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The RS Aero Southern Championships were run this weekend out of Greystones Sailing Club. This late-season event attracted 11 Aero entries, who sailed with the RS 200 and RS 400 fleet on a windward / leeward course under the watchful eye of Race Officer Michael Conway of Wexford. With an ever ominous forecast, event organisers moved the start time an hour earlier on the Saturday to get a weather window. Of 10 Aeros that launched, only six made it to the start line, and only 4 finished the race, with winner Daragh Sheridan the only boat not to capsize. It was a remarkable feat given that it was gusting over 30knts and with strong south going tide of nearly 3knts, the waves were huge and slab faced. At one stage, most of the competitors on the course were capsized. Not surprisingly, racing was abandoned for the rest of the day.

The Sunday was a much better day with winds only gusting in the high twenties instead of thirties! The wind swung more to the West for the Sunday, giving competitors an easier seaway but much trickier wind shifts. Again Sheridan (7 rig) of Howth Yacht Club showed the way, winning the event with ease over the four races held on day two. Second place was close fought with Andrew ‘Hammy’ Baker in his 7 rig taking 3rd place, pipped by Roy Van Maanen who took two race wins in his 5 rig to take 2nd place overall. Sarah ‘Skinny’ Dwyer of GSC and RStGYC was first lady (5 rig) and Rob Howe (7 rig) a new boat owner from Monkstown Bay Sailing Club was first Senior. The results are below.

Commenting, class President Brendan Foley said “Congratulations to all our winners and all who sailed. The event while challenging was an excellent chance for those not in the top medal positions to work on their technique in big breeze and waves, while also having the tactical challenge of such a strong tides across the course. This year was the first full circuit year for the Aeros, with an Easterns, Northerns, Southerns and Nationals completed, with over 30 people sailing the boat this year. The top sailors in this friendly class all shared what they found worked and didn’t across all the events and the standard now in the fleet is very strong, while offering newcomers a well behaved boat to learn in.”

The RS Aero Class says it will run a number of demonstration days across Ireland to give people a chance to try out this brilliant boat. More details will be published on Afloat.ie. 

Results here

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Hammy Baker of Strangford Lough has won the RS Aero National Championships on an imposing score of three first places with a discard of a sixth. The RS Aero Nationals sponsored by Irish National Marine Services were held on Saturday and Sunday at the Irish National Sailing Club in Dun Laoghaire.

It was a repeat of Baker's unstoppable performance in July when he won the RS Aero Easterns at the Royal St. George Yacht Club

The event welcomed 18 RS Aeros with a stellar lineup of top-class competitors and those newer to the class looking to learn and bring on their racing. All sailors choose to compete in the seven rigs. Class President Brendan Foley was delighted "With 18 of the 30 Aeros in Ireland competing here today, the Aero class has arrived – there are few other classes where so many past champions in other classes are sailing together, and so many new people are starting their racing journey, all in a friendly, sharing environment".

On the water, Baker was pushed hard by Howth's Paul McMahon, who opened the series on the Saturday with a win in frustratingly light and fickle winds. Only just for McMahon, as Roy Van Maanen, who had been leading, started to sail an extra lap – letting McMahon in, who in his excitement roll gybed so hard he fell out of his boat. A quick re-righting was enough to get McMahon across the line in first. Noel Butler of the National Yacht Club was second, and Sean Craig, back to try his hand at Aeros, got into the third spot. So light was the wind after race one that Race Officer Michael Conway of Wexford decided to abandon and send the fleet home after two hours of waiting for race two.

Thankfully, Sunday brought the much-awaited breeze gusting at times into the low twenties. A clear 1,2,3 emerged in these conditions, with Hammy, Paul and Daragh Sheridan (HYC) consistently in the top 3. Hard hiking, playing the shifts and sound waves technique downwind were the order of the day and while the first three places were secured, a massive battle was going on for fourth between Brendan Foley of the Royal St George, Noel Butler and Robert Howe (ex UK Laser ace) now sailing from Monkstown Bay Sailing Club. All three boats finished on 14 points, with the tie-break falling in favour of Butler in 4th, Foley in 5th and Howe in 6th. Howe's clubmate Emmet O'Sullivan was fast in serious condition. He put in a very credible 9th with another Monkstown Bay sailor Robbie Sullivan swopping his RS 400 for a blast in the Aero coming home in 11th.

Joan Sheffield Captain INSC, Hammy Baker - National Champion, Kenneth Rumball RS Agent ROI and sponsorJoan Sheffield Captain INSC, Hammy Baker - National Champion, Kenneth Rumball RS Agent ROI and sponsor

Sarah ‘Skinny’ Dwyer (left) Sarah ‘Skinny’ Dwyer (left) - First Lady RS Aero sailor

In this brilliant one-design fleet, places traded faster than bitcoin, with a missed shift or bad tack resulting in areas lost or gained. Debutant competitors from Greystones Sailing Club Conor Galligan (10th) and Adam Leddy (12th) loved their introduction into the Aero class and put in a strong performance in a field stacked with champions. The first Master was Sean Craig of the Royal St George in 7th place who just edged Van Maanen of Greystones and George in 8th place and second Master. Emmet O'Sullivan was the third Master.

13th was lucky for some with Sarah 'Skinny' Dwyer battling her 7 rig around the course to win the first Lady prize. Normally a 5 rig sailor, completing all 4 races in a 7 was a great achievement and Skinny along with many of the competitors, as their legs were aching, dreamed of the forthcoming 6 rig. Demand for the 6 rig coming soon from RS is expected to be high with many sailors moving up from the 5 and down from the 7. The 6 is equivalent to the ILCA 6 is tipped to be the boat of choice for many sailors in Ireland.

Race management legend Robin Gray was first Grand Master in 14th with club mate from Ballyholme Christina Cunningham coming home in 15th place, who like skinny is normally a 5 sailor but stuck it out to get her 7 around the track. John Phelan of HYC, Mick Mc Cambridge of NYC and Keith Maxwell of EDYC certainly equipped themselves well in the very challenging conditions on the Sunday. Protest Committee Chair Gordon Davies was sad to not meet any of the competitors as there were no protests.

Joan Sheffield, Captain of the host Irish National Sailing Club presented the prizes in beautiful sunshine overlooking Dublin bay from their stunning outdoor roof deck. There was great buzz and everyone is looking for the next event at Greystones on 23/24th of October

Download results below as a PDF file 

Published in RS Aero
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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.

Published in RS Aero
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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.

Published in RS Aero
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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

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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.

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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.

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