Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How to Discover RS Aero Go Faster Tips

Last Thursday, on the day before racing started at the RS Aerocup on Lake Garda, Peter Barton the RS Aero International Class Manger (and by the way one of the best sailors in the class) ran a clinic for some the sailors.

I have heard Peter give pre-regatta clinics on three occasions over the past two years and every time there is something new to learn. Peter says that the more he races the boat the more his own thinking evolves on what is fast and what is not.

But where is Tillerman?

I wonder whether the attendees at Peter's talk will actually remember of all the information he was imparting?

Only one of the students seems to be taking notes. That guy sitting in the front row wearing a beige cap and showing off a very handsome pair of knees.

Watch out for that guy!

(If he can read his own handwriting.)

Just saying.

Monday, September 26, 2016

RS Aerocup Malcesine - Photos from Day 2

Thanks for SBG Films for these photos from Day 2 of the RS Aerocup on Lake Garda.

Wow! The waves were even bigger than I remembered.

Liina Kolk from Estonia - RS Aero 5 Champion

Karlijn van den Boogaard from the Netherlands. Youngest competitor.

Ben Rolfe from Great Britain. RS Aero 9 champion.

Kate Sargent from Great Britain. A very close second in the RS Aero 5 fleet.

The fleet going downwind. But where is Tillerman?

Oh, there I am. Does this wetsuit make my bum look big?

Mike Saqui from Great Britain. 
One of my closest competitors on the race course.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

RS Aerocup Malcesine 2016 - Photos from Day 1

Photos from Day 1 of the RS Aerocup at Lake Garda - thanks to SBG Films.

Per Christian Bordal from Norway currently leading the 24 boat strong RS Aero 7 fleet with six bullets in seven races after two days of racing.

A start. Where is Tillerman?

Peter Barton GBR (orange visor) RS Aero International Class Manager - lying second in the RS Aero 7 fleet after two days of racing.

Peter Stephinson fron Australia - the guy who developed foils to make the Laser and the Aero fly like a Moth.

The sailor in 1831 looks a lot like Doug Dubois from Park City USA, but he told all the sailors at the dinner on Friday night that his name was Donald Trump and if they let him win a race he promised not to build walls round all their countries and make them pay for it.

Kate Sargent GBR, after two days only one point out of the lead in the RS Aero 5 fleet.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


The view from our hotel at breakfast time.

A light northerly breeze,  which will likely switch to the south around lunchtime and build during the early afternoon. Just like it has every other day. Perfect conditions for RS Aero sailing.

The regatta started yesterday (Friday.)

There was a skippers meeting at 11:30.

After the usual welcome speeches and one good question and several not so good questions from sailors, pizza and little hors d'oeuvres were served, along with some bubbly.

Bubbly at a skippers meeting - 90 minutes before the first race! I didn't have any. Honest!

But I do love Italy.

And so we raced on Lake Garda. The winds built up to about 16 knots during the racing.

I was passing boats upwind.

Boats were passing me downwind.

I tried out some of the things Peter Barton taught us at the clinic. How to set the sail controls to point well going upwind. Different ways to pump going downwind.

I was feeling very mellow.

Between races I just lounged in my Aero and soaked in the view.  This must be the most spectacular sailing location in the world.

After two races I was feeling so mellow - actually a bit tired - I decided to skip the third race and go back to the hotel to find TIllerwoman and have a beer. Or two.

We have bubbly - prosecco - at breakfast too.

Maybe that's why I feel so mellow?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sono andato a vela sul lago di Garda

Today I went sailing on Lake Garda.

It was the one day clinic before the RS Aerocup.

Winds started at around 12 knots and built up to 18 knots during the afternoon.

Lots of sailors capsized. I didn't capsize.

Lots of sailors were faster than me. A few sailors weren't.

At first I felt very clumsy and out of touch with how to sail in waves in medium-strong winds.

Then for a while I found my groove.

I learned something new at the clinic.

Bump bump.

Quiz question: What does the Rolling Stones song Back to Zero have to do with RS Aero sailing?

Castello Scaligero Malcesine - Quiz

Tillerwoman and I are currently staying in Malcesine on Lake Garda in Italy.

That's Malcesine in the foreground in the picture. The prominent castle is the Castello Scaligero. It's been there an awful long time.

I am sailing in a little RS Aero regatta on the lake later in the week, but on Wednesday I did some husbandly sightseeing things with Tillerwoman.

In the afternoon we climbed to the top of the tower at the castle.

We are staying in a hotel on the lakefront a little further up the lake.

