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RS Aero fleet 'Lift-Off' weekend at Chelmarsh Sailing Club

by Peter Barton 25 Nov 2014 12:58 GMT 22-23 November 2014
RS Aero fleet 'Lift-Off' weekend at Chelmarsh © Corinna Hanman

18 sailors pitched up to be enlightened on 'Everything Aero' on the class association organised Chelmarsh Fleet 'Lift-Off' weekend. The ten-boat fleet consisted of 8 owned boats from Chelmarsh, Blithfield and Nottingham and 8 eager demo sailors took it in turns in the two demo boats provided by RS.

Alex Southon of RS started the proceedings with an informative run through the boat; rigging, launching, boat care and design. Whilst the ethos of the Aero is simplicity, it remains packed full of small design features that are all there for good reason!

Peter Barton then took over the sailing side of things; sail controls, technique and boat handling – describing many Aero specifics where the lightweight 30kg hull and responsive carbon rig may vary from previous classes sailed.

With a light breeze across the lake we took to the water in earnest to practice tacks and gybes around a tight course with Peter on the whistle keeping it energetic. The Aeros did look nimble in the light breeze with several reports of them being quick to accelerate in the zephyrs.

As the breeze softened we returned to shore for lunch and a run through of the three main forms of capsize; 'dry, wet and turtle'. Like most things in life; if it is hard you are likely going about it the wrong way! Some simple instruction of each method followed and a description of how conventional techniques need small variations due to the super light 30kg hull and carbon rig. As they would when you change between any two boats.

With the lake now calm the raised ground around Chelmarsh proved a perfect vantage point to spectate the various capsize drills. These demonstrated how the Aero was easy to board from turtle using the gunwales and how the cockpit grab rails made it easier to re-board amidships when upright, as demonstrated by a 85kg adult with no wind to balance against. The transom recovery method again proved no issue - the honeycomb flaps provide a good initial hand hold and the transom sinks down as you pull yourself up. All was documented efficiently by videographer, Corinna Hanman, who had joined us for the day.

A quick chat on class plans; Winter Champs & Series, 2015 Nationals, 2015 UK Series, Aero5 Squad, the Class Association and general Aero Admin! An encouraging show of hands at both Bowmoor last week and Chelmarsh this week has confirmed that the RS Aero Winter Championship will be held at Oxford SC, Farmoor, on Saturday 3rd January as part of the 'Oxford Blue' Sail-Juice event and that the 2015 UK National Championships will be held at Weymouth (WPNSA) on 29-31st August (Bank Holiday).

We even managed to elect some class officers; Peter Townend to Chair the Class Association Committee and Robert Fisk Moore as Chelmarsh Fleet Captain.

6 Aeros joined in Chelmarsh's 3 races on the Sunday with a nice force 2. His new class Chairmanship gave Peter Townend a spring in his sailing boots leading the Aeros home in all 3 races and winning the 2nd and 3rd overall. Chelmarsh Fleet captain Robert Fisk Moore followed home as 2nd Aero in the 2nd and 3rd races. So maybe taking committee positions do improve your results!

All in all, it was a most enjoyable weekend meeting fellow Aeroists, present and future, with some very positive feedback. We certainly had a very constructive time considering the conditions that we were dealt!

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