sailing models in DC - RC Groups
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Sep 16, 2012, 05:17 PM

sailing models in DC

9/16/2012. The reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial has been renovated and now appears ready for sailing model sailboats. The depth of water at the edges is about 10 inches.
The depth at the edges of the Constitution Garden pool is about 16 inches..
Who has been sailing in these pools and what have you learned from such activities? Thanks.
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Sep 20, 2012, 09:33 PM
Registered User
1967250s's Avatar
The park rangers won't let you sail there. Thanks to 9/11 and homeland security they're all scared that you'll sail a boat to the White House and try to barge the line. Seriously, not sure why, but it is just about impossible to do it. There was a thread where we discussed this. As a DC resident for most of my life, this has frustrated me to no end, but there are lots of other places around DC to sail. Luck
Sep 27, 2012, 12:59 PM
As I recall after searchinng all the regulations the only requirement was a permit if the number of people in the group exceeded 20. That was perhaps a year ago.
Sep 28, 2012, 01:14 AM
Shanghai'd Expat
herrmill's Avatar
That's a shame, if true, since its exactly what we face here in Hangzhou with their restrictions on the use of personal watercraft, scale or otherwise, on West Lake & every other body of water in the city.

I remember reading a recent article on the renovation of the Reflecting Pool that mentioned model yacht sailing but who knows in today's climate. NPR did a story last month on the reopening & Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall seemed to downplay any hope when it comes to ice skating or other public use of the pond aside from looking at it.

Yes, there's a history of doing that too. And we don't allow that anymore but we have lots of historic photos of it through the ages and, you know, people with a wooden boats, model boats, out on it, too.
Sep 29, 2012, 08:08 AM
Registered User
There was also talk of them putting a boat house in when the were renovating the pool.
I do know they were sailing subs in front of the Capital building a few years ago.
I would love to have Warship weekend there.
Does anybody know what they are doing about the algae in the water?
Oct 07, 2012, 10:35 PM
made of fire and pop rocks
bgnome's Avatar
I would imagine it would just be a matter of co-ordinating with the park rangers for such an event.

of course, to make it worth while, one would probably want to set up a multi-club expo event.

As for the algae in the water?
they drained it to recalibrate the filtration system.
Nov 02, 2012, 02:44 PM
Registered User

Sailing in DC

At one point people sailed in the tidal basin. But it has been awhile since anyone was allowed to in the reflecting pool.

This is one of my models in her heyday...
Nov 06, 2012, 08:51 PM
Registered User
I sail from time to time at the capitol pool at lunch. It was turned over to the Capitol this year from the Park Service. Capitol is expanding it's "Security Zone"
There was that guy they arrested that was planning to fly a RC plane into the Capitol With something on it.
When I go I take a copy of the Capitol and Grounds Visitor rules posted online somewhere.. It has nothing on the pool yet.
Most of the time a cop on a horse or motorcycle will go by they usually have nothing to say.
One day an Officer told me "you can't do that here" I handed him the visitor guide I had printed out and said "It doesn't say that here, where does it say I cant sail here"
I continued to have a nice afternoon sail.
The Lincoln Pool was pretty much always off limits, something about the "View"
There are now some plans to redevelop the "Mall" and a model boat pond was on one option, but it was pretty small, surrounded by trees and where the hell can you park anywhere near there?
Nov 19, 2012, 12:45 AM
Spreckels Lake, GGP, SF, CA
craig_c's Avatar
National Parks Service, according to some things I have seen over the years, considers model boating to be an "inappropriate use" of the DC pools.

What is an 'inappropriate use' of a NPS asset? Whatever NPS says it is.

Now, that being said, I remember RC model yachts Sundays on the reflecting pool back in the late 70's when I was going to school in DC and living in NVA.
Latest blog entry: Ah, To be young again...
Nov 29, 2012, 02:58 PM

The Washington Post page B2 Nov. 28

Take a look at this and think of writing the Washington Post.
I just sent them a letter and I suggest that all of you do the same.

George Steele
Nov 29, 2012, 03:44 PM
made of fire and pop rocks
bgnome's Avatar
Originally Posted by George Steele
Take a look at this and think of writing the Washington Post.
I just sent them a letter and I suggest that all of you do the same.

George Steele
got a link, or headline for the article you are citing for us that are not in the immediate area or can get a hold of yesterdays paper?
the only article I'm finding on the post on that date that may relate at all is about funding for DC area playgrounds.
Nov 29, 2012, 08:48 PM

Washington post headline

Against the winds of inhibition, model boats can't make headway on the mall
Nov 29, 2012, 09:24 PM
Shanghai'd Expat
herrmill's Avatar
Here you go folks. For those who aren't registered, I took the liberty of copying the article for you & posting the accompanying photo.

