Which Boat?


Pin It



 

At first glance the array of RC sailboats can be overwhelming. We want to break it down so that you can make a wise choice and then get on with the Joy of Sailing. All RC model sailboats use the power of the wind for propulsion, and all use the same basic radio equipment for handing.

RC Model Sailboats

Categories – There are two basic categories of RC model sailboats, “one-design” and “developmental”.

  • One designRadio controlled sailboatsin a one-design class must adhere to strict class uniformity. The uniformity is applied to the features of the boat that affect performance. The purpose of one-design, is to ensure that sailor’s skill will be the primary factor in the outcome of races among boats of that class. One-design boats appeal to those who would rather sail and race on equal terms and enjoy a good support system of other owners and a strong class organization.One-design model sailboats hold their value well because they do not become obsolete and  are also easier to buy because they are very specific and come either ready-to-sail or in very complete kits.

    RC Lasers racing at Marco Island, FL

  • Developmental RC Sailboats– RC Sailboats in developmental classes have only a few standard specifications. For instance, they may be restricted in length and the amount of sail area they can carry. But they might not have restrictions on how the hull is designed, how heavy it must be, etc. These boats appeal to those that like to work on building a better mousetrap. Normally developmental boats are not a good choice for newcomers because the bits and pieces that make up the boat come from all over and there is little support for someone to learn how to sail because the boats are rigged so differently.

    US One Meter shown by Jim Linville

  • MisIdentified Boats – There are a number of RC sailboats on the market that call themselves One-Design, BUT they allow a number of performance related modifications. In fact, they are not one-design at all.  I would caution you to look into the class racing rule and see if the class you are considering allows modifications that affect performance. If they do, no matter what they are called, they are not one-design if you can change major parts, sails, keel, rudder, weight, change shapes of these items, whatever.
SailRC Commitment – We sell and service only true one-design boats because we know your investment is sound, and the enjoyment suitable for all newcomers. In fact, one-designs are the choice for many of the world’s greatest racing sailors because it tests sailing skill not how much money is invested to have a faster boat.

Classes – Above we have talked about CATEGORIES of boats, One-Design or Developmental. Now, let’s talk classes. An RC sailboat class does not refer to classification as much as it refers to a name, a recognized group of sailboats that normally race against each other.

  • RC Laser – The most popular class of one-design RC sailboat in the world is the RC Laser. There are thousands of RC Lasers sailing around the world (Over 9000 in North America alone). No matter where you go, you will find fleets of RC Lasers sailing and racing on even terms because all the boats are exactly the same. All hulls molded in one mold, all sails are cut from the same pattern and made in only one shop, all authorized parts supplied come from a single manufacturer with no modifications allowed – period. Like most one design RC sailboats, however, owners may personalize their boats in appearance, colors, graphics, etc., since these variations have no affect of performance.
  • 50/800 or Marblehead – Another class of RC sailboat is the 50/800, so called because it is restricted to 50″ overall, and 800 sq inches of sail area. This is an old class of boats dating back to the early 1900s. However, many of the older Marbleheads are no longer competitive with newer designs because this is a developmental class. As the boat develops, it gets faster . . . and normally more expensive. Older boats become obsolete and lose value quickly. Except for their size limitations, you may not even recognize that you are looking at a Marblehead.  These highly developed and sophisticated boats are fun to sail, but are not at all appropriate for a beginner.
Mr. Langbord sailing Marblehead

Roy Langbord tweaking his Marblehead - Goebel Photo

So what’s right for you? – If you are new to sailing, we highly recommend that you buy into a real one-design class. Because they are identically produced, they are less expensive to buy (better value) than a developmental RC sailboat, and they hold their value well. Also, most one-design model RC sailboats come complete either in kit or ready-to-sail form. That means you won’t need to run around looking for all the required parts.

If you enjoy the challenge of the cutting edge of development, developmental boats are for you. There are many great classes that you can choose from, just don’t start there.

Last word – Since model RC sailboats are so INexpensive compared to real sailboats, RC sailors often own several boats, some one-design, and some developmental.

As mentioned, SailRC offers the very best in radio controlled sailboats – one-design only. We support all owners with specific hands-on knowledge because we know every piece and function of the models we sell.

