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Old Mar 29, 2015, 09:23 AM
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Rant
Why I'm buying a pool toy.

I've been looking for a first sailboat, and while the response has been fast (must not be sailing season ) and informative, a lot of replies were "Get some bigger, more expensive, hobby grade rc yacht instead. You'll have a lot more fun with it!" The thing is, you're wrong - I won't have a lot more fun with it.

I'm not saying that sailing it wouldn't be a lot more fun! On the contrary, I expect that to be the case, for the same reasons I try and avoid toy grade aircraft. The thing is, given the choice between getting said yacht into the car, driving a half hour to the nearest place I know I can sail it both reasonably and legally and hoping the wind when I get there then will be what it is now, or taking down one of my "pool toy" aircraft and flying it from my driveway - or if it's to windy for either of those, couch - I'm going to spend a lot more time dusting that yacht than sailing it, and I don't dust until I absolutely have to.

If I buy a pool toy instead of a yacht, I'll probably sail it a lot more, so while it may not be as much fun to sail, I'll wind up having more fun with it in the long run. That's a lot more likely to get me to buy and actually sail a yacht than starting out with the yacht.

The RC aircraft industry ran into this problem a few years ago. You could buy a lot of aircraft whose description will sound familiar to you guys: they were small, came out of the box with little or no assembly required, cheaply made, designed with low production costs as a priority, worthless in any wind, had design issues that had to be fixed to operate even medium well, and you could expect them to need tuning when you got them - assuming they worked at all. Nuts, I have a 50% failure rate from WLToys, one of the most popular of those brands !

In spite of all that, there was still a lot more money in that market. After all, you could fly them in your back yard, a big garage, or even a big living room for 'copters, which meant they got flown a lot more. And they were so cheap that you could buy a complete, ready-to-fly aircraft as a replacement for less than you'd spend repairing even a small hobby-grade heli after a simple blade strike. So the industry response - companies like Horizon Hobby and Hobbico and Align - was to start selling "pool toy" size aircraft.

These are things like the UMX line of planes, the AXE 100 helicopters, and the Align Trex 150. They are still small and came out of the box mostly ready to fly and generally worthless in any wind. But they are designed to the standards of the hobby, not the toy industry, so they are much more likely to work properly out of the box, and come with real support if you need it.

They also cost a lot more than the toy grade stuff. It's rare for them to cost less than twice as much, and four times as much isn't uncommon. For instance, that Trex 150 is $250, and you can expect to spend half that again to get a transmitter unless you want to mod one (I have to mention this because I mod Tx's for s). So they still don't sell as well as the toys. Some people are put off by the cost. Others enjoy modding and are just buying an airframe, so why spend extra on a lot of quality components you're going to replace anyway? I'm not one of those people - except for moding Tx firmware - I'd rather be holding a Tx than a tool. So I don't buy WLToys without a VERY good reason any more, and have a list of requirements I expect from a hobby-grade aircraft.

I think I'm in the minority. The toy companies seem to be doing better than the hobby companies. But the hobby companies are doing well enough in this market that they keep introducing small - and smaller - aircraft at a pretty high rate. Nuts, Hobbico created the latest super-small size category with their Proto X, whose canopy isn't much bigger than a quarter.

So, I'm going to buy a pool toy. The only question is whether I'm going to try a toy-grade boat, or spend a little extra to get another UMX aircraft and wait to see if the rc model yacht companies follow the aircraft companies and start selling hobby-grade craft in the pool toy size range. Joysway introducing the Orion last year makes me think they're heading in that direction, and maybe something like the Orion but Caribbean-sized will show up this year.

Now, tell me I'm wrong. Tell me there'll never be a footy-class RTR yacht. Better yet, tell me where to buy one!
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 11:25 AM
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DF65

http://www.atomikrc.com/collections/...tr-rc-sailboat
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 11:46 AM
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The reason there is not a RTR footy, and probably never will, is a simple money issue, there is not the same amount of money to be made in rc sailing than rc flying, the pool of interested people is much much smaller (just look at the amounts of post in the rc sailing group forum vs the rc flying one).
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 12:02 PM
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By the time I finish modding a DF65 to be footy class, I suspect it won't float, much less sail.
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gio06226 View Post
The reason there is not a RTR footy, and probably never will, is a simple money issue, there is not the same amount of money to be made in rc sailing than rc flying, the pool of interested people is much much smaller (just look at the amounts of post in the rc sailing group forum vs the rc flying one).
The "fly in your local park/back yard/living room" size aircraft appeals to a much broader audience than the "go to a club to fly" aircraft. Still does. The biggest size-specific areas in each of the aircraft forums (except fuel - there are no small fuel aircraft) behind the general topics are for those small aircraft - park flyers, foamies (rare in large scale aircraft), micro aircraft, etc. That's in spite of them being relatively new. They have, to a large extent, created their own audience.

You think that can't happen for rc yachts?
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 12:28 PM
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If you want a footy, just place a wanted ad in the classified forum.
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 12:33 PM
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Here are some good quality, not really toy but reasonably priced boats. Keep in mind that the prices on the front page are ready to sail with radio. If you want something different, give him a call and you will get it. And they are all fiberglass.

http://blackstaryacht.com/
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 12:34 PM
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Good on you - stick to your guns. You obviously know what you want.
Here's one contender:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2327469

This one even comes with a motor for those windless days at the pool:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2314651
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 02:03 PM
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In looking at things, it occurred to me that I might be overestimating how much space it takes to sail these slightly larger craft. I've been think less than 450mm. Probably because I saw something in a thread about "backyard" sailing that you needed a 50m by 50m area to sail in. That's a big back yard!

