do you think the melges 14 will catch on?

BR3232

Member
273
2
I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.
Bloody hell, there's *another* one design dinghy coming soon???

Let me guess - 'you can have any colour as long as it's white', fibreglass/foam sandwich construction, lowish freeboard with a fine bow, basic carbon stayless rig, ~6m² moderate square top mylar semi-battened main and $2000 more than a Laser.

Bonus: 'the best one design dinghy racing yet', 'a new, exciting racing series/circuit', 'for anyone - beginners to expert racers looking for the next challenge'

...how many points do I get?

 
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tillerman

Super Anarchist
5,639
2,794
Rhode Island
I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing.

Totally agree. But I don't think those of us who buy into one of these newer classes want to "knock off" the Laser. We simply want to enjoy boats that give a superior sailing experience and to have the satisfaction of working with other enthusiasts to build a new class. After two years of sailing an RS Aero I can only say that it has revitalized my passion for sailing and, in those two years, I have had some of the most rewarding experiences in my 35 years of sailing.
Good luck to those who prefer to sail a 40 year old design for whatever reasons. I wish them well.
 
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WestCoast

Super Anarchist
I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.
I think statements like this are fairly backwords looking.

(these notes are US specific)

It's one data point, but, there are 30 RS Aeros in Seattle, and it basically completely replaced the Laser fleet for local racing.

(There are still plenty of Lasers around there, but, the top guys for the most part all switched to the Aero)

Also, what you will likely see (as much as US based sailors cringe at the idea, is a general acceptance over the next 3-5 years of Portsmouth or some handicapped racing of multiple designs.

The dinghy market is simply too fragmented now, with too many options, too many companies importing boats for us to ever go back to the old One Design or Nothing way of life.

We'll simply never get back to the days of a manufacturer selling 1000+ a year one design race boats in the US.

The future (like it or not) will be mixed fleet racing with technology (likely your phone), doing real time handicapping. Then everyone can race whatever they want/suits them best, instead of all of us on the internet arguing which one design is best.

It will happen, the groundwork is being laid now.

If you think any of the prevalent 40+ old one design classes are safe, you are just not paying attention.

As sailing grows, that will just be less important to most new folks.

Lasers won't go away, and it's still a great boat with a great fleet. But if you write off the Melges 14, Aero, or whatever J boat, just because a lot of people sail Lasers now.... you don't understand what's happening in the marketplace.

 

Hobie Dog

Super Anarchist
2,862
14
Chesapeake Bay
I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.
Bloody hell, there's *another* one design dinghy coming soon???

Let me guess - 'you can have any colour as long as it's white', fibreglass/foam sandwich construction, lowish freeboard with a fine bow, basic carbon stayless rig, ~6m² moderate square top mylar semi-battened main and $2000 more than a Laser.

Bonus: 'the best one design dinghy racing yet', 'a new, exciting racing series/circuit', 'for anyone - beginners to expert racers looking for the next challenge'

...how many points do I get?
Spot on Mate! That's funny!

They might go with, "The Ultimate in OD dinghy racing."

And in typical J fashion it will be slower than the Laser and have some lead in the board. You know so you don't actually have to hike as hard. It's not fair to lose a race to someone that is more athletic and out hikes you.

 

Hobie Dog

Super Anarchist
2,862
14
Chesapeake Bay
I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.
I think statements like this are fairly backwords looking.

(these notes are US specific)

It's one data point, but, there are 30 RS Aeros in Seattle, and it basically completely replaced the Laser fleet for local racing.

(There are still plenty of Lasers around there, but, the top guys for the most part all switched to the Aero)

Also, what you will likely see (as much as US based sailors cringe at the idea, is a general acceptance over the next 3-5 years of Portsmouth or some handicapped racing of multiple designs.

The dinghy market is simply too fragmented now, with too many options, too many companies importing boats for us to ever go back to the old One Design or Nothing way of life.

We'll simply never get back to the days of a manufacturer selling 1000+ a year one design race boats in the US.

