madforsailing test: RS K6

The first successful small racing keelboat to be launched in Britain since the Flying 15
Hold on tight, fast and furious action in Chichester Harbour For our test, Peter Bentley teamed up with Europe Class hopeful, Laura Baldwin and LDC Racing Sailboat's supremo, Martin Wadham, to take the K6 demonstrator for a spin. November was not an especially nice month for sailing and listening to the wind howling round the temporary portacabin changing rooms at Hayling Island Sailing Club only served to confirm the bleakness of the day and the venue (though it must be said that the new club now under construction looks like it should be very good indeed). Rigging and launching is a doddle and the three of us managed to get the boat rigged and into the water with no dramas. Getting the sails up, the keel down and the rudder in proved no more difficult and we were soon on our way. On scrambling aboard it soon becomes clear that this really is a keel boat with stacks of stability. Indeed so stable is the K6 that according to Martin Wadham, "it took five people standing on one side and a fair bit of tugging on the rig to get the prototype to capsize" in order to satisfy the statutory test requirements. This stability comes into its own going upwind where the K6 is sailed keelboat style, slightly heeled. Hiking out helps the speed and hiking out hard makes you go faster still. Two big people hiking out hard looks like the best bet of all and the initial idea was to have a crew weight limit to keep things from getting out of hand. Experience racing the K6 has led LDC to reassess this and it seems that the really big guys are at a big enough disadvantage in light airs and down wind in a breeze to make