TECH COMMITTEE - New Look RS500

Feb. 3, 2019, 10 a.m.

Written by Michiel Geerling, European Business Development for RS Sailing and member of the RS500 Technical Committee.

In the twelve years since its launch the RS500 has established itself as one of the most successful and international modern classes, with competitive racing at club, circuit and championship level, plus a lively social scene.

That success is set to build into a new era following an extensive collaboration between the RS500 International Class and RS Sailing to identify and make targeted updates to the RS500, whilst retaining the one-design performance, crew range and the handling enjoyed by so many sailors.

The most visible change will be the recess for the spinnaker chute. A bit wider and with a new tackplate using tape to cover the chute will be avoided. Also the better drainage ducts as per the RS Aero are well visible changes. The amount of water coming in the boat while sailing backwards or laying still is limited by these new drainage ducts and it prevents sheets to go through the ducts while water comes out.

Subtle changes have also been made to the hull. Under the surface, the internal structure is now constructed from foam cored GRP laminate, replacing the old plywood construction. This reduces the weight of this structure, allowing the laminate strength to be increased in historically vulnerable areas without any overall weight difference. Change the resin from polyester to vinylester to reduce water ingress and weight changing of the hulls over years. Also RS will be changing deck seam to add strength to the construction for longevity.

A request from the class was to design a better recess for slot gasket, so it does not damage as easily. Again a subtle improvement with a positive result. The centreboard case will continue having the same system with stir-ups but the design of the case will be enhanced to prevent the stir-ups from leaving their case. There will be no deck hole going through the gunwale for the shrouds and spinnaker sheets to avoid leaking through these areas; recessed fairleads in the deck will be added to replace the deck holes.

Better leads for jib cleats and spinnaker halyard should result in improved ease of use for different crew combinations.

Last, but not least, The Mark 2 RS500 will have a recess for pro-grip on side deck. This will keep the pro-grip in place and stay nice for a longer time and will look smart. Also pro-grip on the cockpit floor is becoming an option.

The boat is clearly the RS500 we all know and love, but it has gained a smart, fresh new look with significant underlying technical improvements. RS Sailing together with the RS500 class will be testing the new Mk2 RS500 in the month of March and will start full-on production in April.

Quick overview:

* Changing deck seam to add strength.

* Add recess for pro-grip on side deck.

* Change the resin from polyester to epoxy to reduce water ingress and weight changing.

* Add recess for spinnaker chute and tack plate to avoid the use of tape.

* Take out main wood areas and add GRP plates.

* Investigate changing the centreboard design to avoid the use of stirrups - same centreboard design but different pivot point.

* Design better recess for slot gasket, so it does not damage as easily.

* Add better drainage ducts as per the RS Aero.

* Add better lead for jib cleats.

* Add better lead for spinnaker halyard.

* No deck hole going through the gunwale for the shrouds and spinnaker sheets to avoid leaking through these areas; recessed fairleads in the deck will be added to replace.