madforsailing test: RS Vareo

The versatile Vareo
The introduction of LDC's new RS-branded Vareo has been hailed as the dawn of a new era in versatile sailboats. It is designed primarily as a competitive single-hander and yet it has all-round appeal. The Vareo is stable enough to sail with the kids while the cockpit has plenty of room for two adults. It is perhaps for this reason that Sunsail has purchased 25 for its bases in the Mediterannean. The Phil Morrison-designed craft comes with a choice of two rigs. The 'F' rig has a semi-battened mylar and dacron combination mainsail with reef points. This ensures the Vareo remains easy to manage in strong winds and is especially suited for the light or inexperienced sailor. The C rig, used in the madforsailing test, is slightly larger and built from radial cut mylar with full length battens offering a more powerful performance. The added option of an asymmetric spinnaker transforms the boat from just another singlehander into something altogether more interesting. The spinnaker is easy to handle, very light on the sheet, and makes downwind sailing a lot more exciting. Not having a forestay, gybing the spinnaker is a piece of cake. Sailed as a single-hander on a competitive circuit, the boat would be more responsive to crews weighing more than 70kg. Our test pilot, Emma White weighing a mere 54kg, had no trouble however, putting it through its paces on a very light and shifty day in Southampton water. We were all very impressed with the rigging - a timed five minutes from start to finish, extremely simple and very straightforward. As with all of the RS fleet it comes with its own manual with step-by-step guide to rigging and some handy sailing tips. Manoeuvrability on-shore was very much how the brochure said: light, easy to manage and a