So, considering that I'm not really interested in speed for the sake of speed (that's another thread), is there some way to go from a craft dimension - hull length, sail area, keel depth, whatever - to how much space I'll need to sail in without feeling cramped?

And, in answer to the suggestions: I don't feel comfortable buying a used yacht with how little I know about them right now. The HK Discovery I looked at and rejected for quality/build reasons. The Joysway Discovery doesn't seem to be available any more, except for overpriced eBay dealers.

I've sent a question to Black Star Yachts. There's an RTR Footy! However, he doesn't seem to be doing mass production style builds, which means they are a bit pricey for a first yacht.

FWIW, the Joysway Orion seems to be the best choice for me, but it's just a tad long. I'm waiting for a review of that before pulling the trigger.
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 04:20 PM
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Buying used is often better than buying new, often the bugs have been sorted and the electronics upgraded.
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 05:09 PM
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@mikemeyer:
I think you have previously mentioned that there are no other groups sailing near you, thus no racing opportunities.

So if sailing alone, you can choose whatever you want and I understand where you are coming from with buying small.

It might be worthwhile checking out the water you are planning to sail. In particular check for weeds and get an idea of the depth. The other consideration is wind shading from buildings or trees.

Small yachts don't need much wind to be great fun.

The Dragon Force mentioned by others (which really IS a fantastic boat I can affirm) needs a good bit of water as it has a deep keel, needs water at least knee deep and the keel shape catches all the weed.

The small cat you are considering will likely be a handful to sail particularly if you have not sailed an RC sailboat previously but would be good in shallower water as most of them only draw six inches or so. You should plan how you will retrieve is once it has capsized, because that is just about a certainty. I have a Force2 catamaran and it is great fun, but is really hard to sail and capsizes easily in gusting or swirling wind, a common feature of many smaller ponds with trees etc around. I added a float on the masthead so it does not finish up completely inverted with the mast crane tangled in weeds on the bottom, not good I can tell you.

Just my two cents worth ;-)
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Meyer View Post
The "fly in your local park/back yard/living room" size aircraft appeals to a much broader audience than the "go to a club to fly" aircraft. Still does. The biggest size-specific areas in each of the aircraft forums (except fuel - there are no small fuel aircraft) behind the general topics are for those small aircraft - park flyers, foamies (rare in large scale aircraft), micro aircraft, etc. That's in spite of them being relatively new. They have, to a large extent, created their own audience.

You think that can't happen for rc yachts?
Quick answer is no, or highly unlikely. You partially answered it too in your following post, sailboats are not like airplanes, in the RC world. The problem for boats is the water, the water density to be precise, the smaller the boat the harder is getting trough the water, planes have similar a similar problem, although air is not so dense, but is cheap and easy to overpower a small rc plastic plane and a small power boat, but not so much with a sailboat. The smaller the sailboat the harder it is to make it sail properly, the harder it is to learn how to make it sail too.
Plus not every backyard has a weed free pond/lake with a nice launching area, constant breeze to sail in ....
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Old Mar 30, 2015, 12:01 AM
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Due to some surgery some time ago and not being able to go to the pond I was looking for some thing to keep my sailing skills from going stale I brought a Westward 18 from Horizon Hobbies for $149 rts. It sailed great but the location of the condo pool caused control problems due to wind. Sent to stepson in Fl. and he has been having a ball with it in a small pond by his house. So here is another one to think about.
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Old Mar 30, 2015, 08:28 AM
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In order:

+seabee: I don't doubt that there are advantages to buying used, but expect you really need to know what you're doing. If I had a local club to buy from, or have a member check out something here, I'd still be considering it. But with no experience and no local help, I'm a bit leery of it. I expect it to be fine, but would rather buy from some place where I get consumer protection mechanisms until I know more about what I'm doing.

+mrpenguin. Since Dick L. recommended against a cat for a first boat, I've decided against it. It's much easier to correct not owning a cat than being soured on the experience by having the wrong first boat. The current frontrunner is the Orion. Just looking for a review. +8thelephant has started one, but hasn't posted sailing experience yet. I've actually checked the most local places, but the only one of any real size is a relatively weed-strewn pond in my neighbors field. He says it doesn't have enough draft over the weeds for his paddle boat, but he's planning on trying to clear it this summer, and has no problem with me sailing there. The most interesting place is at the local Veterans club. The local model aircraft club flies there once a month, as the residents enjoy watching them. They fly float-planes off the pond there, and there's a paddle-boat for use as a rescue boat. I still have to check permission though.

Which reminds me: I have an RC watercraft, as I bought floats with my Cub! Never had it on the water though, as I bought those to fly off of snow rather than water.

+gio06226: You're right. I've always lived somewhere on the outskirts of small cities, or even more rural where I either had a private pool, or had an option to install one. IIUC, most residents of big cities don't have that option, so would have to seek a public place to sail. Once you're doing that, size is much less of an issue.

+Hircsailor: I looked at the Westward 18 ajhd it would be a nice choice, but one of the reviews mentions that the sail adjustments are wrong. He may have gotten a lemon, because HH is usually very good about their built products being properly tuned out of the box. That they have so few options also worries me. Plus, every time I go to the HH site, the UMX B-17 and Habu loudly point out that they are only an $10 more, have reviews whose major problem is that people don't like that a scale multi-engine bomber flies like a multi-engine bomber instead of jet, and aren't something I'm "trying out". In any case, the Orion at roughly 2/3rds the cost as a new 11mart customer seems equally suitable, not to mention that I prefer that bright red color.
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Old Mar 30, 2015, 09:27 AM
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This thread reminds me of the joke about wrestling with a pig.
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