RS Sailing says it respects the World Sailing council vote to retain the Laser as the Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy event for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris — while also hailing the RS Aero’s superior evaluation.
As reported yesterday on Afloat.ie, sailing’s world governing body voted in a secret ballot on the last day of its Mid-Year Meeting on Sunday 19 May to retain the Laser and Laser Radial.
This was despite the upstart RS Aero outscoring the incumbent — which faces a name change amid a dispute between the class association and its former leading manufacturer — by more than 10% in a detailed evaluation and sea trials conducted this past March.
Reflecting on the decision taken in London on Sunday, RS Sailing said it “would like to sincerely thank World Sailing for giving the RS Aero the opportunity to be part of the 2024 Equipment Selection for the Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy.
“We were impressed throughout the whole process by the Evaluation Team, World Sailing staff and the Equipment Committee who did a very professional and impressive job. We were extremely confident in the depth and thoroughness of the Evaluation Panel to conduct a fair and complete evaluation process.
“RS Sailing also sends a heartfelt thank you to all our followers and sailors, old and new, and have been completely overwhelmed by the global support for the RS Aero and RS Sailing. You’ve all genuinely been on this journey with us and it feels like we’ve made a whole load of new friends in the process.”
The UK company said it was “undeniable that the RS Aero has been proven superior in almost every aspect” and cited comments from Dina Kowalyshyn, chair of the World Sailing Equipment Committee, who noted the boat’s light hull and size (which “make it attractive and suitable for the youth pathway”), its “modern materials and modern production methods”, and the fact that it is “mass production ready”.
“We couldn’t be prouder of the RS Aero,” RS Sailing added. “We have known for a long time that it was an awesome boat to sail but it’s now proved itself irrefutably to the world that it is.”
The company said it understands there are issues beyond determining what is the best performing equipment when it comes to the selection process.
“When the world is so heavily invested in legacy equipment it’s hard to move on from it,” it said, adding that it will continue to encourage World Sailing council members and member associations “who are eager for change from heavier, 50-year-old design equipment”.
RS Sailing continued: “We still believe that these decisions are not just about the Olympians; this universal sector drives the youth pathways and the opportunity to build women’s participation as well.
“The sport is currently in decline in many regions and we all share the primary responsibility to reverse that trend by proactively working with sailors and MNAs using the most modern equipment to present sailing to the widest possible audience in a collaborative and sustainable way.”