Monday, November 16, 2015

Is the RS300 a Cult?


What is the RS300?

Well it's a singlehanded sailing dinghy from RS Sailing - just like the RS Vareo and and the RS Aero and the RS100, boats I have sailed and written about on this blog.

Well perhaps not quite like those boats.

This is what RS Sailing say about the RS300 on their own  website...
The original fast, responsive and challenging single-hander. 
One of the fastest singlehanders with a cult following.


Really? Cult following? What does that mean?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has these definitions for "cult" ...
1. a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous  
2. a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much  
3. a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

 Another cult


Well, I guess we can ignore definition 1.

Surely RS300 sailing isn't a religion?

And are RS300 sailors really dangerous?

RS300 sailors at 2015 UK Inlands
They look mostly harmless to me

But perhaps definitions 2 and 3 are true?

Does the RS300 only have a small group of devoted fans?

And do they admire the RS300 too much? Are they a "cult"?

I have no idea.

The RS300 was Sailboat of the Year in 1998 so it's been around a while. From what I can discern on the interwebs there are not many new boats being sold today. But on the class website I do see a list of over 150 boats and owners registered and I found a 2011 post on a Yachts and Yachting forum that said about 220 boats had been built at that time.

And do the members of the "cult" (if that's what it is) admire their boats too much? Well, it's hard to say. I'm sure a lot of readers of this blog would say that I admire my own boats the Laser and the RS Aero too much. Indeed, I was once accused by a reader of writing too many "up the Laser rants."

So just like me, the members of the RS300 "cult" will praise their boat to high heaven.

For example, the famous Steve Cockerill is quoted by Wikipedia as saying the RS300 is  "one of the most challenging and exciting dinghies I have ever sailed”  as well as "the first boat that I have sailed that is a joy just to sail around the course let alone race."


Steve Cockerill winning the RS300 UK Nationals in 2003

Steve Cockerill
Not an RS300

But then there's the other point of view.

Here is a perspective on the RS300 posted by Ian C on the Dinghy Anarchy thread What is the most difficult boat to sail?

I've sailed Cherubs, campaigned a 12 for a few years, sailed 18s for a couple of years and currently have a 49er. However, the one boat that just seems intent on murdering you given half a chance in a blow, is the RS300. 
From the moment you put it in water, it wants to fall over. Then all the sail controls work in reverse...if you flat out overpowered on a reach, you pull MORE kicker on to lose power. By which time the sail is so flat you can't read it. Going downwind the silly nose wants to bury all the time, and just at the point that you get far enough back to make a difference, you run out of gunwale. I don't know if it's because it's only got one sail and one person in it, so if any of it is in the wrong place it's going to bite, but gybing the thing is a sod. And when you inevitably piss it in, the thing inverts almost immeadiatly and the daggerboard falls out. Getting back in over the front of the wings almost always ends up in squashed bollocks...

...and getting in over the back invovles 10 knot bodysurfing. And don't forget it looks like someone has thrown a kayak and a windsurfer rig into a skip. Pretty, it ain't.
In lighter winds the boat is an absolute joy to sail, it's fully powered up in a F2. But I just hate them in a F4 or more...they just make you look like a total amateur. I'm practice would help (I've only borrowed one a few times) but I'm not sure I'd make it through the pain barrier! 

 Stuart Hopson sailing in the UK RS300 Slalom Championship in 2015

So what do you think?

Is the RS300 a cult?

Should I buy one?


Unknown said...

If you visit the RS 300 Class Assoc.,, you will see an upper sail number of 540.

Tillerman said...

This is true. But the boat registry on the class website doesn't have any sail numbers under 300. Nor do the results of the 2003 UK Nationals.

I think it's very likely that the first boat was sail number 300.

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