I did my usual quick 3 hour tour around the show. Small sailing dinghies are sparse. To my surprise, for the first time this year, RS Sailing from England had a booth featuring some of their sailing dinghy line.
The much touted RS100, 14' assymetric, hiking, singlehander was front and center. I must admit that I like my singlehanders simple. If I want to sail with a spinnaker, I'd just as soon do it with a crew assigned the task of trimming the chute and I would just be steering and pulling the main in and out just like my current singlehander. Putting aside my bias for a moment, the RS100 has all the earmarks of the current high performance SMOD's (single manufacturer one designs); carbon spars, mylar sails, fine bow, chines to a straight run. The RS100 went through the rigors of a long development cycle and the finished product looks very well thought out. A light hull at about 90lbs (41 kg) means the hull skins are very thin and would have to be handled carefully on land.
About 10K to buy. A Laser killer? No way! Will the RS100 be able to make any traction in the American market after both trapeze assymetric singlehanders; the Musto Skiff and the Swift Solo only appealed to a very small niche market? We will see. Popularity aside, I would like to get a ride on a RS100 someday.
Laser Performance had their rotomolded Bug sailing dink lined up for demo rides. I sailed one last year. This is a Joe Richards design, very well executed and at a price point around high $2000. If I remember, it is a double skeg design which made it a little sluggish around the turns but it seemed to sail well in the small confines of Ego Alley. I would put the Bug up as one of the best values for a knock around sailing dinghy.
There is a trend that has me scratching my head. I call it Faux-traditional-daysailor-keelboats that feature small cockpits, narrow meter-boat beams, a nice counter stern and modern keels and rigs. The Singlehanded Scandanavian Cruiser 20 is one of the first of these types. A newer entrant in the field is the two man, 2M from France. Featuring bamboo decks and a 49K price tag....... which, I guess is a pittance compared to putting together a Dragon or 6 meter.
And finally, there was the Stuart dinghy, which was a very attractive dink. I had my aesthetic sensibilities confirmed when the salesmen admitted it was actually a Phil Rhodes design.