Prototype hull unveiled

LDC have unveiled the prototype RS800 that will attend the ISAF Womens High Performance Dinghy Trials

Friday February 9th 2007, Author: Toby Heppell, Location: United Kingdom
LDC Racing Sailboats, the company behind the RS range of dinghies, have finally (officially) announced their decision to take their modified version of the RS800 to the ISAF Women’s High Performance Dinghy Trial in late May. Following on from much discussion with the current class association and the RS800 owners club the official decision to take the boat to the trials was made early this week.

When we spoke to Martin Wadhams recently on the verge of making the decision he explained the most important thing to the company at that stage was to ensure the class did not split in two directions and become distilled in some way. This remains an important issue for LDC and they are keen to stress this decision has been made in conjunction with the RS800 Owners Association.

Although the boat has been confirmed to be at the trials a decision has not yet been made as to the situation with the new design. As we know LDC are sending a slightly modified boat to the trials and they have given the class association the chance to accept or turn down the modifications. In this instance the class is currently undecided about their feeling towards the future of the boat but are giving their full consent to the class going to the trials. “If the class gets through the selection process, then we will look at whether we want to change the boats and the way in which the class works,” explained Nick Peters from LDC.

LDC are adamant that the changes will not affect the performance of the boat - just a few tweaks to make it a more efficient twin trapezing platform. Mostly this involved making the deck less cockpit like and changing it to a shape more akin to the 49er or Musto Skiff where there is little clutter and the smooth lines make for relatively easy sailing twin trapeze sailing.

Recently, and after consulting with the class, LDC have announced exactly what the changes to the boat will be for the trials. Alongside this decision a prototype boat incorporating all the changes has been built so class members can have a look and will be on display at the RS stand at the 2007 Dinghy Sailing Show in London in March. As well as adapting the deck layout LDC have taken this opportunity to fix, upgrade or polish a number of other things suggested by RS sailors and the company themselves.

The dagger board case, for example has had a moulded, full height rubber ‘crash pad’ inserted in the rear of the case to prevent damage occurring to the fibreglass in the hull incase one is unlucky enough to his something (above). The deck modifications are largely what you would expect from a boat trying to be better for the twin trapezing sailors with the sidedeck being reduced in size and the size tanks being at a flatter angle making the boat feel like it has less of a cockpit. Also there are plans to have inserts in the floor to allow owners to add floor kickbars to the boat at their discretion. Although these changes will make the boat easier to sail for those twin wiring it should still maintain some of its sit in characteristics for those (very few people) who want to stay with a single wire set up. Finally on the hull the wing bars are to be replaced by slightly oval pieces of tube to allow sailors a larger radius to stand on when trapezing and also to make adding grip, such as pro-grip, an easier experience.

Above: Old style steep cockpit sides.

Above: Prototype angled side tanks.

Although the company have stated there would be no actual performance advantage in the new RS800s some of these changes will reduce the overall weight of the boat. However, the plan is to remedy this by adding extra reinforcement, behind fittings for example and adding extra resin to potential void points.

There are a number of additional changes being made away from the deck as well. On the mast the spreaders have been changed so they are now fixed, improving their strength and making the boat a little less tweaky to set up. A number of other small modifications have been made to the mast as well. There have also been some small changes to the sails, mostly for ease of use purposes. The battens in the jib are now removable with Velcro holding them in, which should make replacement easier when sailors break them.

Perhaps the biggest attraction for current members and even future members of the RS800 class association will be the new price of the boat. Although LDC have not confirmed exactly how much the boat is likely to cost they say they think it will be somewhere in the region of £1000 less than it is currently (£9,600). LDC believe this should put the overall cost of a boat in actual terms back down to where it was in 2005, leaving it about £3000-£4000 cheaper than a 49er. LDC suggest at this price it will be the same level to purchase and run as a new Fireball - how that stacks up if it comes to being a full blown Olympic class boat remains to be seen.

In addition to the RS800 being confirmed for the High Performance Dinghy Trials the 29erXX and the International 14 classes are definitely attending. The deadline for applications is on Thursday 15 February and it is believed a number of classes are holding back from confirming their entry until then.

Further images of the RS800 prototype on the following pages.A look down on the new smoother deck layout

Latest Comments

Add a comment - Members log in


Latest news!

Back to top
    Back to top