Captain JP of the eponymous Captain JP's Log suggested that we have a quiz about what Tillerwoman had for dinner.


What did Tillerwoman have for dessert at dinner on Wednesday this week, and what did she have to drink with it?

Clue #1: The dessert was green.

Clue #2: The drink was clear.

Blame Captain JP.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Oggi in Figura, Domani in Sepoltura

Went for a bit of a stroll with Tillerwoman by the side of the lake this morning.

Saw a couple of these...

And a whole bunch of these...

Hmmm. What should I sail this week?

PS. I think the title of the post is the Italian way of saying, "Tick this off your bucket list while you still can."

Saturday, September 17, 2016

RS Aero Reviews

Where can you get information on-line about a new boat you are thinking of buying?

Well obviously the manufacturer's website is one place, but reviews by other people who have actually sailed the boat can also be a good source of helpful advice. 

So if you are considering buying an RS Aero, here are a number of reviews of the RS Aero published over the last couple of years that might be helpful to you...

May 2014 - Test sailing the RS Aero - the '21st Century Laser' a video review - by Matthew Sheahan of Yachting World

June 2014 - Singlehanded Sailing: The Next Level - by George Yioulos of West Coast Sailing

June 2014 - Musings on the RS Aero - by Mark Riddington (RS300 sailor)

October 2014 - RS Aero Boat Test - by Peter Barton and team in Yachts and Yachting

March 2015 - Testing the D Zero and RS Aero in 20 knots - by Steve Cockerill of Rooster Sailing

September 2016 - The Next Big Thing? - by Dave Reed in Sailing World. Actually this is not so much a review of the boat as a piece about the early adopters of the RS Aero and their motivations.

If you know of any other reviews of the RS Aero, let me know and I will add them the list.

And if you have any questions about the RS Aero that I can answer then please email me and I will do my best to help.

Friday, September 16, 2016

10 Wild, Wacky and Wise Things Said About the RS Aero This Week

Stuff found on the Internet this week...

1. I haven't had a demo. I just went for it because I got a good deal and everyone raves about the boat.

2. What is the cost per pound? About $100? Too pricey till a large used market develops, or you can pop one out of a 3D printer.

3. The boat is phenomenal and the people are great.....once you sail it, you will not want to go back to your Laser.

4. I know Melges is pushing a competing design but I like the look/weight of the Aero.

5. Somebody has to be the first RS Aero buyer in the area and it might as well be you.

6. When you compare the weight of an Aero hull with that of a Laser or Sunfish, all the Aero sailors were sailing half a boat.

7. I find the Aero’s early adopters inspiring. They saw a better boat and knew the soulful satisfaction it would bring.

8. Buy Aeros in threes.

9. Sometimes we just have to take a bigger leap of faith to see the light.

10. I, for one, welcome our new Aero overlords.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday - 10 Years Without a Sunfish in My Life

Enough of all the talk of RS Aeros and photos of RS Aeros and videos of RS Aeros.

Looking back in the Proper Course archives I see that it is 10 years ago this week that I sold my Sunfish and wrote about it at Sold.

It's hard to believe that I was such an enthusiastic Sunfish sailor for so long. I raced it on my local lake and in the North Jersey Series. I went to Sunfish North Americans and Sunfish Midwinters. I was even on the US team at the Sunfish Worlds a few times.

Me (in the middle)  at the 1996 Sunfish Worlds

A better picture of me at the 2000 Sunfish Worlds

I eventually grew tired of the Sunfish after about 16 years and decided to focus on Laser sailing.

Just as I eventually decided to move on from Laser sailing and focus on the RS Aero.

Talking of my last Sunfish which I sold in 2006, strangely enough a sailor at the regatta at Massapoag YC last weekend brought me some news of it. It is now back on Spruce Run Reservoir in NJ being sailed by someone at Hunterdon Sailing Club.

That's good to know.

Better than ending up like this Sunfish.

Sailing is a small world.

At least two of the Sunfish sailors in that 1996 photo of the Sunfish Worlds in the Dominican Republic were sailing Sunfish in our regatta at Massapoag YC last weekend. Good for them. Some people are so dedicated to the Sunfish that I am convinced that they will eventually be buried in their Sunfish.

It's also true that two sailors who finished in the top 10 at that Sunfish Worlds, Ash Beatty and Hank Saurage are now RS Aero owners.

Hank Saurage (on left) 
winner of RS Aero USA Speed Challenge 2016

Perhaps even more strange, of the ten or so sailors in that black and white photo at the top of this post which depicts Sunday morning racing on a little puddle in New Jersey in the 1990s, two of the sailors were racing RS Aeros at Massapoag YC last weekend and a third sailor in the photo is also an RS Aero owner.

