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May 10, 2017, 08:41 AM
Ontario Canada
LeeWeatherhelm's Avatar
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Is Racing Model Boats Growing or Shrinking in Number of Participants?


was wondering what you'all think; is the hobby ( my wife calls it a sport :-) ) of racing model boats growing in numbers of participants or is it shrinking?
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May 10, 2017, 09:54 AM
Registered User
it ebbs and flows. right now there is a huge surge in the df 65/95 but Id venture to say the there has not been an increase in the number of actual skippers.

Some classes numbers have fallen in the last year or so.

Old folks die (sorry) and not many younger folks have the patience or skill to build boats, or the desire to learn the rules.

I honestly think that a more than a few classes in the AMYA should looked at and give consideration to taking away their class status. maybe they don't have NCR or regionals or locals, few boats...ect...
May 10, 2017, 10:15 AM
Registered User
Marcsmith might be correct in the STRICT SENSE of state / status on some classes and or rules ...

But ... those points being valid is not the only reason for the gathering to share and have FUN SAILING ...

The AMYA organization (or not organized) is not the only reason(s) to gather together ... example from YEARS AGO - was local school shops n fathers at home SHARED SKILLS as to using tools to BUILD SOMETHING they could be proud of - while LEARNING LIFE SKILLS (sadly those skills are now long lost on the KIDS of TODAY ... most of you may not know this - but school systems around America NO LONGER HAVE SHOP CLASSES teaching use of tools ... due to liability)

So ... where else will folks LEARN USE OF TOOLS and having FUN ??

My opinion ...
Strict rules are for those that LIKE THAT KIND OF "Strict (restricted) Fun" vs those that just like to build & enjoy THE FUN and even better WHEN SHARING TIME TOGETHER as cummunity / family.
May 10, 2017, 10:39 AM
Registered User
Just looking at membership numbers of various national rc sailing authorities, the number of active participants seems pretty much static, As others have pointed out, some classes have grown and others have declined but the in the end it pretty much evens out.

As to the question of "too many classes", it has been talked about for years and again nothing changes. In the US get twenty names to sign a paper and you have a class. What it has clearly done has fractured sailing with local clubs going their own ways and not having strong common, nationwide classes.
May 10, 2017, 10:48 AM
Registered User
Hmmm...Interesting question. From my experience, everything RC seems to be on the upswing. Credit the drone explosion for that....whether you like them or not. I am not a fan, personally.

As for RC sailing, from where I sit, I see nothing but expansion. More new sailors, as well as, sailors with more additional boats, and growing their fleets. In some different sizes.

Myself...an EC12, a Seawinds, an RG65 Affinity. Sold my Soling, to a new sailor. As I didn't need another 1 meter boat.

While I am not a fan of extremely restrictive one design classes, the DF65 and DF95, are to be credited with contributing to recent RC sailing growth, too. A great ARTS system at quite reasonable pricing. With wonderful dealer support, and parts supply, for a manufacturer that is committed to the sport...and seems in good solid financial stability.

Our local club will be instituting a new "run what you brung" local fun races. Racing them all together. Seawinds, Fairwinds, DF65, DF95, Solings, RG65's, A 36-600, etc. All ages and genders, too. Kids, Ladies, Old guys, etc. It's a real hoot, too. No handicaps, due to Yacht design or sailors experience. run em all together. Really interesting to see the varied results, that changes with weather conditions. It's all in fun. This in addition to our normal class racing...where we have as many as 15 in class participants.

And I have observed that racing tends to draw in spectators. Everybody loves the beauty of a sailboat in the wind. And to see many at once, just attracts attention. And when one finds they can get involved at a very reasonable cost...in some cases less than $150 complete and ready to go, you soon see them show up with a boat. Husbands and wives, Father and Sons, etc.
Last edited by Vulcaneer; May 10, 2017 at 10:56 AM.
May 10, 2017, 10:50 AM
Ontario Canada
LeeWeatherhelm's Avatar

thanks but ....


Hi Guys, was hoping this would not turn into a classes type discussion. Those have been thoroughly vetted here before.
But rather I'm trying to discuss if the racing participation is growing in numbers overall, My thoughts are that it is not.
Its probably holding steady in the number of model yachters that race; or perhaps declining slightly. Similar to other radio control groups eg - RC Glider compettion. That's what I think I see. I would imagine the governing bodies; the Canadian and American ones - would have actual numbers of paid up members and those numbers would show the up or down trend.