8 thoughts on “Which Boat?

  1. glenn warner

    Hi, my neighbors and I are interested in getting involved with RC Sailing..”beer can” racing on Fri. afternoons in the neighborhood. We live on the Coan river, Va. and decided last night we need neighborly competition. Six of us are retired old salts, some with sailing experience, some power, some both, all retired. A couple fly RC planes, can’t race them, besides one error and boom into the dirt. Sail boat error…protest meeting over cocktails, much better solutions.

    Soo, question what is best, inexpensive way to get started?? We are starting with nothing…except plane guys have two radios, so therefore we will need complete start up equipment for 4 and two more boats…assuming their radios can be adjusted to boat radios.

    Look forward to your feedback, with boat suggestions and group pricing.

    Reply
    1. Theresa Rae Gay

      Glenn – The RC Laser is the best boat you can buy for your purposes, but it is not entry level price wise. And of course you get what you pay for. We plan to have other boats coming in, hopefully before Christmas, but at least by January. They will be in the $349 range as compared with the RC Laser at $585 – both have group pricing available. Of course the RC Laser has a bag included. Both these prices include radios.

      RC Lasers come with or without radios. Ask your friends that fly if they have 2.4 GHz radios. If the answer is “yes” then those radios are fine for use in sailing.

      There are large classes of the RC Laser throughout the country, and we support it with parts and service as well.

      If you have specific questions, please feel free to ask. We have been in the model sailboat business for 13 years, and race the RC Laser at the National level, so we know the boats well. We have sailed many of the popular boats so can comment on many of them.

      Reply
  2. Laura

    My husband and I have raced GORC and Club races for years before doing some cruising. We are currently landlubbers and I thought he might really enjoy trying his hand with and rc boat. We live on the water so he could use it often. We live in Houston and I have no idea if there is a racing group active in our area. He is very competitive but even if that were not available he would enjoy sailing one for fun. What model would you recommend for such a person and do you know of any rc racing in the Houston area?

    Reply
    1. Theresa Rae Gay

      The RC Laser has the largest following with many clubs across the world!

      Here is how I recommend that you look for nearby clubs. This information is specific to RC Laser but I have added how to search for the same info for other boat classes.

    2. Go to the RC Laser Class Association of North America’s website by clicking here. They have a list of clubs on the right. Then click on the section called “Where We Sail” up in the Navigation Bar near the top of the page. That includes more club and sailing information. Other classes should have their own websites but not many have as great of an organization as the RC Lasers (all volunteers). Also, feel free to email Class Secretary David Branning at laserdave93@yahoo.com – he is a fantastic leader in the RC Laser Class organization (and a great sailor as well!).
    3. Go to the American Model Yachting Association’s website by clicking here. They have information in two places as well. Click Boats (O-Z) on the Navigation Bar on the left then click RC Laser (or other boat) on the pop-up menu. On that page is a skipper’s list of RC Laser Skippers that are registered with the AMYA RC Laser group. Also, they have a Club Directory in the Navigation bar that lists active clubs and what boats they sail plus the contact info. This is not an exhaustive list as only those that volunteer the info are listed. Nick Mortgu, is the official secretary of the AMYA RC Laser class and has years of experience as a sailor (RC Laser and many other boats both RC and full size). Feel free to click on the link to his email and ask questions.
    4. Go to RC Groups website by clicking here to take you to their “Places” page. It gives you options to find all kinds of RC related groups, stores, sailors, etc. specific to your location.
    5. And finally, our database. Try the first three recommendations first, please. Then if you haven’t found what you are looking for, provide me with at least 10 nearby zip codes (many provide an entire county’s zip codes) and the boat type/class if you are targeting only one. I will search our database then send an email to you blind copying our customers in your area. I will introduce you and recommend that they reply to you about RC sailing. When they do, ask to join them. If they don’t, then they may have moved or maybe prefer to sail privately. As I am sure you understand, we protect the contact information for our customers so this puts the ball in their court.
    6. And finally, please join your class association and AMYA (plus your class within AMYA). These are the people that get sailors together and help manage regattas and more.