The future (like it or not) will be mixed fleet racing with technology (likely your phone), doing real time handicapping. Then everyone can race whatever they want/suits them best, instead of all of us on the internet arguing which one design is best.

It will happen, the groundwork is being laid now.

If you think any of the prevalent 40+ old one design classes are safe, you are just not paying attention.

As sailing grows, that will just be less important to most new folks.

Lasers won't go away, and it's still a great boat with a great fleet. But if you write off the Melges 14, Aero, or whatever J boat, just because a lot of people sail Lasers now.... you don't understand what's happening in the marketplace.
Wow WestCoast that's a very interesting post. You are in the industry so tough to argue against you. I see what you are saying but on the other side I think there is also a core group that just wants to race OD period. Does not matter the boat as long as they are all the same. And the Laser is still hands down the easiest point of entry to do that in most areas of the country.

Question for you: So let's assume the Laser, Aero and Melges 14 are all racing together in some sort of Portsmouth fleet. Unless they all rate the same, and they won't, would not the faster boat have the advantage? The longer you can hold your lane on that first beat, especially in a big fleet, generally the better you will do overall in the race. I don't think you can handicap bad air can you? Or intentionally going "the wrong way" as that is still better than getting gassed for the next mile upwind.

I know personally if I were racing in such a mixed fleet I would buy the fastest boat. So over time people would gravitate to the faster boat even in a mixed fleet? No??? "I am tired of getting gassed in my Laser, my Aero, my Melges, my whatever... I am buying the new (insert the latest faster boat here). So instead of buying a new sail every year to get that little extra speed/point advantage people will be buying the latest faster boat instead??? I don't think that is good for the sport. Thoughts on that?

 

tillerman

Super Anarchist
5,639
2,794
Rhode Island
Question for you: So let's assume the Laser, Aero and Melges 14 are all racing together in some sort of Portsmouth fleet. Unless they all rate the same, and they won't, would not the faster boat have the advantage? The longer you can hold your lane on that first beat, especially in a big fleet, generally the better you will do overall in the race. I don't think you can handicap bad air can you? Or intentionally going "the wrong way" as that is still better than getting gassed for the next mile upwind.

I know personally if I were racing in such a mixed fleet I would buy the fastest boat. So over time people would gravitate to the faster boat even in a mixed fleet? No??? "I am tired of getting gassed in my Laser, my Aero, my Melges, my whatever... I am buying the new (insert the latest faster boat here). So instead of buying a new sail every year to get that little extra speed/point advantage people will be buying the latest faster boat instead??? I don't think that is good for the sport. Thoughts on that?

I'm not sure that that is a real problem. If faster boats have an advantage then sooner or later that will be reflected in their handicaps, especially if you adjust the handicap numbers based on results at your club.

But if you think it is a real issue, then hold some pursuit races at your club too. Then it is the slowest boat that starts the race in clear air. Will everybody rush out to buy the slowest boat in order to win the pursuit races?

 
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torrid

Super Anarchist
1,068
419
Totally agree. But I don't think those of us who buy into one of these newer classes want to "knock off" the Laser. We simply want to enjoy boats that give a superior sailing experience and to have the satisfaction of working with other enthusiasts to build a new class. After two years of sailing an RS Aero I can only say that it has revitalized my passion for sailing and, in those two years, I have had some of the most rewarding experiences in my 35 years of sailing.

Good luck to those who prefer to sail a 40 year old design for whatever reasons. I wish them well.
There is definitely a lot of comradery in play here that would not happen if you were just one person with a new boat in a mixed fleet of different designs.

 

tillerman

Super Anarchist
5,639
2,794
Rhode Island
Totally agree. But I don't think those of us who buy into one of these newer classes want to "knock off" the Laser. We simply want to enjoy boats that give a superior sailing experience and to have the satisfaction of working with other enthusiasts to build a new class. After two years of sailing an RS Aero I can only say that it has revitalized my passion for sailing and, in those two years, I have had some of the most rewarding experiences in my 35 years of sailing.