Chris Stow (on right)
former Sunfish junior champion and now RS Aero sailor

Oh sorry!

I meant to write a post about Sunfish for a change and still ended up talking about RS Aeros.

I just can't help myself.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

RS Aeros at the Gorge 2016

Here is a superb video produced by Yannick Gloster of one of the lighter wind days during the RS Aero US Nationals at the Gorge this year.

Check out the gybe by the handsome fellow with sail number 2017 at 1:43.

There are also some excellent close-ups of other much better sailors (even they are not quite so handsome as #2017) that are very good examples of how to sail the Aero well.

What can we learn from this video?

What looks fast, and what doesn't?

What did Tillerman have for lunch?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Joe Berkeley and Carbon Upper Envy

Joe Berkeley
Photo by Stuart Streuli

One of my favorite writers of regatta reports is Laser sailor, Joe Berkeley.

Every regatta he goes to he seems to be able to write an original and fascinating report full of humorous observations and personal anecdotes about the sailors he competes with such as Peter Seidenberg, Christine Neville and Peter Shope.

Not only that, his reports always seem to be published on the Internet a few hours after the regatta is completed.

How does he do it?

Well Joe, among other things, is a highly successful professional freelance writer. But, even so, the quality and timeliness of his regatta reports are impressive, and set a standard that the rest of us can only dream of attaining.

This weekend was no exception.

Joe sailed his Laser in the New England Laser Masters at Wickford RI.

I sailed my RS Aero in the Massapoag YC Annual Regatta in Sharon MA.

Around 9 o'clock on Monday morning I settled down with my third cup of coffee and wondered if I could summon up the energy to write a regatta report for the RS Aero class. I really should. I am the Aero fleet captain for the host club after all. But what should I say? What to leave in and what to leave out? Can I find something interesting and new to say about each of the Aero sailors at the regatta? Ideas were jumbling around in my head and I couldn't work out how to organize them.

WWJBD. What would Joe Berkeley do?

I decided to waste some time checking Facebook.

What's this?

Another brilliant regatta report from Joe Berkeley - with photos - and filed at 8:14pm on Sunday evening! How does he do it?

I read Joe's report and had to chuckle at the penultimate paragraph where he reported on an issue that seems to be troubling the local Laser sailors...
From the grass roots level, the cry was heard, "Where, oh where is the carbon fiber upper?" There is a feeling amongst the group that the carbon fiber upper could outlast numerous top sections, marriages, and careers. It could be a cradle to grave deal. You're born, you get a carbon fiber upper that is with you through all of life's ups and downs. You never have that sad feeling of breaking an upper in half, tearing a sail and being towed back to home port.
Joe is referring of course to the Laser's aluminum upper mast section. It had been a windy regatta and I am guessing that a number of the sailors ended up with bent upper mast sections, or even one or two broken ones.

Been there. Done that.

It happens.

It's a feature of the Laser.

And for years there has been discussion about a new carbon fiber upper mast section for the Laser but nobody seems to know if, or even whether, it will hit the market.

And then it struck me.

Since May of 2015 I have been sailing with a carbon fiber upper.

And a carbon fiber lower. And a carbon fiber boom.

I don't have to worry about those Laser sailing bent spar problems any more.

No more carbon upper envy for me.

I putzed around the rest of the day and finally managed to cobble together a regatta report by 6pm.

I posted it on the class Facebook page.

And I see that someone put it up on the Yachts and Yachting website.

But Joe Berkeley could have done a much better job.

We really need Joe Berkeley in the RS Aero Class.

Monday, September 12, 2016

911 - Won't Back Down

Yesterday was the fifteenth anniversary of September 11, 2001.

I suspect none of us will ever forget that day.

I have blogged before about my connections to some of the people who were lost on 911, and of what I actually did myself that day.

Some of the popular music of the 911 era seemed to speak directly to the events of that terrible day or of the response of the American people to the attacks.

Bruce Springsteen's My City of Ruins sounds as if it must have been written about 911 although it was actually penned a year earlier.

Many of the songs performed at the Concert for New York City in October 2001, such as the Who's Won't Get Fooled Again summed up the American people's feelings about 911.

And Tom Petty's 1989 hit single I Won't Back Down became popular again for obvious reasons.

What music communicates best your feelings about 911 or reminds you of 911?

Monday, September 05, 2016

I Guess I Won't Be Getting an Invitation to His Inauguration?

What is going on?

Last week I made it big in Sailing World.

Next thing I know, Donald Trump is hating me on Twitter.