The 13-foot RS Aero, said to be years in development, is a stunning singlehander that is more than comparable to the Laser. “The concept is to redefine sailing in its most simplest form,” said RS Sailing’s Riki Hooker. “The Aero’s development was an obsession with reducing sailing weight [to 78 pounds], which effects everything else.”
As with other past BOTY winners from RS, the boat was thoroughly engineered in every detail: from the paneled hull coring that makes the chine and minimizes resin pooling during construction, to simple and effective sail control leads, spar options, and tuning/numeral decals on the spars. Even the deck contours were considered to allow boats to be stacked more efficiently for travel and storage.
It has three sail options using different mast sections and the hull shape is sharp, modern, and fast. When it came to selecting the RS Aero as the year’s best one-design, there was no debate. “The boat is impeccable and really quick,” was Stewart’s assessment. “We keep comparing it to the Laser, and when you’re on it, it feels like one, but because it’s narrower forward, it cuts through the waves better. The mast-sail combo works beautifully.”
“What’s cool is when you’re hiking, it fits your body perfectly,” said Allen of the cockpit’s sidewalls. “It’s very clean in the boat, so it’s easy getting across.”
DESIGNED FOR: One-design racing or soul sailing
BEST ATTRIBUTES: Construction quality, lightweight hull, versatile rig with multiple combinations, technical details, and price
PRICE AS TESTED: $6,940