Good luck to those who prefer to sail a 40 year old design for whatever reasons. I wish them well.
There is definitely a lot of comradery in play here that would not happen if you were just one person with a new boat in a mixed fleet of different designs.
True. I know pretty much every class says this, but one of the best things about the RS Aero is the other RS Aero sailors. The shared experience of starting a new class, traveling to new locations for regattas and meeting lots of like-minded souls, and seeing the class grow every year has all been part of the fun.

 
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Looper

Anarchist
I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.
I think statements like this are fairly backwords looking.

(these notes are US specific)

It's one data point, but, there are 30 RS Aeros in Seattle, and it basically completely replaced the Laser fleet for local racing.

(There are still plenty of Lasers around there, but, the top guys for the most part all switched to the Aero)

Also, what you will likely see (as much as US based sailors cringe at the idea, is a general acceptance over the next 3-5 years of Portsmouth or some handicapped racing of multiple designs.

The dinghy market is simply too fragmented now, with too many options, too many companies importing boats for us to ever go back to the old One Design or Nothing way of life.

We'll simply never get back to the days of a manufacturer selling 1000+ a year one design race boats in the US.

The future (like it or not) will be mixed fleet racing with technology (likely your phone), doing real time handicapping. Then everyone can race whatever they want/suits them best, instead of all of us on the internet arguing which one design is best.

It will happen, the groundwork is being laid now.

If you think any of the prevalent 40+ old one design classes are safe, you are just not paying attention.

As sailing grows, that will just be less important to most new folks.

Lasers won't go away, and it's still a great boat with a great fleet. But if you write off the Melges 14, Aero, or whatever J boat, just because a lot of people sail Lasers now.... you don't understand what's happening in the marketplace.
West Coast, I truly support you and your business and appreciate all that you do for sailing.

That being said, are you really suggesting that dinghy sailors are all going to be sailing in handicapped fleets in the future? Good God, get me out of the sport now if that's the case. One of the main reasons I left big boat sailing for small boats was all the BS that goes along with handicap fleets. I know it makes me biased in this discussion, but I chose the laser over all other offerings due to its widespread pure OD racing.

I hope you're wrong.

IMHO, I believe the answer to the SMOD equation needs to be a boat that makes the minor enhancements the Laser has needs to get with the times (lighter, better self-bailing cockpit, and removal of the end-boom sheeting are things that easily come to mind) and come in at a lower cost than the Laser.

 
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StumbleNola

Anarchist
620
1
New Orleans
I think the solution maybe something like what the A-Cats have done in our fleet. All A-Cats start together, race together, and are scored together. Then then foilers/floaters are broken out into their own awards.

You could easily do the same thing in a mixed fleet. Everyone starts together, is scored on handicap together, and then individual fleets are broken out and scored OD seperatly. Even better this would provide the best handicap evidence possible for adjusting the ratings.

Big fleets, tight OD racing, and handicap racing as an aside.

 

tillerman

Super Anarchist
5,639
2,794
Rhode Island
I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.
I think statements like this are fairly backwords looking.

(these notes are US specific)

It's one data point, but, there are 30 RS Aeros in Seattle, and it basically completely replaced the Laser fleet for local racing.

(There are still plenty of Lasers around there, but, the top guys for the most part all switched to the Aero)

Also, what you will likely see (as much as US based sailors cringe at the idea, is a general acceptance over the next 3-5 years of Portsmouth or some handicapped racing of multiple designs.

The dinghy market is simply too fragmented now, with too many options, too many companies importing boats for us to ever go back to the old One Design or Nothing way of life.

We'll simply never get back to the days of a manufacturer selling 1000+ a year one design race boats in the US.

The future (like it or not) will be mixed fleet racing with technology (likely your phone), doing real time handicapping. Then everyone can race whatever they want/suits them best, instead of all of us on the internet arguing which one design is best.

It will happen, the groundwork is being laid now.

If you think any of the prevalent 40+ old one design classes are safe, you are just not paying attention.

As sailing grows, that will just be less important to most new folks.

