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Sue Monson of Bangor Marina has won the RS Aero Northerns at Carrickfergus Sailing Club.

The event was run as part of the RS Northern Championships which also featured the RS Feva, RS 200 and RS 400 fleets. On day one in very light airs, race officer and Aero stalwart Robin Gray managed to get three races away. Monson won all three races chased hard by Dun Laoghaire and Greystones sailor Sarah Dwyer who posted two seconds and a third. In the light shifty breeze, complicated by a foul tide downwind, the female sailors made the best of the conditions, with race 2 showing a female 1,2,3, demonstrating the great racing this class offers to both male and female sailors competing in the same fleet.

The event was fully one design with all sailors choosing the 7 rig as opposed to the smaller 5 or the bigger 9.

There was great rapport in the fleet with the Dublin Bay and Belfast Lough sailors sharing techniques, tips and drinks on the Saturday night. This was greatly welcomed, especially for some of the newer Aero sailors from Ballyholme Yacht Club, some of who were attending their first-ever open event.

Day two brought groans from the fleet as a flat calm greeted the sailors. Finally, race 4 got underway only to be abandoned as a 90 shift came in. Time was ticking to get races away before the 3 pm last race deadline. Eventually, a steady but shifty Northerly established itself and race four and five were completed in a wind that built from 8 to 18 knots. This allowed Brendan Foley who was in 3rd place overnight to jump up to 2nd overall, with two race wins in the stronger conditions. Sue Monson got a 2nd and 3rd in races four and five. Time won in the end before the 6th race could be held and so it finished with Sue Monson, Brendan Foley and Sarah Dwyer in 1st 2nd and 3rd place.

Results are here

The next event for the Aeros is the National Championships on the 18th and 19th of September at the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire.

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The relatively new Irish RS Aero fleet is making a great start to the European Championships on Lake Garda in Italy.

Daragh Sheridan of Howth Yacht Club is leading the 44-boat RS Aero 7 fleet after day 2.

Consistency was key with the variety of wind strength giving an opportunity for everyone to perform. Sheridan had an excellent 2,3,2 just ahead of Peter Barton (Lymington, GBR) with two race wins giving a 1,1,6.

The winner of the final race was Leopoldo Sirolli (Tognazzi, ITA) to add to a second in race two.

Rounding out the top five was the consistent Javier Estrellas (Palma, ESP) and Erik Wahlberg (Gefle, SWE), again showing a good mix of nationalities.

In the 26 boat RS Aero 5 fleet Roy Van Maanen (Greystones) rounded out the day in 5th place.

Day one of the championship had no wind, but thankfully three races were completed on day two.

Noel Butler and Stephen Oram are both in the top 15, and expected to climb the rankings as more breeze comes later in the championships.

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MarineServices.ie the agent for RS Sailboats is delighted to announce the sale of a further four new RS Aeros into the class in Ireland.

The single-handed class has enjoyed a buoyant growth in the last year with many turning to the class due to superior ergonomics and a modern take on a performance dinghy.

With over 20 active boats in the Dublin area alone, the class is the largest PY class in the Dublin Bay Sailing Club summer racing series. Hopefully, as these numbers grow, the RS Aero will likely deserve its own start in the DMYC Frostbite series and Dublin Bay Series next year.

The Aero fleet is heading North to Carrickfergus on the 13th and 14th of August to meet up with a significant fleet that has also grown quickly in the North of Ireland, particularly in Ballyholme. Hammy Baker the recent winner of the RS Easterns in the Royal St George will be actively defending his recent win.

The fleet has a very healthy gender balance with many female sailors turning to the boat as it is significantly lighter and therefore easier to handle both ashore and afloat than other popular singlehanded dinghies.

Published in INSS
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Some hoped for less wind on day 2 of the Seachange Now RS Aero Easterns – they got more. With a solid 18 knots gusting 24 at times from the Southeast throwing up a tricky chop on Dublin Bay that challenged upwind and downwind technique. RO Michael Conway and team set a great windward-leeward course in Seapoint Bay that really tested the competitors after day 1 which was also windy.

Brendan Foley (Aero 7)Brendan Foley (Aero 7)

In the end, Hammy Baker sailing an Aero 7 was unstoppable, producing more firsts with athletic performance in the breeze. He was crowned RS Aero Eastern Champion. In second place Roy Van Maanen in an Aero 5 took a race win today to cement his overnight second place. Roy who will compete in the RS Aero European later this month at Lake Garda showed great speed and was mixing it with the top boats in the 7 fleet. A place change in 3rd spot saw Brendan Foley (Aero 7) overtake Sarah ‘Skinny’ Dwyer (Aero 5) with 1 point separating the two boats. The PY handicap saw a mix of two 7’s and two 5’s at the top but the 9’s struggled in the big winds.

