Carsington Water . Ashbourne . Derbyshire
Launched in January 2001 and initially promoted and sold by RS, the K6 is now a standalone class built and supplied by Rondar Boats. It is a 5.8 metre long, high performance, two or three person, non-trapesing, dinghy with an asymmetric spinnaker. Think bigger and sleeker Laser 2000 or RS200/400 and you will have a pretty good picture of the look and style of the boat – with the kite up the total sail area is 49 sq. m.
Almost half the overall weight of the boat is accounted for by a 120 kg lead bulb at the bottom of the retracting keel – this stops the boat capsizing, limiting opportunities to get wet to splash when the wind is up and the occasional dunking if you miss a toe-strap.
The K6 is one design class – all boats are put on the water to a standard specification and it is the skill of the sailors (plus those all important “lucky windshifts”) that determines who wins; this is not “cheque book sailing”.
At the time of writing (January 2011) we have eleven K6s at Carsington; the largest K6 fleet in the country. If you want a look at the boat, the bulk of the fleet is based at the far (right hand slipway) end of the boat park (close to the dam wall) – the K6 is dry-sailed at Carsington (i.e. not left on a mooring). Look for the boats with a metre or so protuberance in the top cover (this is the aforementioned retracting keel).
On Wednesday evenings (April to the end of August) we race on a handicap basis as part of the “Fast Fleet”, which – in terms of other two person boats – includes Tempests, Merlins, 505s and RS400s.
On Sundays in 2011 we are racing as part of the Fast Asymmetric Fleet, racing against other fast asymmetric boats (RS 100s, 400s, 700s and 800s; International Canoes; 29ers etc) on windward-leeward courses.
The boat is generally sailed “two-up” at Carsington by sailors aged, proverbially if not quite actually, from six to sixty. The fleet includes experienced sailors as well as those relatively new to the sport.
Obviously we think that the boat is brilliant – serial boat-changers have lost the habit once they have got into a K6. At Carsington there is enough sail area to enjoy the boat’s potential and it seems to go like a dream whatever the wind strength. Combine that with a large and pretty active fleet and, whatever your “level”, if you are looking for competitive racing you will find it on the water most weekends in a K6 at Carsington .
As will be apparent, at Carsington we love our K6s – but then we sail them so we would, wouldn’t we. Fortunately you don’t just have to take our word for it. Lester Noble, International Canoe sailor (a National, European and World Champion) and a former Tempest National Champion, tested the K6 for Yachts and Yachting in February 2002 – his view:
“Put simply, I think that the boat is superb – I know that this is in danger of sounding sugar-coated but it’s a fact. I don’t think that you will find a better balanced boat.”
We don’t think that you will find a better inland venue on which to sail it.