Model boating not allowed on Mall’s reflecting pools

By John Kelly,

There was a time in Washington when sightseers could amble down to the Mall nearly every Sunday and watch sailboats locked in intense competition. Colorful model boats sailed across the Reflecting Pool near the Lincoln Memorial. Sometimes the pool at the other end of the Mall, near the Grant Memorial, was the setting for these Lilliputian regattas.

There was something festive about these contests. Model boating, a Post reporter wrote in 1939, was “a pipe-smoking hobby, soothing to the nerves and the digestion. It’s a pleasure to see your craft heeling over before a miniature squall, and you never have to get wet unless you want to.”

Now, though, model boating in these historic locations is a thing of the past, a victim of our government’s obsession with security and misguided ideas about what is proper for the Mall.

Greg Viggiano of Alexandria is a model-boating enthusiast. He’s into model submarines, too, remote-controlled craft that can actually submerge. He said as recently as 18 months ago that the club he’s active in would hold regattas at the reflecting pool near the Capitol. Then control over that area was transferred from the National Park Service to the Architect of the Capitol’s office. Now they can’t get a permit for boating events there.

Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers wrote back to Greg that after review, the Capitol Police Board decided not to grant an exception to a rule that prohibits any objects “guided by means of . . . remote control.”

I suspect they’re worried about an attack employing explosives-laden model planes — and someone was convicted of plotting to do that — but it’s a shame we won’t get to see more of those lovely photographs of triangles of sailcloth in front of the Capitol Dome.

What about the Reflecting Pool by the Lincoln Memorial? No, that’s off limits, too. The Reflecting Pool, the Park Service’s Carol Johnson said, is “culturally significant. It’s meant to have a mirror quality. Radio-controlled boats would alter that.”

That leaves the lake at Constitution Gardens as the only place where boats are allowed. Greg said it’s not a preferred location, since parking near there is tough and enthusiasts have to lug their gear a greater distance.

Greg was hoping his congressional representatives might be able to help, but as issues go, model boating doesn’t seem to excite politicians.

Still, Greg is persevering. He said he has been talking informally with legislators in Northern Virginia, trying to interest them in the idea of allowing model boat sailing on the North Pond in the new Potomac Yard development area.

“The idea seemed to be well received,” Greg said.

I hope so. New York City has a dedicated area for model boaters: the Model Boat Basin in Central Park. Hyde Park in London also has a pond for model boats. It would be nice if some part of the Washington area was similarly equipped.

Greg sails all manner of craft, from a submarine that looks like Captain Nemo’s Nautilus to a 30-inch sailboat that looks like an America's Cup yacht

“It’s such a pleasure to sail,” Greg said. “When you have it way out there a few hundred feet out and you have good bit of wind, it’s almost like flying a kite without a string.”

Flying a kite? That sounds dangerous. How long before the Kite Festival is canceled?
Nov 29, 2012, 11:00 PM
made of fire and pop rocks
bgnome's Avatar
Thanks Herrmill

and it is a shame
Nov 30, 2012, 09:26 AM
Registered User
disabled's Avatar

I agree!

Originally Posted by bgnome
Thanks Herrmill

and it is a shame

Poor United States of America!

You have been the free-est nation on this planet once.

Now it seems as if your fear has chained you down to the ground.

No rc-model boats allowed because of "security reasons" - pah!
How insane and paranoid is that???

To me it looks like you have to start to fight for your freedom all over again.
Just like George Washington had to back then - against the Brits...

This is where we usually sail our rc-models in Vienna:

This is the flood prevention channel called "New Danube" right besides the old Danube river which was built about 30 years ago. It goes right through Vienna.

About 160-200m wide, about 16 km or 10 miles long.
6 minutes with the subway U1 away from the center of Vienna - actually 4 stations - the St.Stevens dome in the first district.
And about 15 minutes by bicycle - or 5 minutes with a car - away from where I stay - 3rd district.

On the first picture of the new danube you can see a little port - or a small bay - where a ship is anchored right outside of it. That´s our place. ( just right of the "o" of Neue Donau).

If you want to see more, go to:
This is the Vienna City Beach Club.
Just click through the blue buttons to see the fotos.

And image 11 of 15 is the ship itself - an old 32 m/105ft. long Danube river barge - which was changed into a houseboat, a restaurant with 120 seats, bar and so forth. In February to April 1996 the owner, myself and two labourers built that main wooden construction on top of the old steel hull. Yes, only four man including me did that within three months. The wood work was of course mainly my job, as well as the sheeting of the roof. In the same summer it was opened for the first time.

Some more pics of the ship itself can be seen here:
Also of the inside of the ship. I´m especially proud of the wooden framework of the roof - and especially of the semicircular stern, as this has been planned and done by me alone.
Last edited by disabled; Nov 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM.

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