Minor niggle. - it's really nice not having to step the mast every time, and dropping the sail with the halyard is a breeze at day's end.

The vang on the boat I'm sailing seems to be missing one of the cascade portions so it's quite hard to pull the last bit on. The side-deck-led downhaul and outhaul were a bit fiddly, the shock cord wasn't really doing it's job on the downhaul tail and the outhaul wasn't easing out well when bearing off to a run (McLube-ing the hell out of everything might help).

Overall, the boat was enjoyable, light and quite responsive. Imagine less-skilled sailors might have a bit of a learning curve getting used to such a light boat, but it rewards the effort. Great fun!

Do you think he liked the RS Aero?

By the way, Marc, as well as being an excellent sailor, is always very friendly and helpful and willing to pass on his sailing knowledge to those of us further down the fleet. We are lucky indeed to have him in the RS Aero Class.

Coming soon... another "guest post" from Marc about his attempt to race the RS Aero against Lasers.


Dion Alaniz said...

Very interesting. I'd also be interested in reading Marc's comments on the Aero during a windy (20+ mph) day. And do you know what rig Marc is sailing? 7 or 9?

Tillerman said...

I think Marc was sailing a 7 rig. It was the demo boat from the local CT dealer, The Boat Locker. Marc is planning on having both the 9 and 7 rigs in future.

The next day Marc raced the demo RS Aero against his Laser fleet in "12-3 knots" as he put it. I will post his review of that day shortly.

As far as I know those are the only two days Marc has sailed the RS Aero so far. He bought a second-hand RS Aero from someone in Florida a few weeks ago but has not yet brought it back to CT. So I'm guessing Marc will also be interested to find out what the RS Aero is like on a windy (20+mph) day!

Marc Jacobi said...

Derek: Your comments were too generous; thank you.

Dion: Can't WAIT to get her out in a good blow!

As Derek said, I've only sailed the Aero two afternoons so far. I'm usually slow to pull the trigger on big (for me) purchases, but was so impressed by the boat and its capabilities that I jumped at the opportunity. Am told she will be arriving next week--can't wait!

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