Radio Sailing yachts are very similar in performance to full sized yachts or dinghies. They are controlled from the shore via a radio transmitter and race around a set course. Radio yacht racing follows the same racing rules as full size boats and requires similar skills in boat positioning, tactics and tuning.
Radio Sailing takes place all year round at locations across the UK and abroad, with competition ranging from local mid week fun sailing through to international events over many days. Classes mentioned below can be found at clubs across the UK and are the mainstay of our sport.
Radio Sailing is governed by the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) which are updated every four years by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). The current rules run form 2014 to 2017. For Radio Sailing certain rules are modified within appendix E of the RRS.
International One Metre
Since its inception in the late 1980’s the International One Metre (IOM) has become the most popular class in the UK. Sailed at most clubs on a regular basis it is now the class that creates the largest fleets, with regular fleets of 30 boats at district level and a maximum entry at most international events.
The Marblehead class (M) is probably the most exciting to sail with its minimal rule structure and modern construction techniques a modern M will usually be made of carbon fibre and kevlar with full carbon rigs. The rules do allow for most boats from the mid 90’s onwards to be modernised and still hold their own in current fleets.
This is quite often referred to as the Formula One of Radio Sailing.
International A Class
Boats in this ISAF RSD international ‘open’ class are not limited in length, but are controlled by a formula which demands a balance between waterline length, displacement and sail area. Sails get smaller as displacement reduces and as waterline length increases. The formula was devised in 1922 by the editor of the Yachting Monthly as a testing ground for later use in the full sized 5.5 Metre class rule. Although boats are of a heavy ‘type’ there is flexibility to create lighter ‘models’. Nevertheless they are big boats and a fleet of radio ‘A’ boats is an impressive and awesome sight.
International 10 Rater
These boats are not limited in length and have overhangs beyond their waterline endings making them light, sleek, seaworthy and fast. This ISAF RSD international rule is based on the 1887 ‘length and sail area rule’ which allows short waterline length boats to have a big sail area and longer LWL boats have smaller sails. It is an ‘open’ rule with great freedom to develop design and construction, particularly in rigs and sail plans.Many boats can be measured as a 10 rater and several Marbleheads have been successful in the class by conversion with just one larger rig giving 40% extra sail area..
This is an MYA national class, which is particularly suitable for lakes with restricted depth and sheltered wind conditions. It offers virtually complete freedom in design provided that the boat, in racing trim and with the exception of fittings, rig and sails, fits completely into a rectangular measurement box. Some designs with very simple rigs are ideal for youngsters to rig and race. The measurement of these boats takes only a few minutes and is simplicity itself. Despite the freedom that this rule permits, many boat designs stay competitive for many years
- Contact Class Captain: HERE
This MYA national class is a scaled down version of the full sized International Six Metre class rule. The overhangs make the boats elegant and graceful on the water. Being displacement boats they rely on the hull shape, as well as the ballast, for their stability. It therefore provides a somewhat different, distinctly ‘yacht like’ sailing experience. It is particularly suited to lakes with restricted depth. It is a class that lends itself for those who enjoy home building with a number of designs available. This, together with the need for only one mast, a main boom and a jib boom together with just two suits of sails, helps make
this an ideal class of boat for the more cost conscious sailor.
The RG65 is a development class for 65 cm long radio controlled yachts which means that anything not mentioned in the rules is allowed. The simple rules are designed to encourage people to try new ideas at a modest cost.
Plus points for the class are:
Light weight around 1kg.
Compact enough to fit in a small car fully rigged.
No need for special heavy duty sail servos.
Hulls built in balsa wood are little heavier than expensive carbon fibre moldings.
These great, fun to sail, light and incredibly manoeuvrable boats are ideal for those wishing to explore yacht design at a limited cost or just starting out and want to try their hand at building. Their small size allows you to radio sail almost anywhere. They are very easy to store and transport meaning the whole family can play together on the water. Only need basic radio gear, as micro servos control both the rudder and sails. Plans for the very latest competitive designs available for free download via the class dedicated website. A simple build of a ‘free sailing’ version can be built for less than £10.
The RC Laser is a scale version of the famous “one design” Laser. A radio controlled yacht that is suitable for everyone from amateurs to race-hardened veterans.