Beth Miller Sailing

Laser Radial 216870 & RS Aero 3296

Category: Press release

2020 Sailing Events Cancelled

Sadly, the RS Feva Sailing has been cancelled for 2020 and this is the end of BT sailing for now! 🙁

That means bye bye to our Tilda Brayshay, the fastest spinnaker hoist in the RS Feva International fleet. 🙁

Which boat next


  1. Laser
  2. Aero
  3. 29er

What is my current sailing pathway?

I am currently looking at moving into the Laser Radial rig, despite my height, as I strongly believe that this presently has better competition than that of the Aero. I am leaning towards the single-handed side of sailing due to feeling more comfortable in not only the way it sails - such as stability- but also the comfort in the boat handling. Personally, I feel that I have a greater understanding of the science behind single-handed sailing more so than I do of a double-handed boat such as the 29er. As a result of a higher understanding, it aids me in the overall boat set up, ultimately making me feel more complacent within the single-handed boat. Considering all these factors, I believe that I would be better suited for the Laser than a 29er. Furthermore, this would benefit me in becoming a stronger sailor, physically and tactically, aiding me in competition.

As to why I am drawn more towards the Laser than the Aero, there are three significant factors. One main factor is to do with competition. In my personal opinion, I speculate that the Laser has a higher standard of sailing compared to that of the Aero due to it being an older, more known boat as well as the fact that it has a larger fleet, by far!
Another key factor is also related to the competition but in a very different way. I believe that having separate youth events is huge to the development of sailors as we all have a steeper learning curve and watching the mistake of others, that are similar to my own but also very different, will draw more attention to the small things that would make a massive difference to the race once they are corrected. Additionally, I would also be able to replicate other, stronger sailors until I find my own technique.
Lastly, the laser is a physically demanding boat and would be a more challenging boat to sail, which personally I feel that I would learn a lot the logistics of a boat as well as my ability to control, especially in stronger wind conditions. I also believe that this would help me develop my technique as I learn where the gaps lay.

Albeit, given the opportunity to sail a 29er, I would definitely take the offer as this would provide an understanding of what the boat is like to sail and how to rig one up for the conditions. The class also contains a number of great sailors. The reason I am hesitant to verbalise that I want to sail the laser is due to my lack of experience, and knowledge, of the double-handed rig set up. Similarly, I am not as confident with the effect that each control has on the rig, in terms of the jib. On top of this, I lack a huge amount of confidence in the double-handed boat, notably on the downwind. However, to turn down a chance to sail a boat like this would be laughable as they are such intricate boat and it is apparent that I would be able to learn a substantial amount from the boat that could also be taken elsewhere if required or possible.

The Laser

The Laser Radial was originally designed in 1969 by Bruce Kirby and made its debut in the Olympics in 1996, however, was only introduced to the women in 2008. The hull has a mass of approximately 59kg, making a very heavy boat, the recommended weight for the crew is 55kg - 72kg, placing me at the bottom end of the weight spectrum. It contains three different sails, the 4.7, radial and standard. The bottom sections vary on the size of the sail. It is an Olympic class boat and also very also popular.

The laser's hull is made out of Glass Reinforced Plastics . The heavy, rounded shape of the bow makes it exceptionally easy to stall in the wavier conditions. Due to the Glass reinforced plastic hull, it is an immensely strong boat but also really heavy. It has a maximum recorded speed of 16.8 knots. A nearly new, well-maintained laser can coat anywhere between £1,000-£6,000 making it reasonably well priced. The control set up within the boat is tidy and easily adjustable, which is great when sailing in the heavier winds as it minimalises time inside the boat reaching for controls. The large deck on the hull provides a lot of support when hiking as there is a large contact area with the hull.

Even though the boat contains a large number of positives, a massive downfall is my height, but then you could say I’m too small for many single-handed boats. Like all boats, the laser will be very expensive to maintain especially if changing the sail on the boat due to having purchase a new bottom section. The Laser is a tippy boat due to the shape of the hull and especially so downwind. The rudder is very small and doesn’t contribute a huge amount to the steering of the boat so a lot of this will need to be done through the heel.

The RS Aero

The Aero is a relatively new boat, being designed in only 2014 by Jo Richards. The RS Aero lost an attempt to become the new Olympic boat to the Laser. It is designed for anyone between 35kg and 95kg putting me roughly ⅓ of the way up the spectrum. Like the Laser, it has three potential sails: the 5, 7 and 9. The RS Aero weighs approximately the same as an Optimist at only 30kg. The RS Aero hull is made from Fibreglass so is a really strong but light hull.

I have seen many comments on the ‘Yachts and Yachting’ page stating that smaller people find the RS Aero a more comfortable boat to sail due to the shape of the hull, and closely replicates previously sailed boats. However, people also stated that they prefered the Flat decked Laser and found it less cramped. The RS Aero is probably better suited for my height and weight but I strongly believe that I would benefit more from the Laser.

A positive of the RS Aero is that it’s a light boat and would be relatively easy for me to handle. The Rs Aero is a really fast boat with a recorded max speed of 23.8 knots, presumingly making it a thrilling boat to sail. The shape of the hull is similar to that of boats I have previously sailed so will require adjustments to the way I hike. The set up is also very trim it has cleats on both sides of the deck allowing easy access. The RS Aero has a very good trade-in for any RS boats. Due to the fleet being of all ages, you get a wide range of abilities so there will always be a range of competition. Due to it being an upcoming boat, the fleet will slowly begin to increase in size and difficulty, gradually making it a more competitive fleet.

The RS Aero is a very dear boat costing around £11,000-£12,000. This may assumingly make this a costly boat to maintain and block (etc) need to be replaced. The fleet for the Rs Aero is fairly small and may not hold that much competition. Many people have noticed how dangerously effective the RS Aero kicker is and too much can lose you a large amount of power and stall out the boat. This is because the Aero doesn’t have much of a roach and can also cause over-flattening which seems to be negative within the boat.

The 29er

The 29er is a two-person high-performance sailing skiff designed by Julian Bethwaite and first produced in 1998. Derived from the Olympic class 49er class, it is raced in the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships . The 29er is able to reach high speeds fairly quickly by having a sleek and hydrodynamic hull and will often exceed the wind speed when planing both up and downwind . The 29er will hold a range of great opportunities and will be highly entertaining as the boat can easily get up on the plane and ‘take-off.’ It will be a completely different boat to sail in comparison to other boats that I’ve previously sailed so will prove a challenge at the beginning but would expand my knowledge of physics behind boats immensely.

A problem that may arise around the 29er is finding a tall and strong enough crew that it local. The boat is also very dear and will constantly need sail replacements as they begin to become worn and strained, which in itself will be costly. I think that sailing the 29er would take a reasonably long time to get used to sailing as the crew takes the main sheet upwind and is more tippy than the Feva. Due to the lack of local training and sailors at the club, I believe that this would make improvement in the boat much harder as there is no one to compare to.

Winners of the 2019 RYA Youth Champion Awards announced

February 21, 2019

Awards will be presented at the RYA Dinghy Show

Eleven promising sailors and windsurfers from across the UK have been revealed as winners of the RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards.

Read More

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