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RS700 loses weight and powers up!

by Richard Wadsworth 9 Oct 14:33 BST 12-13 October 2019
Volvo Noble Marine RS700 National Championship day 1 © ESSC

In an exciting move at this year's Annual General Meeting, the RS700 sailors voted unanimously to trial a new weight compensation system. The trial is designed to encourage younger and lighter sailors into the class and has two main features: it removes all the lead weights from the boat and adjusts the range of the compensation system to include a broader range of sailor weights.

The current weight compensation system sees the lightest sailors able to extend their wing bars (racks) out to Hole 8 (2.7m), but have to carry 12kg of additional weight in the boat, whilst the heaviest sailors' use Hole 1 (2m), but they carry no additional weight. This is a sliding scale with sailors establishing which rack setting (1-8) and how much weight they need to carry (0-12kg) depending upon their weight and righting moment as measured at the event registration "Weigh-In".

While the current system has served the class well over the years, it has become evident that the average sailor weights at UK events have been gradually increasing with the majority of sailors now being 'off the scale'. This is likely due to the fact that the RS700 is a powerful boat that carries weight well, and the young and enthusiastic men who originally bought them got older and chunkier! To address this and attempt to encourage younger and lighter sailors to the class, the trial will remove the lead weights completely, with the aim of making lighter sailors more competitive whilst making the class more attractive to newcomers as a high-performance skiff. The second feature of the trial is to extend the range of compensation system to bring a greater proportion of sailors back onto it. As a side effect of this, it will see many "medium weight" sailors (80-90kg) increase a rack hole setting and also make them more competitive against the heavy sailors (95kg+). The lure of an extra hole or two on the racks may even be enough to encourage some of the heavier sailors to lose weight prior to events!

This will be a one-year trial, with the system being used at all UK RS700 events from Brightlingsea Skiff-Fest 12-13 Oct 19 through to the end of the UK National Championship at Exe SC 10-13 Sep 20. To inform the trial results, the UK RS700 Class Association Technical Officer will endeavour to produce some empirical data using sailor's event results, charted against sailor weight and wind strength. A decision will be made at the 2020 Annual General Meeting as to whether the trial compensation system should be put to a full RS700 Class Association vote for a permanent change and embodiment in the RS700 Class Rules.

Feedback from the Czech RS700 sailors suggests that they will join the trial, which will increase the amount of feedback and hopefully ensure that the RS700 International Class Association is engaged and supportive of any future vote.

All RS700 sailors are encouraged to join in with the trial and support as many of this year's events as possible to ensure the technical effects of the trial can be properly assessed, while also demonstrating if it does encourage any of the lighter sailors back to events. Details of the new weight compensation trial settings can be found on the RS700 Class Association Website.

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