Lasers won't go away, and it's still a great boat with a great fleet. But if you write off the Melges 14, Aero, or whatever J boat, just because a lot of people sail Lasers now.... you don't understand what's happening in the marketplace.
West Coast, I truly support you and your business and appreciate all that you do for sailing.

That being said, are you really suggesting that dinghy sailors are all going to be sailing in handicapped fleets in the future? Good God, get me out of the sport now if that's the case. One of the main reasons I left big boat sailing for small boats was all the BS that goes along with handicap fleets. I know it makes me biased in this discussion, but I chose the laser over all other offerings due to its widespread pure OD racing.

I hope you're wrong.
Is this a black and white thing? Sure there are a lot of Laser regattas around where I live and a very strong frostbite fleet, but where I sail in the summer there is sometimes only one Laser who shows up for racing on a Saturday afternoon, and on other days only two or three. Ditto for Sunfish. Wouldn't these folk have more fun if they could do handicap and/or pursuit racing at their home club, and then travel to regattas to do one-design racing?

 
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Hobie Dog

Super Anarchist
2,862
14
Chesapeake Bay
Question for you: So let's assume the Laser, Aero and Melges 14 are all racing together in some sort of Portsmouth fleet. Unless they all rate the same, and they won't, would not the faster boat have the advantage? The longer you can hold your lane on that first beat, especially in a big fleet, generally the better you will do overall in the race. I don't think you can handicap bad air can you? Or intentionally going "the wrong way" as that is still better than getting gassed for the next mile upwind.

I know personally if I were racing in such a mixed fleet I would buy the fastest boat. So over time people would gravitate to the faster boat even in a mixed fleet? No??? "I am tired of getting gassed in my Laser, my Aero, my Melges, my whatever... I am buying the new (insert the latest faster boat here). So instead of buying a new sail every year to get that little extra speed/point advantage people will be buying the latest faster boat instead??? I don't think that is good for the sport. Thoughts on that?

I'm not sure that that is a real problem. If faster boats have an advantage then sooner or later that will be reflected in their handicaps, especially if you adjust the handicap numbers based on results at your club.

But if you think it is a real issue, then hold some pursuit races at your club too. Then it is the slowest boat that starts the race in clear air. Will everybody rush out to buy the slowest boat in order to win the pursuit races?
WHAT!? How could you pull off a pursuit race between a Laser, Aero, and Melges? They are all going to be very close in speed. Say 10 boats of each. OK you 10 Lasers start, then 30 seconds later you 10 Aero's start and then 5 seconds later you 10 Melges get to start. Nobody be over early and screw this all up OK? Oh and you Melges I don't want to see you up in the Aero start. Good Luck with that!!! Not going to work. Pursuit races work and are fun but there can't be a lot of boats and they need to be spaced out rating wise.

WestCoast is talking about a mixed fleet between single handed dinghies. They are all going to be very close in speed. But the slightly faster boat, if sailed well, will have the advantage especially on that first beat. Once you can squirt out in front you have the HUGE advantage. Anyone that has raced in a large OD fleet knows how much easier the race gets if you can win or be one of the first to the top mark. I don't think you can get a handicap right to reflect this.

 

couchsurfer

Super Anarchist
18,324
136
NA westcoast
I know personally if I were racing in such a mixed fleet I would buy the fastest boat. So over time people would gravitate to the faster boat even in a mixed fleet? No??? "I am tired of getting gassed in my Laser, my Aero, my Melges, my whatever... I am buying the new (insert the latest faster boat here). So instead of buying a new sail every year to get that little extra speed/point advantage people will be buying the latest faster boat instead??? I don't think that is good for the sport. Thoughts on that?

....turning over boats for new ones has a huge benefit to fleet building.... a more accessible price for lower budget sailors.

 
Merges 14 Update: News relating to the question? Will the Melges 14 catch on? The recent Sarasota Sailing Squadron Midwinter One Design Regatta ( Mar 17-19 ) attracted 24 racers. Good video on this racing. Search Melges 14 Sarasota Sailing Squadron Midwinter One Design Regatta - two videos. Last weekend ( demos ), Andy Burdick from Melges reported the sale of 5 new boats at Lake Lanier Sailing Club, Atlanta and 8 new boats sold in Chattanooga. Not bad for several weeks. Things are looking up for the Melges 14.

