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Comparison- Rs400 and 59er experience

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damp_freddie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote damp_freddie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Comparison- Rs400 and 59er experience
    Posted: 01 Dec 05 at 9:08pm

This is a little bit of winter time reflection, having had the pleasure of both
boat's company under my quarter end

The purpose of the thread is to look at this from two perspectives of comparison

1) Design - the end user point of view!

2) deciding to buying a new or used RS400 or 59er


I've split it up to avoid the crashes which can happen mid scribble


Seeing that the boats are fully developed OD, and on the market (so despite a rumour of 59er getting a trap  which I'll come to) this thread is really a 'yarn' about sailing experience rather than talking about what is, could or should be under development- glad to see a Devel class vs OD raging as i write

Edited by damp_freddie
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Post Options Post Options   Quote damp_freddie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 05 at 9:12pm
Up front I will say that both boats are well produced and I like them.

First impressions.

The RS 400 had been eating into other classes like the 505, tasar, Fireball and of
course it's ancestor the Merlin Rocket. I reckoned it was about time to get a sail in one,  despite the rather hefty new price tag putting me off impulse purchase.

Coincidence was that at clubs I was a member at and those I visited, the 400 became THE one design boat above all else.

On the water they looked nice - well finished package with a good range of flash colours. Broad too and only seeming a handful in gusty 22 knts plus.

But actually handling the boat was a surprise. It was amazingly heavy to lugg around
the dinghy park.

 From then on I felt it was like a small yacht in the way it generally is to sail. Which suited me as I'm one of the very few folk going TO dinghies FROM yachts  and sportsboats.

Pretty user friendly to crew with most controls being fine but the thwart
lead trio all seemed a bit friction bound - or maybe the problem was not enough purchase?

Helming, having moved from bigger stuff, was a pleasure because
 the weather helm tuned in nicely.  In it's movement in the water
and pinching to depower it felt like a yacht!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote damp_freddie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 05 at 9:14pm
The 59er had been a boat with many rumours as the initial '39er' project name tag.

Having owned a tasar previously and sailed a B14 a couple of times I expect a light boat,
but was still amazed. The mast was feather weight and the boat which is a fair
 old chunk of 4,7 m by 2 m FRP , was actually lighter than a rigged tasar.

In the flesh it is more pleasing on the eye than the photos on the web which
 don't allow your eye  to follow it's hull and 'wing' deck flare.
It is pretty space age looking- I am still getting used to the almost
 'garish' appearance of the 49er. So looks wise it has plus or minus
 points in comparison to the 400. "eye of beholder" nuff said.


Those of you from I14, tasar, B14, RS300 etc etc will be used to a boat
 which wants to sail and has 'dynamic stability' rather than being
particularly stable while sitting still. Treating the boat like a windsurfer
 coming off the beach was the right thing until the dagger
was down- this was the first quibble- damn hard to get the foils down!

The boat felt very lightly driven and made very little wake on first sail in a cold 16
- 18knts with some bigger gusts.

Edited by damp_freddie
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Post Options Post Options   Quote damp_freddie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 05 at 9:53pm
Style of sailing the two

The two boats are very obviously different when you look beyond 'two man, hike out, assymetric'  written on the box so to speak.

Firstly is the hiking style. Personally I didn't like the straps in the 400 being
 lead to the centre at a diagonal for the helm. This made it awkward for me
 to vary my poisition and style of hiking and I was tempted to have
them very slack. Crew hiking varies from fairly chilled out straight leg,
through 'usual' dinghy hike to full on Soling hike style!

The hike style on the 59er is different and has been thought about a lot.
It is aimed at being straight leg with a minimum body below gunwhale
 end result. This allows for fast corrective movements and an allegedly
 far more ergonomic and fatigue free ride once you get trained to it. No doubt
some laser sailors will have something to say


For comparision let us take 16knts of breeze so both boats will be
 planing down wind at a pace and requiring depowering and 'active'
helming to keep them on their feet. In the 9er this was the bottom end
of my windy day, the other day I did was light stuff below 7.5 knts of wind.

The first point kind of preceeds the above line- the 59er will be
planing nicely upwind  - so in theory it can go as fast as the power you
can resist will drive you. In practice you are of course powered for the lulls,
and handling the gusts with some degree of inefficiency. In combination with
 the resistance of hitting waves, things conspire to slow you from theory.
But quite likely you will be doing 7 knts or more in the 9er with very little
leeway.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote damp_freddie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 05 at 9:55pm

Upwind when the gusts hit, the 400 responds nicely to some helm luffing the boat up for the shift in  apparent wind and then a little higher to depower further if needed.
 When a big gust is spotted main is twisted a little and
kicker-cunningham can be applied followed by a concerted big hike out.