Roy Van Maanen sailing an Aero 5Roy Van Maanen sailing an Aero 5

Sarah Dwyer was first female in the event, sailing a very strong series in her RS Aero 5Sarah Dwyer was first female in the event, sailing a very strong series in her RS Aero 5

Robin Gray IRO was the winner of the masters prize sailing smartly to stay out of trouble and the right way up!Robin Gray IRO was the winner of the masters prize sailing smartly to stay out of trouble and the right way up!

In the RS Aero 7 class, sailing with 9 of the 14 boats entered, one to five were; Hammy Baker, Brendan Foley, Noel Butler, Emmett O’Sullivan and Stephen Oram. The feedback from the sailors was very positive with gratitude to the Royal St George, the race team and in particular event organiser Sarah Dwyer. Sponsor Brendan Foley of Seachange Now was delighted with turnout and good friendly competition.

Teddy Byrne (1264) and Stephen Oram (3288)Teddy Byrne (1264) and Stephen Oram (3288)

Richard O’Connor, Commodore of the Royal St George thanked the fleet for choosing the club for their very first event and expressed his wish that the George would continue to have a place in Aero history into the future. As is customary at RS Aero events all the participants and race committee got a giant Aero chocolate bar.

Brendan Foley, MD of sponsor Seachange Now (and third place competitor), Hammy Baker first overall and Richard O’Connor Commodore  of the RstGYCBrendan Foley, MD of sponsor Seachange Now (and third place competitor), Hammy Baker first overall and Richard O’Connor Commodore of the RstGYC

The next event is the RS Aero Northern Championships in Carrickfergus on the 14th/15th of August.

Full results here

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Fourteen Aeros were on the Royal St. George startline today for the first day of the RS Aero Eastern Championships, emphasising the fact this new single-handed dinghy class has truly landed in Ireland.

RO Michael Conway of Wexford, operating in Seapoint Bay gave the fleet three windward-leeward races in 15-20 knots. It was a day for small sails. The 9's struggled in the strong breeze and the 7's were a real handful upwind, with the exception of Hammy Barker who made the most of the conditions in his 7 posting 3 wins with excellent upwind speed.

The championship is sponsored by Executive Coaching and Team Development company, Seachange Now.

The well handicapped and well sailed 5's were almost as fast as the 7's upwind today with Roy Van Manen and Sarah Dwyer taking second and third overall in the PY handicap.

Away from handicap the one-design battle in the 7's the largest section (9 of the 14 boats) of the fleet, was intense with plenty of place changing. In that fleet, Hammy Baker leads with Brendan Foley in second and Noel Butler in third.

Fireball ace Noel Butler from the National Yacht Club is lying third in the RS Aero EasternsFireball ace Noel Butler from the National Yacht Club is lying third in the RS Aero Easterns Photo: Afloat

Tomorrow sees a lighter wind forecast and all to play for some of the podium positions.

It was a day of firsts with International Race Officer Robin Gray steeping off his usual committee boat role, competing in his first open event in 23 years. Clubmate Christina Cunningham was also competing in her first-ever open regatta.

With prizes for the top three boats, a masters prize and a novice prize the competition will be tight for the final races on Dublin Bay today.

Published in RStGYC

The new RS Aero class is holding their first event ever in Ireland at the Royal St George on July 3rd and 4th, sponsored by Executive Coaching and Team Development company Seachange Now. The event has attracted a small but highly competitive fleet of 10-15 boats. With a mix of 5 and 7 rigs racing together in a PY format. Race Officer Michael Conway of Wexford will be giving the fleet a number of windward-leeward races on Dublin Bay.

With prizes for the top 3 boats, a masters prize and a novice prize the competition will be tight.

In the hunt for the top prizes will be the visiting Northern Irish boats featuring international race officer Robin Gray and RYA Development Manager Hammy Baker along with Christina Cunningham of Ballyholme.

The local fleet will be pushing hard with ex-fireball aces Noel Butler and Stephen Oram sure to put in some good performances. The Byrne brothers Barry and Teddy new joiners to the fleet this year have shown a good turn of speed in the DBSC racing.

Racing out the host club Brendan Foley and Sarah ‘Skinny’ Byrne will be hoping to keep the trophy in Dun Laoghaire. Skinny will have tough competition in the 5 rig from Greystones sailor Roy Van Maanen. There are hopes of a Cork Harbour sailor joining the fray too.

An outdoor socially distanced dinner will be served to the sailors on the Saturday night by the Royal St George who also host the Dragon East Coasts on the same weekend.

A few of the Dun Laoghaire sailors who are holidaying may have boats for charter if people are interested in trying out an Aero in a race setting. Contact Brendan Foley, Class Chairperson on +353 876292324 if interested.

