RS Aero vs Melges 14

mattysailor

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In terms of fleet numbers in North America, is the RS aero or the Melges 14 a better boat? Also, what are the differences in terms of sailors they tend to attract?
 

Xeon

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Looking from afar it looks like the Aero has sold more boats and more fleets have been created .
The Melges is a longer ,wider and heavier boat so I suspect will attract a longer ,wider and heavier sailor.lol.
I am sure other posters will give you better and more detailed info.

@tillerman i think this is where you step in to big up the Aeros point of view 😀.
 

tillerman

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Looking from afar it looks like the Aero has sold more boats and more fleets have been created .
The Melges is a longer ,wider and heavier boat so I suspect will attract a longer ,wider and heavier sailor.lol.
I am sure other posters will give you better and more detailed info.

@tillerman i think this is where you step in to big up the Aeros point of view 😀.
I have written elsewhere about my passion for the RS Aero but I have no knowledge of the Melges 14. I have never even seen one.

However, I am pretty sure you are correct in saying that more RS Aeros have been sold and more RS Aero fleets have been established.

If you want a neutral view of the merits of the RS Aero vs the Melges 14 (and Laser and Devoti D-Zero) then read the report of the 2019 World Sailing Olympic Evaluation Committee. Spoiler alert - the RS Aero won. The Melges 14 scored worse than the Laser.

As for what sailors are attracted to the RS Aero class - it does seem to appeal all sorts of folk, the young and old, male and female, sailors new to dinghy racing, and former Olympians. The whole range.
 
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Blue One

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I have written elsewhere about my passion for the RS Aero but I have no knowledge of the Melges 14. I have never even seen one. However, I am pretty sure you are correct in saying that more RS Aeros have been sold and more RS Aero fleets have been established.
If you want a neutral view of the merits of the RS Aero vs the Melges 14 (and Laser and Devoti D-Zero) then read the report of the 2019 World Sailing Olympic Evaluation Committee. Spoiler alert - the RS Aero won.
Good call , that’s a good place to start ( though as another D-zero owner I don’t agree with ALL conclusions 😂😂)
I’ve never seen a Melges 14 in the flesh either but my first thought about it after seeing pictures and some vids was because of the large soap dish cockpit, was I doesn’t look very comfortable when your not hiking .No where to sit or even perch, I think in lighter winds you would spent a lot of time
 

WCB

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I think that Xeon is spot on with their assessment of the boats. The RS Aero is far more popular. As a bigger person myself, 6'3", I've sailed the Aero and it felt like a toy. I wish it was in more breeze but I only got to sail it in ghosting conditions. The Melges 14 appeals more to me for its hull size but currently I race ILCAs and do well in our local fleet.
 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
In a better world the choice would be easy. But this timeline in this world is more like a rusty old carnival roller coaster full of narcissistic drunk high school drop outs, tipping over from a quake ridden cliff, falling through an out of control wildfire, towards a hurricane battered rocky shore, all while singing an out of key, sloppy version of Sinatra's "I did it my way!"

Summary? If I had more space and cash to burn I'd have both. If I were to make a choice it would be an RS Aero with hopes of local OD in the future. I have four dinghies now, I could see an Aero being number five.

Warning, my opinion is out of date because it's been a few years since I was able to sail both one summer. As @tillerman noted, at 88-90kg, a bit over 6', I am naturally attracted to the M14 with the larger sail. So much so that I also consider a VX/Evo part of this comparison. I'm not sure I would put much value in the World Sailing document, that it rated a Laser as being athletically superior to an Aero seems purposefully obtuse and I'm underwhelmed by a comparison that feels it is better to have a boat that favors the raw strength of the sailor and dismisses technical knowledge.

The M14 is a powerful, nimble palace to be on. I loved the boat and didn't want to give it back when I packed it up that evening. Some feel they are sort of expensive, I feel you get what you pay for with the M14. Supposedly M14's are not selling well and the only OD racing I've heard of are the chartered events. The lack of long term value is what turns me off of the boat, unless I pick up a used one.

The RS Aero is modern, light, quick, and is very nimble while having a nice cockpit to be in. Roll tacking is super easy, gybes more predictable then say a Laser, and just plain fun to sail. I've heard but not experienced an issue of the narrow bow being tricky when planing downwind in waves, but I'd rather that than a boat pushing around unnecessary fiberglass weight. Aero resale value will likely hold up. The RS Aero class page shows 190+ of them in N.America, that number does not include those not registered with the class.
 
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tillerman

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In a better world the choice would be easy. But this timeline in this world is more like a rusty old carnival roller coaster full of narcissistic drunk high school drop outs, tipping over from a quake ridden cliff, falling through an out of control wildfire, towards a hurricane battered rocky shore, all while singing an out of key, sloppy version of Sinatra's "I did it my way!"

Summary? If I had more space and cash to burn I'd have both. If I were to make a choice it would be an RS Aero with hopes of local OD in the future. I have four dinghies now, I could see an Aero being number five.

Warning, my opinion is out of date because it's been a few years since I was able to sail both one summer. As @tillerman noted, at 88-90kg, a bit over 6', I am naturally attracted to the M14 with the larger sail. So much so that I also consider a VX/Evo part of this comparison. I'm not sure I would put much value in the World Sailing document, that it rated a Laser as being athletically superior to an Aero seems purposefully obtuse and I'm underwhelmed by a comparison that feels it is better to have a boat that favors the raw strength of the sailor and dismisses technical knowledge.

The M14 is a powerful, nimble palace to be on. I loved the boat and didn't want to give it back when I packed it up that evening. Some feel they are sort of expensive, I feel you get what you pay for with the M14. Supposedly M14's are not selling well and the only OD racing I've heard of are the chartered events. The lack of long term value is what turns me of on the boat, unless I pick up a used one.

