RS400 - a whole lotta boat


... and plenty of racing
The RS400 is a 1990s incarnation of the classic two-man dinghy. Like the RS200, it’s a product of the partnership between LDC and Phil Morrison, sharing many of the design features of the smaller boat - but this is more the beast for bigger people. The madforsailing crew took the RS400 out on a moderate day in ideal sailing conditions - well, it had to happen eventually. The RS400 features a Proctor mast and Hyde sails on a powerful hiking hull, with an asymmetric that incorporates a swinging pole to allow the spinnaker to be projected a long way to windward of the mainsail. She should be manageable by anyone with basic sailing skills, and while not perhaps the boat for raw beginners, the RS400 is capable of providing some stunning performance. Boat reviews always get off on the right foot when the subject is easy to rig, and the RS400 got her first high scores in this respect. Once sailing, it’s clear that the modern design and construction has produced a boat with performance levels equal to or exceeding many trapeze boats. With a very generous beam, the RS400 is powerful upwind, points well and the harder the crew sits out, the faster she goes - which is a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your viewpoint. Upwind steering is precise and sail sheet trimming is simple and efficient. The other major sail controls, notably vang, cunningham and jib luff tension, all lead to neatly recessed cleats in the wide centre thwart. Good scores for systems and layout. Downwind the RS400 is a genuinely fast boat. Pop out the spinnaker and performance shoots into the top league. The swinging pole allows the RS400 to run quite deep, so low angles can be sailed effectively. Durability also looked good, our test

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