Q: How does this boat compare to a 29er?
A: Though similar on paper, we find the 500 and 29er very different. The 500 is a much less complicated boat, but 5-10% slower. For most customers looking to blast around with a grin on their face - the speed difference is probably not noticeable. The 500 has a one piece aluminum mast, composite foils and a more stable hull design for someone getting into fast boat sailing. It’s less expensive with a solid parts supply chain.
Q: Two sail sizes are available, is it that big of a difference??
A: The difference is actually quite significant. The ‘XL’ Mylar sails are not only larger, but based on the material they are made of, they are a lot more powerful. The ‘S’ sails are not only smaller in size, but they are made of Dacron - which means they flex and ‘give’ more in breeze. There is a significantly noticeable difference in power and performance between the two. The XL set is the most popular, but we sell an recommend the S sails for a lot of owners. In super windy conditions, while learning, or with new crew, they are a great way to take the edge off and ensure you're out on the water.
Q: What got upgraded in 2019?
A: In 2019, RS brought production back to the UK. That involved a new deck mold and some rigging upgrades to keep the boat looking modern and fresh. The new version is no faster, just a little bit better in many ways.
Q: Can I singlehand it?
A: Mostly no... but in a few situations, with some careful prep, yes. With the S sails and in light to medium breeze - yes, it can be done. We caution people not to just go out and go crazy on their 500 at first. Singlehanding this boat should really be something you work up to if you want to do it. Take your time and be careful.