Which sailboat to get you started in RC sailing - MODS PLEASE STICKY THIS - RC Groups
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Apr 21, 2016, 05:37 PM
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Which sailboat to get you started in RC sailing - MODS PLEASE STICKY THIS


Which Sailboat To Get You Started In RC Sailing

I want to try this RC sailing thing, but there's so many boat types available, and I don't know where to get started. It seems that I can get a sailboat for $99, but some cost several thousand. With many options in between. Help me out, I don't know where to start.

There are so many ways to answer this question. However, the first and foremost answer is usually this:
Find the local club in your area. Find out what they sail. Get one of those.

This answer is commonly given in this forum. Some will say that it's because you have equal boats to race with. But it's not just about racing - the owners of that boat will know what kind of issues are common (all boats have issues) and how to address them. Sailors who have a fleet of existing boat will always be welcoming and encouraging toward new sailors and will always help out getting started.

But I don't want to race.

No problem. Show up with your boat. Ask questions. Watch the racing that happens. During races, pull it out of the water or sail it on the other side of the dock so you don't interfere.

In my experience, clubs exist because of racing. Sailing aimlessly around is relaxing and fun, but gets a bit tiresome after a short while. Racing is what keeps clubs going, fleets building and ultimately grows the sport of radio sailing. Does this mean you HAVE to race? Of course not. These are just my observations. Watch the racing, learn from it, keep an open mind. That is all.

Where do I find out about local clubs?

USA: American Model Yachting Association
Canada: Canadian Radio Yachting Association
Australia: Australian Radio Yachting Association
A list of other national bodies can be found with this handy tool.

That's great, but there's no local club. What boat should I get?

There's two kinds of boat classes:
a. one design
b. box rule

So what's a one design?

A one design class is generally built by a single manufacturer. There are many of these kinds of boats. Most come in a kit form and require some assembly. Some have known defects that need to be addressed before initial splashing. There's a thread here that summarizes most of the kits available: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=767639

The kit thread was initiated in 2007 and a few new boats have arrived since then. Most notably, the Dragon Force 65.

If you ask on the internet what kind of boat to get (please don't, that's what this thread is for) many people will simply yell at you DF65! There's a reason for this. It's one of the best sailing and most complete little boats available for a reasonable price (sub $200 USD). Although manufactured by a Chinese toy factory (like many are) this boat actually had real sailors/designers deeply involved in the process from day one. It's been hugely successful (over 9000 worldwide in just a few years) and it's difficult to recommend any other boat to a beginner who has no local club, or who wants to start a local club.

More recently, it's larger brother Dragon Flite 95 has been launched. Current price is around $400 USD.

Although highly recommended by many, there are plenty of other options. Again, most important is to find out what others are sailing locally.

Ok I get that, so what's a box rule?

A box rule works differently. One or more people sit down and write a ruleset, creating the opportunity for anybody to build one or for manufacturers to get involved and build to the rule set. There are several of these including:

Internationally Recognized Box Rule Classes:
- International One Meter (IOM)
- 10 Rater
- Marblehead
- International A Class

I'll discuss the IOM, because it's the most popular RC sailing class in the world right now, and has the highest level and most organized competition. And because that's what I sail :-)

The prescription for the IOM was to generate a rule set that allowed anyone to build a competitive boat in their basement or garage, while keeping costs reasonable. It was initiated in the late 80s.

Boat has a max length of 1 meter. Max draft of 420 mm. Min displacement of 4 kg, but the keel/bulb combination can weigh no more than 2.5 kg.

Sail plans for #1, #2 and #3 rigs are pretty much pre determined, but there is some allowances for different sail material and construction methods.

Spars must be wood or aluminum.

Fins may be carbon fibre, but hull must be wood or fiberglass.

There's a lot more to it, but that's the fundamentals. Hull shape is, for the most part, open to the designers creativity. This has produced some radically different ideas for boats, and the development is still ongoing. Some of the development concepts have found their way into the Marblehead and 10R classes, and I suspect into full size boats as well.