 

DTA

Anarchist
746
12
San Antonio
I like the sleeved sail - that's actually a selling point for me. But the thing that concerns me is that the layout of the boat prevents the sailor from sitting on the back 2 feet or so of the boat. The traveler line at the back basically prevents you from scooting your butt back to the very rear of the boat. From my experience w/ the Aero, that's not good. I need to be able to sit at the VERY rear of the Aero to keep the nose up in big wind and waves.

Is the design of the Melges 14 different? Does the sailor's weight not need to be situated in the very rear of the boat in big winds/waves to keep the bow up out of the water? Maybe it's fine, but I'd like to see video of someone smoking in the Melges 14 @ 20 mph or so in some sizeable chop so that I can confirm that they are doing so seated forward of the traveler.

 
A

Amati

Guest
I like the sleeved sail - that's actually a selling point for me. But the thing that concerns me is that the layout of the boat prevents the sailor from sitting on the back 2 feet or so of the boat. The traveler line at the back basically prevents you from scooting your butt back to the very rear of the boat. From my experience w/ the Aero, that's not good. I need to be able to sit at the VERY rear of the Aero to keep the nose up in big wind and waves.

Is the design of the Melges 14 different? Does the sailor's weight not need to be situated in the very rear of the boat in big winds/waves to keep the bow up out of the water? Maybe it's fine, but I'd like to see video of someone smoking in the Melges 14 @ 20 mph or so in some sizeable chop so that I can confirm that they are doing so seated forward of the traveler.
Y'know, Henry Bosset made a sleeved and zippered fathead sail for me that fit on a Force 5 mast, and the halyard runs inside the sleeve. It was based on a class legal rule. It works really well. I don't know why the idea isn't used more Widely. I know, zippers. But I've never had a problem with em, even on my Reynolds 3 in one windsurfing sail

The halyard flapping around the Aero mast can't

be fast. But if everybody has it.....

 
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dogwatch

Super Anarchist
17,179
1,770
South Coast, UK
The Aero halyard doesn't flap if you rig properly.

Those who sail in sandy places may not be too keen on zippers.

Plenty complain about the difficulty of rigging the sleeved Laser in big breeze and adding full-length battens is going to double that pain.

 
A

Amati

Guest
The Aero halyard doesn't flap if you rig properly.

Those who sail in sandy places may not be too keen on zippers.

Plenty complain about the difficulty of rigging the sleeved Laser in big breeze and adding full-length battens is going to double that pain.
Just going by a couple I've seen, from a distance, and some YouTube's. How do you rig properly to avoid this?
My main experience with this sort of thing are OK's and Finns- we used halyard locks up top. Is that Aero practice?

 
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Foxy

Member
465
0
Sebastian FL
Do I think the Melges 14 will catch on?

Yes. It looks like it already has. At least in the US.

Check out pre-registration for the Melges 14 Midwinters in Sarasota this weekend. 22 boats are signed up as of this morning, which is comparable with the turnout for the RS Aero Midwinters in West Palm Beach a few weeks ago.

As one of the early adopters of the RS Aero, I personally don't see the reason for preferring the Melges 14 over the RS Aero, but it's good to see another new single-handed class getting some traction. Maybe we can have some joint RS Aero and Melges 14 regattas in the future?
As I understand it, there were a number of Aero Charters available in Florida and there was a fairly large push to get people in them and out sailing. I do not know if that was the case with the Melges or not. I know of four local people that chartered Aero's for the Jenson Beach regatta. Its a great way to find out if you like the boat, but does not necessarily equate to buying them. Those people are all still sailing their Lasers and plan to stick with them because they know they will have a fleet to sail against.

If I were in the market, the Aero looks like the boat I would be more interested in, but it will be at least another year before I can get back in any dinghy again.

 




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