More details here

Published in RS Aero
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It will come as no surprise to RS Aero owners that dinghy historian David 'Dougal' Henshaw, picked the RS Aero as the best dinghy to emerge in the last 10 years writes Irish RS Aero Class Chairman Brendan Foley.

Commenting at the recently run RYA Dinghy Show, Dave said "The dinghy of the decade can only be the RS Aero. Look at pictures of the RS Aero sailing in breeze, that lightweight hull, the magic of a Jo Richard's design and you think...WOW! (Simple, identical).....offers competition, speed and thrills. Far more than just a modern Laser - a classic boat and a class act in its own right!"

The RS Aero in great company with David selecting some other excellent boats in the mix.

  • 1950's - The 505
  • 1960's - The Fireball
  • 1970's - The Laser
  • 1980's - The B14
  • 1990's - The RS 400
  • 2000's - The Bladerider Moth
  • 2010's - The RS Aero 

See the fascinating full talk here (31.20 for Aero segment)

New RS Aero Irish Fixtures for 2021

In other Aero news, there are new dates planned for 2021.

  • 1st May, Spring Chicken, Ballyholme Yacht Club, Bangor. (5/7/9)
  • 19th / 20th June, Aero Open / Irish Nationals, INSS, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. (5/7/9)
  • 2nd - 4th July, Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, Combined Clubs, Co Dublin. (7)
  • 14th /15th August, Northern Championships, Carrickfergus Sailing Club. (5/7/9)
  • TBC September, Eastern Championships, East Coast Club. (5/7/9)

All dates are contingent on IS/RYA C-19 guidelines.

Building RS Aero momentum

For the 2022 season as the numbers build, the RS Aero plan to have a Western and Southern championship. Kenny Rumball, RS Dealer for the Republic of Ireland, says that three new boats have come in and are sold with another batch on order.

There is also good news for lighter men and many women as well as those who previously sailed Laser Radials.

A 6 rig more similar to a Radial to fit between the 5 and 7 rigs is at an advanced stage of discussion with RS and National class associations.

When possible the class plans to have a number of open days for people to try out the RS Aero, details of which will be published on Afloat

We hope to see you all back on the water this Summer and look forward to fun, friendship and great racing.

Published in RS Aero
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The National Yacht Club has cancelled its previously scheduled January training sessions in the RS Aero due to the extended Level 5 coronavirus restrictions.

It's hoped the sessions will be rescheduled for future weeks as restrictions allow. The NYC website will have an update on details accordingly.

While this training cannot go ahead as planned, it nevertheless marks a recognition of the growth of the RS Aero class which now has 25 boats across Ireland, as recently reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RS Aero
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Brendan Foley, Chairperson of the Irish Aero class outlines developments in the new lightweight single-hander from RS

If you were to pick a year to get a class going, 2020 would not be the year that you would pick, where Covid-19 has impacted sailing in a stop-start way. The RS Aero class, however, has bucked the trend and grown in numbers and reach, around the island of Ireland.

Growth in RS Aero numbers

Current numbers stand at 25 in Ireland. Dublin is the main centre with 14 boats based out of Dun Laoghaire, Swords and Howth. Add in Greystones and that number rises to 16. A fleet is based on the east coast of Northern Ireland with the majority based at Ballyholme Yacht Club.

There is one Aero in Cork Harbour and the expectation is that a contingent of Munster dinghy sailors will be attracted to this spritely class.

We are delighted with the growth in the class and there is very strong interest in new boats for 2021. Clearly, when people can travel to mainland UK, they will be able to access second-hand boats at very competitive prices. The main RS dealers in the North and South also have some very good packages available on new boats.

Some of the sailing diehards forced out of keelboats and double handers by Covid, turned to the RS Aero rig and hull as the obvious choice for fun, versatility and ease to get on the water. We were all encouraged by the sailors entering the class and knew we would have competitive racing. Training and coaching have been strong from the outset, with plenty of opportunities to build skills, when racing was denied. Indeed most of us get out several times a week, whatever the weather, where restrictions and facilities allow.

Of interest when new boat owners were asked why they bought the RS Aero over other single handers, the reasons are quite varied.

Here are some the comments from owners;

  • Faster and more fun than a Laser
  • Really light pulling up and down slipways
  • Fast to rig so can get in and out for a sail in short window
  • I thought they were going to be the Olympic single hander so wanted to get one
  • Getting out of big boats and wanted something fast but also easy
  • I hate gyms, wanted to get fit and this looked like fun
  • The International events circuit is really, really good
  • Even if you are not winning you are having fun

The people buying RS Aeros range from multiple national champions to people getting back into dinghies to single-handed sailors looking for something different. There is a strong female contingent in the fleet and the age ranges go from 14 to older than people are prepared to say (definitely well into his 60s)! While competitive, the class is renowned for its welcoming and friendly approach. Race winners share what they did to win races so that everyone learns and grows. Class members even make equipment for each other (Thanks Stephen Oram for the digitally printed compass mounts). The class is inclusive rather than exclusive and fun is high on the agenda!

