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RS Aeros 5, 6 and 7 Are Tested in Big Winds at DMYC Regatta

17th June 2022
Class Captain Brendan Foley with first RS Aero 6 rig in Ireland
Class Captain Brendan Foley with first RS Aero 6 rig in Ireland

What happens if you race an RSAero 5 against an Aero 6 and an Aero 7 in big wind? That’s exactly the question that was on the minds of the competitors in the RS Aero fleet at the recent DMYC regatta at Dun Laoghaire.

The Aero fleet in Ireland uses the PY handicap system so that all ages, genders, sizes, shapes and abilities can race together regardless of the weather.

On a very windy day - upwind the theory would be that the smaller 5 sail would have the advantage of being less powerful and downwind the 7’s extra power would be better, with the 6 coming in the middle. As it happened four sailors Roy Van Maanen and Damien Dion as the lightweights in 5 rigs, Brendan Foley as a middleweight in a 6 rig and Stephen Oram as a more athletic sailor in a 7 rig put the theory to test.

In wind conditions with a base in the high teens and gusting to 30+ knots in the squalls it was remarkable to see that on the Olympic-style triangle/sausage course that the three rig types changed places multiple times upwind and downwind. The smaller 5 sail of Van Maanen rounded the weather mark first as he was best able to de-power but then downwind the 6 and 7 passed him only to lose again upwind.

The breeze that was not only gusty was very shifty leading to multiple capsizes from all competitors. In the end, it was the 6 rig of Brendan Foley that prevailed over the two races just beating the 5 rig of Van Maanen on count-back, with the 7 rig of Stephen Oram in 3rd. In truth the 5, 6 or 7 rig could have won demonstrating how the choice of rigs plus the PY format allows sailors of different sizes, genders, ages and fitness all to race competitively together.

RS Aeros DMYC Regatta

  1. Brendan Foley Aero 6, 1321 (3)
  2. Roy van Maanen Aero 5, 3822 (3)
  3. Stephen Oram Aero 7, 3288 (6)
  4. Damien Dion Aero 5, 3431 (8)

The 5 and 7 Aero rigs have been around for some time while the 6 is newly arrived. The 5 is similar to ILCA 5 or Laser 4.7, the 6 to the ILCA 6 or Laser Radial and the 7 comparable to the ILCA 7 or Laser full rig. The RS Aero fleet surveyed its global membership and the request for a 6 was so strong they went and made one. It is expected that the vast majority of Aero sailors in Ireland will race the 6 or 7 rigs with the 5 for young and light sailors and the massive 9 rig yet to appear at an event in Ireland and unlikely to gain traction here. In the future when the class has enough 6 or 7 rigs, one design as well as PY handicap racing will be offered.

The Aeros will race the PY format for the upcoming National Regatta, the Royal Irish Regatta and the Royal St George Regatta, allowing the class to further explore racing multiple rig sizes together over a variety of conditions.

While the Dun Laoghaire fleet battle it out, Aero sailors Daragh Sheridan (7 rig) of Howth, Roy Van Maanen of Greystones/Dun Laoghaire (5 rig) and Noel Butler (7 rig) of Dun Laoghaire will be at Columbia River Gorge, Oregon in the US for the RS Aero World Championships. All are capable of top 10 finishes or better - we wish them well.

Published in RS Aero
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