After two years of design evolution and prototype testing, the RS100 had taken the sailing world by storm before production even began. The development process was followed online all over the world. Many sailors were given the opportunity to test prototype boats then give their detailed feedback on all key design elements of the boat, helping to define where the performance and handling were pitched, and the myriad of options surrounding all significant features.
The RS100 hull is built using an epoxy GRP composite sandwich construction for light weight, stiffness and a long competitive life.
The shape is easily driven with a reasonably fine bow and sufficient waterline width further aft to give the stability desired. Flared topsides give reserve buoyancy as the boat heels, and the moulded in wings add to this. Spray rails on the chines give excellent water release and also a drier ride.
After much consultation a pivoting centreboard and rudder were chosen for their user friendliness. Launching and recovery are easy and the risk of significant damage through grounding is largely eliminated.
Having paid considerable attention to the wing and cockpit design, we’re pleased to report that so far most people think the RS100 is just about the most comfortable hiking boat they’ve ever sailed.
The mainsheet jammer is well forward in the cockpit, allowing smooth transition in light wind tacks and gybes, without digging the stern.
Vang and Cunningham controls are lead to the sides of the wings and the centreboard has a simple uphaul / downhaul system.
The carbon fibre mast is in two main parts for easy transport on a car roof or in a 20’ shipping container. In addition a removable bottom stump adjusts the mast length for the 8.4 or 10.2 m2 sails.
Shrouds, but no forestay, means the rig can work automatically upwind. The shrouds stop the rig bending forwards under spinnaker loads downwind – this is important to keep the bow up and reduce nose diving without the need for a super-stiff mast which would be heavier, less responsive and costly.
A compression strut vang works on the same principle as the excellent RS300 system, with a roller on the top end which runs down mast. This is easy to adjust and highly effective.
The early response to the RS100 from sailors around the world was incredible and we quickly realised that both big and small sailors really want this boat to work for them.
Having looked in detail at the ways to broaden the competitive weight range the RS100 has two mainsail size options. A width adjustable performance equalisation system would have added considerable cost and meant that light sailors had to carry a lot of lead in the boat. We don’t think this is what the RS100 should be about.
Two mainsail sizes (as per standard Laser and Radial) keep the boat simple and suit a wide weight range. The indications are that this class should soon grow to big numbers, so splitting the fleet will not be a problem.
The asymmetric spinnaker has a big chute beneath the foredeck for quick hoists and drops. The lack of a forestay and the mast reasonably well aft, mean that the spinnaker has a huge amount of space to blow through very easily when gybing.