Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Marine Services Wrap up RS21 World Championships

11th November 2022
The Irish RS21 on the start line of the Croatian-based  inaugural World Championships
The Irish RS21 on the start line of the Croatian-based inaugural World Championships

Last Sunday, the inaugural RS21 World Championships in Biograd Na Moru came to a close after some incredibly close one-design racing in an incredibly even-matched class.

The team, despite having only jumped into the boat to sail as a crew for the event coupled with a helm who was suffering from a bug or food poisoning, were happy with the overall result but are already planning ‘unfinished business’ for the World Championships next year in Sardinha, Italy!

The main reason for the team to make the epic 4,000km road trip was to learn the boat, experience RS21 events and to gain valuable international connections with fellow RS21 sailors!

The Irish RS21 on the car ferry at the start of the 4,000km road tripThe Irish RS21 on the car ferry at the start of the 4,000km road trip

So what did we learn?

The boats are incredibly easy to transport, although we chose to drive our boat there, the bulk of the fleet came by truck. The RS21 was designed to stack within itself, within minutes, the boat can be lifted off the keel, the boats stacked 3 high and then the keels mounted on a pallet and put into the truck.

The RS21 is designed to stack within itself for transportation by truckThe RS21 is designed to stack within itself for transportation by truck

This fantastic design means transport costs and logistics can be dramatically reduced, saving money for international travellers and also making the class more sustainable for the environment. Sailors with some experience in rigging the boats have reported they can rig the boat in 30 minutes; this includes dressing and stepping the mast! Speaking of the mast, it is a one-design carbon fibre section with one set of spreaders. This makes it incredibly light and as a result easy for just two persons to step the mast on the boat using a pin on the mast step as a turning point and the mast pops up in seconds! Back to our own boat which we transported on the road trailer, the boat only weighs 650kgs so towing it behind a car is literally a doddle, it is no more difficult to tow that a double-stacked dinghy trailer.

The boats are full of innovative features, Every morning, without fail, we were all mesmerised by the simplicity of the drop-down electric engine where with no fuss and a silent whisp, we drove off the pontoon, its uncanny! But it is not just the electric engine, the drop-down keel actually locks into place and is solid; over all the days of racing, we never heard of felt the keel move or wobble like it does in other boats with a drop-down keel. The mainsheet has double ratchets allowing a seamless crossover between the main trimmer and helm for manoeuvres, the list goes on, this boat has really been designed with everything in mind!

The social scene is as important as the sailing, rarely had any of us sailed in an event that was as well organised onshore. RS Sailing is determined to make sailing fun again! Before we even left Ireland, there were detailed google maps and easily digestible information as to where to be and at what time. Information was always seamlessly flowing through a dedicated Telegram group for the event. Never once were we left wondering where to be and at what time. The RS Sailors Hub was a dedicated hub setup for the duration of the event for sailors to hang out and have a coffee before racing, where after racing, free beer and a free meal were enjoyed while the dedicated on-the-water event coach would enthusiastically debrief all sailors on the races of the day. This hub was also where all briefings were and served as a great meeting point. Almost every evening, there was either a party, sailors' dinner or discussion forum. The effort RS put into the event was fantastic! Something for all classes to model themselves on in the future!

As for the boats themselves and what are they like to sail? I’ve got to go rig our boat again to get sailing in it this weekend, so I won’t have enough time to explain how much fun and rewarding they are to sail, but I can offer you one better! Come sailing on out boat, number 291! The boat is entered for the Turkey Shoot and also will be entered for the Spring Series.

The Marine Services RS21 back on the RIYC pontoon and ready for the second race of the Turkey Shoot on SundayThe Marine Services RS21 back on the RIYC pontoon and ready for the second race of the Turkey Shoot on Sunday

If you are seriously interested in the RS 21, come along and sail with us for a morning. Just drop a note to [email protected] and we will organise a morning that suits. Just remember to pack waterproofs; the boats are fast and wet!

Published in INSS, RS21 Keelboat
Kenneth Rumball

About The Author

Kenneth Rumball

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Kenny Rumball is the Principal of the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. He is a multi dinghy champion and offshore sailor. In 2018 he was awarded the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Seamanship Trophy for a Man Overboard Rescue in the Round Ireland Race. In May 2020 he embarked on a mixed offshore doublehanded keelboat campaign with Pamela Lee.

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