Buying a manufactured box rule boat is quite likely more expensive than a one design. In the IOM class, the Britpop has been the go-to boat of choice for many people for the past 3 or 4 years. A brand new one, everything all included will set you back somewhere in the range of $3k to $4k USD, depending on options.

That said, if your local club sails IOMs and you don't want to fork out that kind of cash, good used ones can be had sometimes for a few hundred bucks, and certainly for under $1k, and the local fleet can probably help you locate one. While maybe not quite as fast as the newest ones, the speed difference while you are learning won't be noticeable, and any IOM will serve you well for at least the first year of learning. And if you are feeling adventurous, you can always build your own. Try the Brad Gibson Alternative for a modern design you can build at home. Or if you are a bit more adventurous still, design your own, build it, race with it and win the world championships. Or the local Sunday pond races.

Marbleheads and 10 Raters are bigger, faster and more carbon-fibery than IOMs, so they're pretty much going to be more expensive. Small pockets of these exist, but they aren't as ubiquitous as the IOM.

The RG65 is a smaller box-rule class, although not one of the 4 internationally recognized classes. It is quite popular in parts of the world. This class allows for carbon fiber hull construction. So the top level manufactured RG65s tend to be similarly priced to IOMs. BUT.... remember that Dragon Force 65 that I mentioned earlier? It actually meets the RG65 ruleset, and although not considered by some to be as competitive as a full carbon fiber RG65, it has fared pretty well when raced in the same fleet. And just imagine the fun of sailing your $175 boat and beating those fancy $2k-$3k all inclusive carbon RG65s. It happens, and it's not a rarity.

I heard multihulls are fast, should I get one?

Simple answer: if you are a beginner, probably not. Multis are super cool, and can be really fast. They're also more difficult to sail. And unlike a keelboat with weight in the keel, they tend to tip over and end up up-side-down. So then you need a rowboat or canoe to get to your boat to stand it upright again. But don't forget about these things, because once you have some experience with RC sailboats you might want to find your way to a multi, or even a foiling multi. There's lots of info about RC multihull sailboats on this forum.

What about a sailboat with a motor and propeller to get back to the shore when there's no wind?

Don't. Just don't. There's no such thing as a well performing sailboat that also has a motor and a prop. And I've been sailing years, and I've never had trouble getting back to the dock. RC sailboats will move even in the lightest of light winds - as long as there is something. The one caveat is if you sail in a strong current you might want to arrange for a canoe or rowboat on standby, in case the wind shuts off. But this still doesn't allow you to buy a sailboat with a motor/prop. If you want one of those, you need to switch over to the motorboat section of this forum.

Thanks for all the info. Anything else to know?

Have fun, meet new people, learn to sail. RC sailboats are super fun and can be exciting or relaxing. I have made some of my best friends doing this. Hope you enjoy it too.
Last edited by Crunchy Frog; Jun 09, 2016 at 02:53 PM.
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Apr 21, 2016, 08:05 PM
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Good advice Crunchy. I don't want to appear to have a downer on IOMs because I like them as much as any other class. I want to address the issue of costs as these will scare newcomers off quicker than anything.

I'll discuss the IOM, because it's the most popular RC sailing class in the world right now, and has the highest level and most organized competition. And because that's what I sail.

The prescription for the IOM was to generate a rule set that allowed anyone to build a competitive boat in their basement or garage, while keeping costs reasonable.

This was an admirable aim.

Spars must be wood or aluminum.

Back in the 80's the cost of carbon fibre was a lot higher w.r.t. other mast materials and this helped keep overall costs to a reasonable level.

Fins may be carbon fibre, but hull must be wood or fiberglass.

Again a big cost factor in the 80's.

In the IOM class, the Britpop has been the go-to boat of choice ............ A brand new one, everything all included will set you back somewhere in the range of $3k to $4k USD, depending on options.

This is where, in my opinion, the wheels have fallen off of the IOM's philosophy. The restrictions on the use of carbon fibre is no longer relevant as a cost factor.

At $4,000 per meter the IOM does not represent an entry level boat. Sure you can pick up second hand ones for a few hundred dollars, but the same can be said of any class.

