Rio 2016 equipment: Women's two person skiffs

James Boyd Photography /
In part one of this article we look at the Aura and the RS900
The ISAF Equipment Evaluation trials are underway in Santander this week to determine the Women’s 2 person skiff and the mixed multihulls to be used in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and whether kiteboarding, in any of its many forms, should replace windsurfing. The six women’s skiff offerings comprise the familiar 29erXX, which is up against the Mackay FX, a 49er with a cutdown female-friendly rig. The Hartley Rebel has been in gestation for a few years now to a design by Phil Morrison and Derek Clarke, while RS are fielding their solid-winged RS900 and Ovington their Dreadnought-bowed skimming dish that is the Aura. As the trials are taking place out of Santander's Prince Felipe High Performance Sailing Centre (Spain’s equivalent of the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy) there are a few 49ers on site to compare with the ladies skiff condidates. Most left field of the proposals is the Arup Skiff - a new Cherub (they have two Aardvark-built Kevin Ellway 6 designs here in Santander) that engineering giant Arup is promising to mass produce if its proposal is selected. Among the multihulls there are seven participants including the most prolific of all multihulls, if not all boats – the Hobie 16 – plus its big brother the Hobie Tiger F18. They are up against two offerings from Nacra in their newly launched 16 and 17, while the White-Loday clan are in town with their Spitfire S, Carolijn Brouwer is touting the Australian-built Viper F16 and Roland Gaebler is banging the drum for the Tornado to be returned to its rightful place, having been the Olympic catamaran from 1976 until 2008. Manufacturers and classes are supplying two boats each and MNAs from various countries have offered two sailors per class, so for example Skandia Team GBR’s 470 Women’s reserve team