Thursday, April 14, 2016

Racing the RS Aero Against Lasers - Marc Jacobi

On Monday I published a guest post by Marc Jacobi about his first impressions of sailing the RS Aero. The next day he raced the RS Aero with the Laser frostbite fleet at Cedar Point YC in Westport CT. Here is his account of that day....

Can you spot the RS Aero?

Race day!

38 Standard and Radial Lasers vs. 1 RS Aero 7 in 12-3 knots. NW breeze with big phases, holes and puffs; mostly WL courses, except one double-Harry Anderson (look it up). I was hobbled by a top batten that was too tight, making run-to-run gybes pretty much impossible in the light air and thus limiting tactical options downwind.

Since the rest of the fleet was racing "for real," I started at the unfavored boat end of the line in all but one race, tacking immediately to stay out of the way. Rarely was this the right way to go, but the Aero's quick acceleration and option of high or low modes meant I rarely rounded the weather mark out of the top 3.

The Lasers seemed to go by-the-lee better than the Aero, which accelerated faster in puffs and favored less windward heel. The Aero seemed a bit more sticky in traffic but generally held its own on the runs.

The committee set pretty broad first reaches on the one double Harry Anderson course, but the second reaches were on the beam and really showed off the Aero's light weight, excellent blades and superb acceleration. The poor Lasers didn't have a chance and I pulled out to a commanding lead, despite hitting very light winds on the final beat to the finish.

Between races I let a few people try out the boat for a few minutes. Everyone enjoyed the boat's light responsiveness and comfy hiking position.

On yeah: in my second time in the boat, starting at the unfavored end, racing against the 2012 US Laser Olympic rep and other fast locals, my on-the-water scoreline was 2-1-1-1-1-1.

Statement made!

Thanks to Marc for letting me share those two reviews of the RS Aero which he originally posted on Facebook. I hope they are useful to others who may be considering purchasing an RS Aero.


Marc Jacobi said...

That day sold me on the boat. Mine arrives next week!

Tillerman said...

I think the opportunity to be able to try out the boat for a couple of times like that, once in a racing situation, is much more powerful in getting people hooked on the Aero than the more traditional 20 minute demo sail.

torrid said...

Just came back from the sailboat shop to get some Laser parts. Guy told me to sell my Laser by buy an Aero. Been selling a lot of those. Told me to not break my blades as there are no replacements available.

Tillerman said...

Interesting torrid. What part of the world are you from?

There have been stories circulating for some time now about the difficulty of getting Laser parts, and various rumors about how Bruce Kirby's lawsuits against the Laser manufacturer and the Laser class are hurting the Laser scene.

I don't see any negative impact on Laser racing activity where I live (Rhode Island) and, much as I want to see the RS Aero class succeed, I hope it doesn't happen because of a collapse of the Laser class.

Unknown said...

In the UK PY handicap system we reckon the Aero 7 29 points (~3%) faster than the Laser. To put that in perspective we reckon the Laser 41 points (~4%) faster than the Radial.

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