The cost of materials etc. for the IOM is less than $500. Where does the rest of the money go? I am not picking on the IOM in particular, the same can be said for any class.

Sailing should not be a contest of 'who can throw the most money into the water?'..


Apr 21, 2016, 08:22 PM
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Crunchy Frog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Smith
Good advice Crunchy. I don't want to appear to have a downer on IOMs because I like them as much as any other class. I want to address the issue of costs as these will scare newcomers off quicker than anything.

I'll discuss the IOM, because it's the most popular RC sailing class in the world right now, and has the highest level and most organized competition. And because that's what I sail.

The prescription for the IOM was to generate a rule set that allowed anyone to build a competitive boat in their basement or garage, while keeping costs reasonable.

This was an admirable aim.

Spars must be wood or aluminum.

Back in the 80's the cost of carbon fibre was a lot higher w.r.t. other mast materials and this helped keep overall costs to a reasonable level.

Fins may be carbon fibre, but hull must be wood or fiberglass.

Again a big cost factor in the 80's.

In the IOM class, the Britpop has been the go-to boat of choice ............ A brand new one, everything all included will set you back somewhere in the range of $3k to $4k USD, depending on options.

This is where, in my opinion, the wheels have fallen off of the IOM's philosophy. The restrictions on the use of carbon fibre is no longer relevant as a cost factor.

At $4,000 per meter the IOM does not represent an entry level boat. Sure you can pick up second hand ones for a few hundred dollars, but the same can be said of any class.

The cost of materials etc. for the IOM is less than $500. Where does the rest of the money go? I am not picking on the IOM in particular, the same can be said for any class.

Sailing should not be a contest of 'who can throw the most money into the water?'..


Terry,

I don't disagree with any of your comments. The IOM is a pay-to-play class, and especially if you want to play at the top level. Ultimately *any* development class that becomes popular will end up expensive, no matter how the rule-writers craft the rules. That the IOM has lasted for almost 30 years, and is still going strong, is a testament to those who created it. But no class lasts forever (Marblehead, anyone?) and inevitably it will become harder and harder for a basement-builder to compete. But not impossible.

On the flip side, a strict one-design class keeps the development from happening. But, they also generally marry the class to a manufacturer who could, at any time, stop support of the class, negating the availability of parts or even the entire boat. So both have their pros and cons.

However - I feel this discussion is more suited to the IOM thread. This thread is intended to paint a complete picture for new sailors and encourage them to get started in *any* class of radio sailing. So I'm going to make a request for you to edit your post: cut and paste your dialogue, and put it into the IOM thread. Then add something here that is supportive to newbie sailors. Once you have done that, I'll do the same with this post and we can keep this thread on topic. Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Crunchy Frog; Apr 21, 2016 at 09:04 PM.
Apr 21, 2016, 08:28 PM
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DLord's Avatar
Crunchy, do you think there should be some mention of RC multihulls?
Last edited by DLord; Apr 21, 2016 at 09:23 PM.
Apr 21, 2016, 08:54 PM
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Crunchy Frog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DLord
Crunchy, do you think there should be some mention of RC multihulls?
Good point. I'll add something.
Apr 21, 2016, 09:23 PM
DF65/No Excuses, Just Sailing!
Windward RC's Avatar
$600 for the DF95?

Widely available for about $400
Apr 21, 2016, 09:38 PM
Will fly for food
davidjensen's Avatar
The evolution of the modern day IOM is very much like my other RC hobby/sport. In the early 80's someone put a peg in the wing tip of a glider and the game was on. In the 90's a prominent MIT aeronautical engineer developed a wing airfoil specifically designed for the wide speed range these new gliders had. Everyone had to have one of these new wings or they would not be on the podium. 10 years ago another Aero Engineer developed a new set of wing foils and plan form and the whole cycle started again. In 2013 the Snipe DLG made its debut and once again if you weren't flying a Snipe the other guy would beat you because he did have a Snipe. Now in 2016 there are at least 6 highly competitive glider kits on the market with at least 6 more that are very very good. Sound familiar.