RS Aero Racing

The racing results from PY sailing this year demonstrate the potential of the RS Aero under handicap with Noel Butler winning the DBSC PY Tuesday Series and the author taking the DBSC PY Saturday Trophy. With numbers growing so strongly in Dun Laoghaire the RS Aero has already overtaken some established dinghy classes who have their own starts in DBSC racing, so it’s likely for the 2021 season the class will have their own start.

Like so many classes the RS Aero had to abandon the running of the Irish Open due to C19 restrictions. This makes 2021 even more important as the inaugural RS Aero Irish Open will now run with even more boat. (Make sure to keep an eye on afloat.ie – where dates for the Irish Open will shortly be published).

Daragh Sheridan of HYC braved the C19 restrictions and quarantine to race the UK Nationals in August (the only overseas competitor). Sailed in a windy Eastbourne he finished a brilliant 12th place in the 7 fleet, the biggest fleet of the championship with 57 competitors.

As racing was cut short in October with lockdown Aeros all over Ireland have been posting great footage to the class Facebook page, of burns in the excellent sailing conditions over the last few months.

Daragh Sheridan of HYC competing at the 2020 British National Championships in EastbourneDaragh Sheridan of HYC competing at the 2020 British National Championships in Eastbourne

The future of the RS Aero

2021 will also likely see the addition of a new 6m² rig to the fleet. Currently, the RS Aero has a 5, 7 and 9 square metre sail. Many feel the 5 can be underpowered in light airs, and the 7 overpowered in over 18/20 knots, so the sweet spot of a 6m² rig is currently being trialled at UK events this winter, with positive feedback. Many of the Irish fleet have signalled their intention to get a 6 rig which will see a wide range of female, youth and male competitors able to compete together.

The RS Aero 6 sailThe RS Aero 6 sail

Given the level of interest wherever an Aero is rigged, we expect continued growth from other youth and adult single-hander classes. The fleet will continue to race with all rigs on a PY basis until such time that the introduction of 6m² rig and/or critical mass allows a split.

Race Calendar (provisional and subject to COVID)

  • A large contingent of RS Aeros will race in the DMYC Frostbite and Ballyholme Winter Series over 20/21 when C19 rules permit.
  • The RS Aero Fleet will compete alongside the other RS classes on the RS circuit for 2021 – dates have been announced and intention is where possible to for the Aeros to race with the other RS fleets.
  • Easterns - Greystones Sailing Club - Dublin - April - 24/25
  • Southerns - Baltimore Sailing Club - Cork- May 29/30
  • Leinsters - Dun Laoghaire Regatta Week - Dublin - July 2/3/4 - 200/400 Only
  • RS Eurocup - Garda - July 26-30
  • Inlands - Blessington Sailing Club - Wicklow - July 24/25
  • Northerns - Carrickfergus Sailing Club - Antrim - August 14/15
  • Nationals - Rush - Dublin - September 10-12

Ballyholme Yacht Club will hold an Open regatta for RS Aeros on the 1st and 2nd of May 2021. For the adventurous, the worlds will be held in Lake Garda, Italy in 2021.

As C19 restrictions ease, the class and RS dealers in Dublin and Belfast will be putting on demo days to try out the amazing RS Aero. Dates will be posted on afloat.ie shortly. Chat to your local Aero owner and they will be happy to give you a spin so you can check out the boat.

RS has also just released a new rigging video which gives a good overview of the boat;

Published in RS Aero
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The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School together with the Irish RS Aero Class Association have decided to postpone the inaugural RS Aero Irish Open, due to take place in one months' time on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September.

Following the latest public health advice, the postponement will allow for greater certainty of the event proceeding. While the 19th and 20th of September are after the new restrictions are due to be lifted, the decision means competitors and officials will not have to make commitments with the uncertainty as to possible restriction extensions.

The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School is looking forward to welcoming the Irish Aero Class now on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th October.
Event details will be updated on the RS Aero class website in due course.

Irish RS Dealer and INSS centre principal Kenneth Rumball says "The primary motivation for the Irish RS Aero Class and the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School is everyone's safety and wellbeing. This postponement provides the best possible chance for the event to proceed safely and takes the pressure off competitors and officials in an uncertain environment".

Separately, a shipment of new RS Aeros are due to arrive in Ireland in early September, and it is hoped that new sailors can be welcomed to the class in advance of the event. Demo sails are available at the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School if any prospective Aero owner wants to give one a try.

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