The RS Aero class page shows 190+ of them in N.America, that number does not include those not registered with the class.
This is probably out of date by now but the West Coast Sailing (dealer) website estimates RS Aero population being "close to 400 in the US by 2019. There are ~150 just on the West Coast of North America, from Vancouver to San Diego."

By the way, if anyone reading this is planning to buy a new RS Aero... RS Sailing, West Coast Sailing and Zim Sailing have a killer deal on new RS Aeros this month (December 2022.)
aerodeal.jpg


Sorry if I am breaking any SA rules in posting this. I have no commercial interest or connection with any of the three companies involved. Just want to see more happy faces on the RS Aero start line in 2023.
 
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Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
I love how the chine is out of the water on the downwind. And until reading the WS doc and looking at that picture and seeing the mainsheet entirely forward of the sailor, the Aero is clearly superior in that respect.
 

Taipan

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I'd suggest the Aero has sold enough and established itself long and wide enough that it's now a common class that will stick. The M14 is yet to achieve this and is at risk of being a niche at a handful of clubs, then forgotten and discontinued as another one that didn't make it. The practicalities and sail size options of the Aero are strong selling points and the manufacture has been successful at controlling the build quaintly and sailor's tinkering, to produce a valued fairness in its racing.
 

Stanno

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As a big unit, I love my M14 ... I will never afford a Reichel Pugh Yacht, but the lines of this thing as it trucks upwind are hypnotising ... and my ageing brain appreciates not being belted once a week by a low boom .... and my ex windsurfing brain does love a modern sail that isn't white ...

But otherwise, love RS boats and the team behind them. The Aero is a ripper, but we only rarely see them west of Sydney Harbour Bridge! ILCAs rule ... and yes, I still get in a full rig for inter club... and duck!!

I suspect globally the Aero has already become the default singlehander to an ILCA, and will only increase when the inevitable sail upgrade occurs... ;-)
 

Gouvernail

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Currently I own both a Laser and an AERO.
In fact, I plan to buy a new one of each in the next two years.
The Laser certainly has the deeper fleet, a great fleet st my home club, and more regattas.
The AERO has regattas WITHOUT that part of sailing I have grown to find annoying.

Prefacing my next remark:
I consider singlehanded games of all sorts to be interesting because it is all about PERSONAL preparation, ability, endurance, and learning from your own mistakes.

Although it is personally convenient for me when the coaches and mommy/ daddy boats are around, ( because they are always overly nice to me ) I really do not like the fact some kids have paid coaches and support and the other kids are second class citizens.

So… I really like the fact I have not seen a single coach boat at an AERO regatta. Maybe it is happening but it certainly is nothing like the Radial fleet.

So far, my AERO experience has been, “we are a bunch of friendly folks out playing on our sailboats.”

No bumper boats. No hitting marks and sailing on. In fact, I cannot recall a protest.
 

mattysailor

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Does anybody think the RS aero could replace the Laser, or will the Aero and the Laser cater to different niches?
 

Alan Crawford

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I started sailing an Aero this season. I had previously owned 6 Lasers since 1978. I'm 6'0" and around 185 lbs. The 9 rig is great. I have never seen a M14. I did not consider the M14 for one reason - weight. The main selling feature for me on the Aero is the very light overall weight. Where I sail, water access is difficult so lighter weight is key. I also have to admit that being able to raise / lower the main is quite nice with the Aero. I am surprised the M14 went with the Laser no halyard route.
 

WCB

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So… I really like the fact I have not seen a single coach boat at an AERO regatta. Maybe it is happening but it certainly is nothing like the Radial fleet.
There is a burden for a class like the ILCA when it is an Olympic class boat. You get the people who over do it with respect to coach boats and aggressive, win at all costs, behavior in their pursuit of being at the front of the class. Something that the Aero can easily avoid these days. That will definitely change if the Aero becomes the boat of choice for the Olympics.
 

Lost in Translation

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The M14 is a powerful broad reaching boat with its wide stern and flat top main. I've sailed one and it is a nice boat to sail. In high wind, it can put up some big numbers on a deep reach. I think the challenge is that sit-on dinghies without kites are generally faster in windward leeward racing going straight downwind. To me it looks like the M14 is really made to have a small kite and broad reach like an M24 or M15.

I've not sailed the Aero but have always been impressed by its focus on low weight.
 

BlatantEcho

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The Aero has outsold the M14 by at least 6:1

There are probably now 650+ Aeros in North America.
I don't have the exact figures, but assume it's 75-90 M14s.
 

Cunningham72

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The Aero has outsold the M14 by at least 6:1

There are probably now 650+ Aeros in North America.
I don't have the exact figures, but assume it's 75-90 M14s.
If you don’t have exact figures then why speculate. Last I heard when researching there are 400 Melges 14s in the US and 200 in Europe. Having sailed both boats I see a few key differences. For anyone bigger than 180 pounds the aero may feel cramped and a bit small, it’s light so it loses momentum quickly, the 14 is light as well but seem to keep power through waves. The 14 is much better/ easier to boat handle in my opinion the cockpit layout and open transom is much cleaner. The aero rig set up with mid boom sheeting doesn’t seem to be as well thought out as you can’t induce mast bend with the mainsheet. The demo I sailed in had both boats available the 14 seemed to be the faster boat. I preferred the M14 but obviously to each his own.
 

Xeon

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Mmm I am with Echo on this one .
Aero figures are out there and easily proved .
I would need to see some very hard evidence before I believed there are 600 Melges 14 made, as there is no way there are 200 in Europe and if this forum is to believed , very few sailors in the USA have ever seen one .
Cunningham 72 any chance you can post a link to evidence to back up your claim?
 




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