      Feel free to contact me directly if I can help in any way,

      Theresa Rae Gay
      Theresa@SailRC.com
      727-455-1332

      Reply
    1. Theresa Rae Gay

      The RC Laser has the largest following with many clubs across the world!

      Here is how I recommend that you look for nearby clubs. This information is specific to RC Laser but I have added how to search for the same info for other boat classes.
      Go to the RC Laser Class Association of North America’s website by clicking here. They have a list of clubs on the right. Then click on the section called “Where We Sail” up in the Navigation Bar near the top of the page. That includes more club and sailing information. Other classes should have their own websites but not many have as great of an organization as the RC Lasers (all volunteers). Also, feel free to email Class Secretary David Branning at laserdave93@yahoo.com – he is a fantastic leader in the RC Laser Class organization (and a great sailor as well!).

      Go to the American Model Yachting Association’s website by clicking here. They have information in two places as well. Click Boats (O-Z) on the Navigation Bar on the left then click RC Laser (or other boat) on the pop-up menu. On that page is a skipper’s list of RC Laser Skippers that are registered with the AMYA RC Laser group. Also, they have a Club Directory in the Navigation bar that lists active clubs and what boats they sail plus the contact info. This is not an exhaustive list as only those that volunteer the info are listed. Nick Mortgu, is the official secretary of the AMYA RC Laser class and has years of experience as a sailor (RC Laser and many other boats both RC and full size). Feel free to click on the link to his email and ask questions.

      Go to RC Groups website by clicking here to take you to their “Places” page. It gives you options to find all kinds of RC related groups, stores, sailors, etc. specific to your location.

      And finally, our database. Try the first three recommendations first, please. Then if you haven’t found what you are looking for, provide me with at least 10 nearby zip codes (many provide an entire county’s zip codes) and the boat type/class if you are targeting only one. I will search our database then send an email to you blind copying our customers in your area. I will introduce you and recommend that they reply to you about RC sailing. When they do, ask to join them. If they don’t, then they may have moved or maybe prefer to sail privately. As I am sure you understand, we protect the contact information for our customers so this puts the ball in their court.

      And finally, please join your class association and AMYA (plus your class within AMYA). These are the people that get sailors together and help manage regattas and more.

      Feel free to contact me directly if I can help in any way,

      Theresa Rae Gay
      Theresa@SailRC.com
      727-455-1332

      Reply
  3. Doug Gray

    I live in North Texas and they have nothing here. I would like to inquire about starting a club. How would I get started? I am retired and have time. Please feel free to grant me any information you can spare.

    Reply
    1. Theresa Rae Gay

      Doug – Most clubs are rather informal affairs. They are usually held together by a club leader, and a common boat. The Nirvana is an exceptional boat for club fleets because it is uniform and ready to sail right out of the box. The other aspect is that it is inexpensive to purchase and is very low maintenance. We have fleets all over the country, some with over 100 Nirvanas in their clubs.

      About price, we are about to put the Nirvana on sale, so if you can get a group interested, it would be a great time to buy. Sometimes, however, you need to have a boat to do a little show and tell. If you miss the upcoming sale, you can buy a boat at the regular price, and if you are able to get a group of guys/gals together to buy a fleet purchase, then the discount we give the fleet purchase, we will apply to the “demo” boat that you bought in the first place.

      You need to find a place to sail where you are close to parking, have a place to launch and retrieve (docks are best) but you can make your own portable dock if need be. We have a recommendation of the best kind of markers (float balls) to use for racing (even if you don’t race to start, you need something to sail “around”).

      You don’t need a formal club, dues, etc., but you will need to pass the hat for temp dock, buoys, chase boat (any small boat/kayak to retrieve a disabled boat), etc. Otherwise, it is just picking a time and communicating with others to get them there. And the rest will fill in for you from there.

      I have helped a lot of clubs get off the ground and would recommend having dues and a bank account. Most are willing to chip in $10, $15, $25 per year for dues. The last club I started gladly chips in $25/year, and they are very active as they have some small bit of skin in the game. Plus, those dues are there to fund things you want to buy.

      Anyway, if you would like to chat about building a club, feel free to call the number at the top of this website, and if I don’t answer (I am retired too), please leave a message as to the best time to call you back.

      Look forward to helping you out. Steve

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *