This easily handled, yet fast singlehanded dinghy is seen by its creators as a 21st century answer to the phenomenally popular Laser that dates from 1971. The RS Aero’s design and layout reflects up-to-date thinking and makes use of top-quality equipment and construction techniques.

One of the most fundamental differences is the in the new boat’s ultra-light weight – it’s only 30kg. Take a look for yourself with RS Aero video.


RS Aero singlehander

RS Aero sailing dinghy: fleets across UK set to take off in 2015. Photo by Paul Wyeth.


RS Sailing, together with designer Jo Richards conducted extensive product development, including testing of four hull variations and various rig, foil and layout options, before settling on the final design. There are three rig options to cover a wide range of sailors: the RS Aero 5 for youth sailors, RS Aero 7 for women and light men, and the RS Aero 9 for medium and heavier men. All spars are carbon fibre, with a common topmast and boom for all sails, while the different lower sections have different amounts of stiffness. The hull is sufficiently light that even the Aero 5 has a higher sail area to weight ratio than most existing singlehanders.

The new boat has already proved extremely popular and is selling in large numbers compared to most dinghy classes. Within six months of launch 400 boats had already been sold and the factory in Lincolnshire had ramped production up to an impressive 18 boats per week.

Keep up with dinghy sailing news and features on 10 Coolest Dinghies in the World and Swedish cat sailor wins Bart’s Bash.

RS Aero: lightweight performance

RS Aero: with three rig variations atop a hull that is lighter than an Optimist dinghy, expect plenty of performance. (Photo by Paul Wyeth)


By the start of the 2015 season there will therefore be fleets at many UK sailing clubs, as well as overseas. A big part of this has to be the attractive discounts on offer: until the end of 2014 there is £700 off for owners at clubs with more than three boats and £900 off for owners at clubs with five boats. So that early adopters aren’t disadvantaged, anyone who buys before their club has enough boats to claim the fleet price discount can reclaim the difference once that level is reached.

A further step forward is the appointment of a class association manager – the well-known and successful dinghy racer and coach Peter Barton. Among other things, he will be offering clubs with more than one boat an open “Launch Day”, in which he will visit the club to provide RS Aero specific coaching.

For further information go to the builder's webiste, or the class association site.


RS Aero Specifications

LOA: 4.0m
Beam: 1.4m
Hull weight: 30kg
Sail area: 5.2, 7.4 or 8.9sq m

Written by: Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes has more than 70,000 miles of offshore cruising and racing experience, in waters ranging from the North Sea to the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular new boat and gear tests. He currently sails around 5,000 miles per year and in the past couple of seasons has cruised from the UK to the Azores, as well as winning his class in the 2014 two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. He also owns two yachts, one based in the Mediterranean and the other in the UK.