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RS:X - the Olympic class

The RS:X came about as a result of a successful bid by NeilPryde WIndsurfing to supply one design windsurfing equipment for the 2008 Olympic Games in China. The RS:X was designed in 2004 and went into production in 2005.

The RS:X design features a high technology rig, with carbon mast and boom, a ‘wide-style’ board that merges modern windsurf board design with a centreboard, thus enabling competitions to he held in virtually any condition from 3 to 30 knots. This means that the RS:X is always a dynamic, versatile class to observe, and racing is always close, exciting and visually appealing.

Two sizes of sail are available for competitors. Men use a 9.5m sail while women and youth use an 8.5m sail. The sail, rig and board have been designed in conjunction with each other in order to to ensure a high level of design synergy.

The RS:X Class Association was established in November 2006, and is critical to the establishment and ongoing development of the RS:X as an international Olympic Class.

The RS:X is the most affordable yachting class that is eligible for competition in the Olympic Games. It is also very easy to transport, as it can be carried on commercial aircraft as excess baggage, thus allowing sailors to compete internationally at minimal expense. This allows the scheduling of many regattas which can be attended by a large number of sailors from all over the world.

The inaugural RS:X World Championships were held at Lake Garda, Italy, and featured some 244 competitors. Subsequent World Championship Regattas in 2007 Cascais, Portugal and in 2008 Auckland, New Zealand attracted 186 and 193 sailors respectively.

More than 3000 sets of equipment have been sold since production started in 2005 to competitors in more than 50 nations in 6 continents.

The RS:X Class is actively involved in developing racing fleets in the U21, U19 and U17 Age Divisions who compete in separate World and Continental Championships. It should be noted that only the U19 Division is awarded World Championship titles for Youth Men and Youth Women recognised by ISAF due to the strict limitations that they impose on their number.

The RS:X Class has recently launched the RS:X Reach-4-The-Top Training Programmes to assist National Sailing Federations, Athletes, Coaches and National Technical officials gain more knowledge and experience. The class is actively organising clinics and training camps worldwide.

Watch some videos on the RS:X class.

RSX Windsurfer Class Association (details may be out of date) as registered at
Boat Type Boardsailing
Mailing Address
PO Box 803

Next National Championship16 Feb 2012

Robyn Headifen
Publicity Officer
Janine Williams
(09) 551 3213
Paul Mackenzie
027 492 3865
Dave MacKay
021 470 611
Admin Secretary
Jo Mackenzie
027 480 2618
Andrea Bowater - Christchurch Region
Stuart Pedersen - Tauranga Region

RS:X News


No sailing took place at the Olympic Sailing venue today - wind was the missing ingredient. A sea fog hung over the race course for the entire day and competitors were kept ashore with the postponement flag flying. Of the kiwi team Dan Slater, Tom Ashley, Barbara Kendall, Jo Aleh and Andrew Murdoch had scheduled racing, today’s cancellations now putting them behind schedule.


Tom Ashley is currently the best positioned kiwi sailor. Today is a rest day for Tom and Barbara in the RS:X events which is probably a relief as the winds continue to be light and variable. This tends to act against the kiwis who are more used to heavier conditions.


Highlight was a bullet for Tom Ashley in his fourth race of the series placing him provisionally in 3rd overall.


Today, Monday, racing starts for four more New Zealand sailors with the Men’s and Women’s wind surfing and the Men’s 470 set to get underway. Windsurfers Barbara Kendall and Tom Ashley will be on the water for day one of competition in the Men’s and Women’s RS:X events – both fleets are scheduled to sail two races each starting at 1 o’clock on course A off the main break wall at Qingdao. The windsurfers, like the majority of other classes, will sail a ten race series to decide the top ten who progress to the final deciding medal race. The windsurfing medal races will be sailed ten days from now on Wednesday 20th August, with four rest or reserve days built into the programme.

Olympic year always brings bold predictions of Kiwi medal success, but when it comes to forecasts in Beijing, boardsailor Tom Ashley has generally flown under the radar.

New Zealand has won two bronze medals and finished second in the Volvo Trophy battle for overall team performance at the 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships just concluded in Denmark.


The Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships has reached the half way point with day three of racing completed overnight in Arhus, Denmark. The kiwi team stepped up a notch most improving on their overall standings.


The ISAF Grade One Kiel Regatta concluded Sunday night in Germany with three kiwis making the medal races and finishing inside the top seven in their fleets.

Kate Ellingham in the women’s RS:X and Men’s 470 pair Geoff Woolley and Mark Overington both finished 5th, while Andrew Murdoch was 7th in the Laser.


The ISAF Grade 1 Delta Lloyd Regatta (formerly known as Spa Regatta) concluded in the Netherlands after five days of racing. New Zealand’s top performances were in the windsurfing with Barbara Kendall finishing with silver and Tom Ashley with bronze.

“The Holland Regatta finished today with a very windy and cold medal race,” reports Tom Ashley. “I ended up 5th in the medal race, with frozen hands and feet, and 3rd overall in the competition.”

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