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.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 .
Good call , that’s a good place to start ( though as another D-zero owner I don’t agree with ALL conclusions )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.
This is probably out of date by now but the West Coast Sailing (dealer) website estimates RS Aero population being "close to 400 in the US by 2019.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."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Warning, my opinion is out of date because it's been a few years since I was able to sail both one summer.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.
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.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.
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.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.