RS continue to produce some surprises

The new Vareo and updates on the K6 and RS700

Sunday December 3rd 2000, Author: Gerald New, Location: United Kingdom
This has been a busy year for the team at LDC/Racing Sailboats and it's not over yet. The RS800, released at last year's Boat Show, took the two-man trapeze market by storm and then this summer saw the prototypes for two new boats sailing.

RS K6 prototype at Hayling IslandThere's the move into a new niche, the lightweight keelboat. The K6, a two or three man, tow-able keelboat with a lifting bulb keel, looks set to open up a new high speed area for the type. Providing a smaller, more easily crewed option in the very popular sportsboat type and providing a modern cross-over between the large dinghy and the larger sportsboat classes.

Test sailing on the prototype has continued through the autumn and these latest shots show the boat at HISC last week. Sailed three up in a force four, the boat looked very comfortable and steady planing on the Chichester rollers.

Martin Wadham, MD at RS, said that the first production boat due for completion in the next week has had considerable detail design work but no major design changes. The most obvious will be the change in sheerline which has been lowered, especially at the bow, to improve the looks. Internally, there are more rounded sidedecks and the central control console has also been moved slightly aft to improve crew room forward when sailing three-up. A redesign of the keel box improves the keel location and eases the raising/lowering procedure, and the production rudder will be a dagger type.

Then there's the RS700. This asymmetric single-hander is a new development of the very successful RS600, and a write-up on the concept can be found here. Pre-production boats are due next week and again will incorporate detail design changes that have evolved through the testing program. The hull is as the prototype, but the final deck has received more flare to provide reserve buoyancy forward. A thought was to change to an RS600 style foredeck with chute, but in the end the simpler overdeck layout was redesigned to improve the join between the side decks and reinforce the sit-in concept (a la RS800), to provide a stable base for the helm in raising and lowering the kite.

Work is continuing on the mast and sail combination with an RS600 hull converted to carry the RS700 rig to evaluate speed differences between the rigs.

With twenty five deposits already taken on the RS700 and their inclusion in the RS classes championships at Mounts Bay SC next year, this is a class that is getting a kick start. Just how this will effect the RS600 has yet to be seen. The 600 has been outselling the older Contender but new boat numbers are down from previous years and if the asymmetric rig takes hold - as it has done in the International Canoes - they could find themselves swapping one successful boat for another.

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