So what is happening in the 'community' to grow the numbers? How are we getting younger people involved?
One positive thing I think is the "build it (the boat) and they will (might) come" of the Dragon Force/Flite boats. Easy for new skippers to get racing quickly. Young people probably don't want to build kits anymore like the Soling for example I don't think. Almost ready to race out of the box is the way to go.
May 10, 2017, 11:24 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Corbett
Just looking at membership numbers of various national rc sailing authorities, the number of active participants seems pretty much static, As others have pointed out, some classes have grown and others have declined but the in the end it pretty much evens out.

As to the question of "too many classes", it has been talked about for years and again nothing changes. In the US get twenty names to sign a paper and you have a class. What it has clearly done has fractured sailing with local clubs going their own ways and not having strong common, nationwide classes.
On the question of too many classes...I don't see that as a problem. Take Solings for an example. A lot of clubs race them. Although, I think so many newer boats are overtaking the numbers of Solings. When a club loses enough of one class (like Solings) to hold races, they many times replace that class with another class. But a different club still retains substantial numbers to race that class. So whats the problem? The people that make the Soling kits seem to be in trouble. But even if they go away, there are enough out there, in the established base, they can go one for many years.

That being said, this is one of the problems I see with "One Design" classes. What happens when the approved manufacture goes away. The "One Design" dies. I there are a lot of boats in the market place, it can hang on for years. But eventually, they will go away.

The other thing I see, is the "One Design" class becomes very restrictive. And as such is controlled by the manufacturer. And such control manipulates the customer base, so the customer can ONLY buy parts made by the One Design manufacturer. Some may less restrictive one design classes may approve different suppliers. But lately I see that strict one design means...you can only buy your parts that are ONLY made by the manufacturer. And if you don't... you violate the "One Design" rule. Things like switches, servos, sails, masts, booms, rigging items, fittings. Not a specified dimension or design standard for the parts. Must be exactly and TRUELY OEM. Fortunately, not many consider this as much of an issue as I do, and that accounts for the resounding success of the DF65/95's.

I'll use Joysway as an example. Obviously the DF65/95 are strict one design. But Joysway does something different. They also sell RG65 development class boats too. And through different distributors. The Affinity is one. There is the Pirate, Posiden, Discovery. So they are doing well with the DF65's. But also offer similar boats that are RG65 and therefore less restrictive. But not intended to compete in the DF65 Class. However, the DF65 can race other Joysway boats and many others in the RG65 class. TRUELY GENIUS!!! For the Joysway RG65 boats, you can buy parts from Joysway. But also from a lot of other sources, and LHS's, without worry of breaking the one design rules.

OK....Now I am off my soapbox and looking for my flameproof suit.
Last edited by Vulcaneer; May 10, 2017 at 03:03 PM.
May 10, 2017, 12:43 PM
Registered User
It definitely ebbs and flows, in both classes and clubs. Members age out (either health/death/lost interest, etc), boats (classes) age out. Newer clubs, or clubs that have seen a huge growth spurt are usually sailing cheaper one design classes (df65, seawind, df95), and maybe an additional class . Shake the box means faster time on the water, and a lot less expensive than IOM, EC12, Santa Barbara, J boats etc. Consider it a gateway drug .....and they can usually be resold for a higher % of initial cost. The average passerby would be more apt to try sailing a sub $200 DF65 vs a $2000 EC12. And skippers of those cheaper boats are a lot less reluctant to let a stranger sail their boat.

Free time is also at a premium. It's hard when sailors have families that have medical issues, activities, sports, school, etc. Something has to give, and the majority of the time it will be the RC hobbies. That gets compounded when more than casual assembly is involved (especially on the initial setup and tune of a boat). Id love to travel to more events(EC12 in particular), but some home health issues keep me to within a couple hours of home at any given time.

I have no dog in the fight of what classes should be classes or not. Our club started with a mishmash of boats, some built, some bought new, some bought used. It was frustrating when we started "racing". Eventually we got suckered into the arms race of victorias, the one design of seawinds, and the tinkerer's dream of ec12s. Vics became a hard sell, when someone finds out that to be competitive in the class, you take that brand new boat, and use just the keel, hull, and rudder. For less money, you can have a Seawind or DF95/DF65, and have a better performing boat . Seawinds went through a rough patch after the factory was closed in Japan after the earthquake, but has rebounded. Parts are available, and there are still unbuilt kits floating around in their boxes. The differences between a kit built boat and a readyset arent really issues. It's a matter of perception and we've not been able to prove that one is better than the other (at least in our region).