When you turn the corner in the 400 the hoist is panic free and the LDC
boat ploughs a furrow before popping up on the plane and making
healthy progress. In this weight of wind the boat probably does
around 12 knts and digs a bit of apparent wind. In gusts you need to dump
the main in order to steer low.

In the Bethwaite-Ovington craft, you are already planing when you get to
the windward mark, and the waves disappear ever faster under
 you before you hoist.  Now think about "engage afterburn" and you have an
idea that the big kite kicks in like rocket propulsion.

An assertive hike and trimm get things settled down followed by a progressive
use of apparent wind. The 9er will be doing near wind speed and probably exceed
wind speed if you happen upon 18knts of puff. Hence sheet loads are a lot lighter
than on the 400. A lot more time is spent keeping the boat under the rig
and concentrating on everything being fast and smooth than on the 400 IMExp.

As I sat trimming the kite or helming with a relaxed straight leg hike in the 59er
 I wondered-
"this is legal, but is it decent to be doing this performance  without twin trapezes and many years of high level experience in 'skiffs'?"



Gybing and tacking both boats is usually stress free if you choose your moments
and get the main across smoothly without messing up tiller coordination. The
400 does seem to roll a bit more.

Hardening up the 400 is staight forward and it can be 'handbrake turned'
at the leeward mark- you will only swim in the 59er in this breeze. A smooth
graceful harden up is needed- keeping boat on the plane - by using helm followed
 by sheet followed by helm and so on... to keep the sheet loads low and the boat
going fast.





Edited by damp_freddie
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Post Options Post Options   Quote damp_freddie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 05 at 10:14pm
Upwind the 59er was not remarkable, and that is the very remarkable thing about it.

We had circa 170kg lard and hiking was not extreme. The boat just sits and sails with an armful of main dumped here and there. In the abscence of a race fleet it
was positively dull to crew because work is taken away by it having a self tacking
 jib. Crew main sheeting doesn't seem to work because of the simple coordination of  one legnth sheet first then a push on the helm if more depowering is required.

 If you are caught out the boat  will 'stagger' like you see I14s etc,
 screwing into the wind and making for a full stall. For really big blocks of
the puffy stuff, a load more main and a tad of jib can be blown out to ride it
low and super fast.

There is little weather helm on the 9er but in the 400 there is loads of it there,
 reassuring the erstwhile yacht helmsman in me. The bowspritted 'Merlin' trucks up wind like it's predecessors. Very satisfying to helm or crew, but you do work for a living.

Edited by damp_freddie
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Post Options Post Options   Quote les5269 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 05 at 10:20pm
Hi Damp-Freddie it must have been quite an experience for you to have to post 6!! posts on your own topic!   Maybe we could get others involved
49er 531 & 5000 5025 and a mirror(now gone to mirror heaven)!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Offshoretiger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 05 at 10:54pm

has he finished yet?

 

...yesterday I couldnt spell enginner...now I are one!......
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bumble Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 05 at 8:43am

Strikes me Damp Freddie is looking for a new way to point out how good he thinks the 59er is.

why not start a 'what does anyone think of the 59er thread'.......again.!!!!!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote damp_freddie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 05 at 12:56pm

Continuing a rant for those who are interested over the winter in boat
 design, perfomance and comparison- not just the skim readers.


SO both boats have virtues and are equally user freindly in my
experience.

Pros and cons.-400

The 400 has a well established fleet, and I remember
it exploding in the 90s. It caught excellent sailors from boats
like the 505 and fireball as a new fun type of sailing with an
'out of the box' OD package- running costs but no hidden
upgrades as with 505 etc (carbon rigs now approved!)


At club level it was within reach of the skills of those
adults coming out of the RYA schooling yet provided enough
challenge for international qauilty sailors to get into the boat.
 A real strong point was that fleets developed at club level
 and that the boat was competitive enough on PY for mixed racing.
In particular conditions the better 400s pin the L4000s on PY.

One attraction which I was told by a former 505 sailor( expert!)
was the 'down wind tacking battles which add a tactical element to
winward-leewards and the run on any 'round the nav bouys' club
runs.

A strong class association with manufacturer support has lead
to a competitive and stable fleet, and even had the boat used in
high level invitationals like the endeavor trophy.
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