Our friends at Rondar Raceboats Inc. have announced that their two-person sportboat, the K6, has just launched another new fleet in the US in upstate New York. There has been a very successful fleet of nineteen K6s at the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, for several years, and a number of individual K6s, with the latest orders being delivered to British Columbia and Northern California’s infamous Richmond Yacht Club. With more than 200 of these little 19′ beauties racing in Europe, it’s no surprise that the class is now starting to catch on in North America.
The new K6 fleet is going to an interesting place–home to one of the very first one-design classes ever, commissioned in 1899. These 32′ gaff riggers which are still raced on today, making them the oldest one-design class continuously racing. Still sporting Egyptian cotton sails, they are a glorious and beautiful anachronism. Of the 12 original boats, one was donated to a museum, and the remainder have been lovingly maintained and passed down over the generations, remaining on their original home lake.
One hundred and fourteen years later, there was a movement at the club to bring a modern, easier-to-sail, easier-to-manage, easier-to-maintain boat to the to the lake. “The club members wanted a fun boat that was easy to sail and offered high performance, without being intimidating on a gusty, shifty mountain lake,” said the club’s Commodore. After much discussion and consideration of appropriate one-designs, Rondar’s Dan Tucker and AYC’s K6 Fleet Captain Jim Wilson were invited to SRYC to put on a demo weekend last June.
“At American Yacht Club, we have found that the K6 offers a great combination of ease of use and exhilarating performance, combined with a very easy-to-manage layout, and is remarkably forgiving,” said Jim Wilson, (a.k.a. Anarchist JimW). The design mandate for the K6 was initially for a boat that Rondar’s Managing Director, Paul Young could easily race in his club’s evening races with his wife and children. As a long time winning 5o5 sailor, Paul wanted a fast, fun boat. But he also wanted a boat that could be managed with one skilled sailor, and one relative novice.
As such, the asymmetrical spinnaker is tube launched, forward of the roller furler equipped jib. The kite is high clewed for good visibility. All of the controls are highly powered and efficient, like a 5-oh, and lead to an easily reached center console. All spars are carbon fiber, the rigged mast weighs only 15 pounds, tuned through a simple, powerful forestay adjuster–no fiddling with tools, and you can readily adjust rig tune while racing as conditions change.
The K6 is inevitably compared to the Rondar-built Viper 640. Rondar’s Dan Tucker, a.k.a Anarchist RockHead, compared them this way, “The Viper is a muscle car in comparison. The K6 is like a Lotus or Miata, very light and super responsive to the controls and helm and incredibly difficult to stall the rudder or broach.” Weighing in at only 600 pounds, compared to the Viper’s 748 pounds, with the same 262 pounds in the keel, and a narrow, easily driven hull, the K6 has a higher ballast to displacement ratio, making it extremely forgiving in the inevitable sportboat broaches. Just ease the spinnaker sheet and the boat is back on its feet and racing in seconds–no drama!
With a ready-to-race price of only $24,995 for a boat complete with trailer and Class-mandated single-source North Sails, the K6 is a tremendous value in a two-person racing boat. Fleet prices are a mere $22,495 when ordered by the six boat container.