Home . Articles . Boats . Perry on Design . RS Venture

RS Venture

2012 June 6

Trainer / Daysailer

I like small boats. I like dinghies. I started sailing in a Phil Rhodes-designed Penguin 12-foot dinghy. We had quite a fleet of them racing on Lake Washington back in the early 1960s. The Penguin was a great boat to learn on. It carried a crew of two. The problem with the Penguin, or one of the problems, was that it was cat-rigged so while the skipper steered and trimmed the one sail, the crew sat forward and the only job for the crew was to rotate the mast with each tack and from time to time raise or lower the centerboard. Crewing on a Penguin was not very exciting. But it did get me started, and my very first race was as crew on a Penguin. The ideal boat for beginners should be a versatile, quick and stable boat that offers lessons in trimming a main, jib and spinnaker. This way the student can slowly grow into proficiency with a rig that is basically the same as they will find on any high performance boat. I think this RS Venture, designed by Phil Morrison and RS Sailing fits the bill very well.

With an LOA of 16-feet 4-inches it's not a small boat as training boats go, but it also has 6-foot 8-inch beam and with that beam comes stability. The benefits of stability cannot be underestimated when you are learning. The size of the Venture also allows for a crew of two or three and an instructor without crowding.

The hull has a chine starting well forward that adds to the stability of the boat. The shape is very modern with a nice fine entry and the beam carried aft to make hiking more effective. There is a centerboard in a trunk that protrudes through the cockpit sole. The rolled deck edge and hull-to-deck joint make for comfortable seating on the rail but there are also seats so if you prefer to be "in" the boat rather than "on" the boat this will work well for you. The hull weighs 437 pounds, and that's a bit much if you plan to sail the boat off a dinghy dock. Especially if you have two kids doing the lifting.

The rig is simple with no spreaders and single shrouds. There is a retractable bowsprit for the asymmetrical chute. A tall stainless steel hoop that comes off the raised back end of the centerboard trunk. The mainsheet block is attached to the top of the hoop and leads down to a block with a cam cleat on the raised centerboard trunk. This unusual feature gets most of the mainsheet out of the cockpit and provides a convenient grab bar.

This boat would also work well as a family daysailer and can easily seat four people.

With all the ultra-high-performance dinghies available today it's easy to forget the benefits of a well-designed trainer boat. I think the RS Venture will appeal to clubs with junior sailing programs.