The British RS Sailing group recently acquired the Ocean Play shipyard with which it will build the Pico, Bug, Bahia and Vago dinghies. All designed by Jo Richards and previously built by Laser Performance.
RS Sailing will produce “former Laser” school dinghies
The fleet of RS Sailing, the world’s largest manufacturer of dinghies, is being enriched with new models. In fact, the British group recently absorbed the new company Ocean Play, which produces the Pico, Bug, Bahia and Vago in a revamped version. Everyone remembers these four cute dinghies that have already entertained thousands of young sailors around the world. They all came out of the pencil of designer Jo Richards, also the author of many RS models, and were previously built by Laser Performance.
Then Richards himself, after winning a lawsuit against Laser Performance, decided to outsource its production to the Ocean Play shipyard, which will work under the umbrella of the RS Sailing group. Leading Ocean Play will be Neil Coxon, former director of Oman Sail and former head of the SailLaser operation. “I am delighted to be part of Ocean Play à said the manager-these boats have enabled so many people around the world to discover a love of sailing, and the demand for them is still very much alive.”
Here are the changes from the original designs
The four boats will be manufactured at the Roto plastics specialist shipyard in Slovenia, and deliveries of the first examples are scheduled for late January 2023. However compared to the original models, according to Jo Richards, some elements of the Pico, Bug, Bahia, and Vago have been updated for customers in the UK and abroad who wish to replace their classic favorites. New features include the designs of all sails, and the mainsails of the Pico and Bug are now equipped with vertical battens. Components that give the sails a more stable shape and make them much easier to furl.
Ocean Play itself will also manage the spare parts business for the approximately 50,000 boats already in use that need maintenance. Ocean Play will initially continue to develop established brand markets in Europe, and then in 2023 look to other territories.
The acquisition of Ocean Play is also a big deal for RS Sailing. As a reminder, the British group founded in 1957 in London’s Brockley district by H.Taylor & So boasts more than 20 models of dinghies in its catalog, 60 international distributors (in Italy it is Negrinautica) and a team of 254 employees. The company’s annual sales are close to 30 million euros.