PS A new IOM can be had for as low as $2250 (yes I did it). I just purchased a new V9 hull ready for rigs and radio and I did not pay anywhere near what some of the previous estimates stated and since I build my own rigs and can use them between boats the costs can be shared.
Last edited by davidjensen; Apr 21, 2016 at 09:44 PM.
Apr 21, 2016, 09:44 PM
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Crunchy Frog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windward RC
$600 for the DF95?

Widely available for about $400
My bad. I was thinking in metric dollars.
Apr 22, 2016, 12:48 AM
Registered User
First, thanks for putting this together. A great and useful idea. A few further thoughts:

1. Although the initial cost of a race ready IOM may be high, the resale value of that boat can make it a real value. The BritPop hasn't changed in five years and can be resold pretty much for what you paid for it. Makes its annual ownership costs almost nothing.

2. The Dragon Force is talked about on this forum a lot, but there are a number of other high quality, successful boats out there. The R/C Laser for example is virtually unbreakable, was also designed by a very successful r/c sailor and has sold in excess of 30,000 boats worldwide. The CR914 was a boat initially designed and produced in Japan and is now manufactured and sold in the United States by another successful r/c sailor and builder. And there are a lot more viable choices out there.

3. If there is a local club in your area, please, at least go visit before you buy anything. Even if you decide not to sail what they do, listen to their advice. They likely have been doing it longer than you and their thoughts on other boats that are out there could be valuable. Simply showing up at their venue with a boat you choose on your own or with just input from the internet usually doesn't work out.

Oh, and on the Dragon Flite cost issue, I think you had it right the first time. Most people are buying the boat with two additional rigs which brings the cost up to at least $600.
Last edited by Tom Corbett; Apr 27, 2016 at 08:22 AM.
Apr 22, 2016, 01:40 AM
DF65/No Excuses, Just Sailing!
Windward RC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Corbett

Oh, and on the Dragon Flite cost issue, I think you had it right the first time. Most people are buying the boat with two additional rigs which brings the cost up to at least $600.
Hogwash,

That is simply not accurate, I know for a fact that isnt true...

A massive majority are buying it with one rig, and if you are just starting out ( like any other RC sailboat) thats all you need.

If you want to travel and race then you can buy more rigs certainly, but lets keep our perspective shall we Tom? Or are you trying to so one of your little inflation number games again, as youve done so many times in the past?
Apr 22, 2016, 06:12 AM
gp.
gp.
gp
gp.'s Avatar
Crunchy Frog fantastic idea could you pleased add this link to your first post for Aussie folk.
http://www.radiosailing.org.au/index.php

Would be greatly appreciated.
Have a great day
Apr 22, 2016, 05:52 PM
W Kuhns
BillKuhn's Avatar

My choice


If I had a bigger choice when I started sometime ago. It would have been a Seawind. Don't have to race it. They look nice 5he are pit together well so it seems and they are reasonable. Furthermore, if you decided you do want to race I do belive they do race these. My first boat was a one meter carbon fiber. Again some years ago like 15 or more. Carbon was in its infancy I believe. A guy advertised in the bargain news. He wanted 250.00 fir it with extra sails. They raced in Stratford ct. I bought it. It was a great boat. Fun fast and in any type water. The deck was monokote. Was extremely light. Then Koyosho came out with the Sea Wind I believe that's the name. I never bought one but always wanted too. Instead bought an EC 12. Glad I did. Love that boat. So for the money I would suggest that Koyosho. But I'm sure there are plenty others out there. Happy sailing with whatever it is you buy.
Apr 22, 2016, 05:55 PM
a.k.a. Bob Parks
The Seawind is not the best boat for higher wind conditions. Is is great up until 8-10 or so.

BP
Apr 23, 2016, 07:07 AM
gp.
gp.
gp
gp.'s Avatar
Thanks Crunchy
Have a great day
Apr 23, 2016, 08:05 AM
W Kuhns
BillKuhn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbp
The Seawind is not the best boat for higher wind conditions. Is is great up until 8-10 or so.

BP
true but a good first boat. No?? I think so. IMHO


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