While open/nonrestricted classes are neat to watch, I prefer one design or restricted one design class racing. It places the focus on boat setup, tuning, and skipper abilities/tactics, while still allowing individual personalizing of the boat, or building in reliability, etc. If you know that any class legal Seawind has a chance against any other class legal Seawind at any given event, it really makes you (at least me), want to figure out how those in front of me are in front of me. It gets even cooler when people swap transmitters and boats, and see if the standings stay the same or change. Then it rules out (or shows) boat problems, skipper problems, tuning, etc. It's that sharing of info that makes me proud to be part of the Seawind class. I'd rather have the back of the fleet moving up toward the front of the fleet, because those at the front are willing to share information. What's more exciting? 6 boats blasting to a finish within 2 or 3 boat lengths, or a horizon job/parade formation of boats scattered along the course? The guys I sail EC12's with have the same attitude of sharing most of their information (we cant give away ALL our secrets, right? ) Regardless, EC12 participation has declined in our region (moves, deaths, lost interest, unable to tote a 25 lb boat to the lake, etc) We are hoping that an influx of decent used boats being available will reinvigorate the class in the Carolinas
May 10, 2017, 02:31 PM
Registered User
New blood, you will have a hard time attracting young people and compete with team sports and video games. Sailing in light winds is boring, no adrenalin action! Tuning and the rules of sailing are hard, particularly to kids who don't want to do their homework. My teen age nephew is a case in point. I started vane sailing when I was 10 when could lift a 23 pound Marblehead out of the pond. That was 48 years ago and I have been racing sailboats ever since.

But back to the point. The only people who are drawn to the sport seem to be big boat sailors who, with family, can no longer sail big boats. "The hole in the water you through money in", ect. Perhaps they have young sons, like my father. Sons have to start young, before video games and computer challenges take over.

I got to spend weekends with my dad, sailing model boats, something to share with him. Video games and computers didn't exist then. Most of the top racers I know have similar stories, stayed with the sport, and changed it a little to boot. This is not every one's story, for sure, but I am talking about lifers. Being at the top of any sport becomes dull if no one pushes you. I've had a few really good competitors leave because it is not a challenge anymore. Others left because their sons quit. Still others left because they didn't see ever moving up in the fleet. You can try to be helpful but some guys just don't get it. Oh well. I guess what I'm trying to say is you can't tailor the sport for everyone, you can only be friendly and helpful and maybe they will bite.
May 10, 2017, 07:13 PM
Steve Landeau IOM USA 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeWeatherhelm
was wondering what you'all think; is the hobby ( my wife calls it a sport :-) ) of racing model boats growing in numbers of participants or is it shrinking?
It's a hobby while you're in the shop. It's a sport as soon as you start formally practicing for and racing regattas.
As true with many other sports that involve a transportation-type objects (cars, boats, planes, etc), you can do both...
drive for pleasure, and race, fly for pleasure, and race, sail for pleasure.... and race.

There are MANY little ponds, lakes, and clubs across our great nation that have fleets that casually race, and never go race with other people at different venues. They run with their own rules... etc.
I would categorize that as a hobby, past-time, etc....

Having quoted the top post , and browsed through the rest, my opinion is also that the active numbers are relatively consistent. The surge in DF one designs may show an increase if you look closely, as I know lots of "big boat" sailors that are die hard STRICT one design believers, and won't get involved in anything unless it's pure one design. This is pure speculation on my part, as I have not done any research. Just a hunch based on conversations I've had with the "big boat" gang.
May 10, 2017, 09:05 PM
The wind is free, go sailing!
Scratchy101's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeWeatherhelm
Hi Guys, was hoping this would not turn into a classes type discussion. Those have been thoroughly vetted here before.
But rather I'm trying to discuss if the racing participation is growing in numbers overall, My thoughts are that it is not.
Its probably holding steady in the number of model yachters that race; or perhaps declining slightly. Similar to other radio control groups eg - RC Glider compettion. That's what I think I see. I would imagine the governing bodies; the Canadian and American ones - would have actual numbers of paid up members and those numbers would show the up or down trend.

So what is happening in the 'community' to grow the numbers? How are we getting younger people involved?
One positive thing I think is the "build it (the boat) and they will (might) come" of the Dragon Force/Flite boats. Easy for new skippers to get racing quickly. Young people probably don't want to build kits anymore like the Soling for example I don't think. Almost ready to race out of the box is the way to go.
It depends on what is your definition of a "participant"?
I started with a Nirvana, then added a DF65, then a DF95 and finally an IOM.
The Nirvana is gone now, so I "participate" in 3 classes and therefore count myself a 3 participants.
In our region the numbers are increasing thanks to the low cost of the Dragon boats and a ready supply of locally built IOMs.
May 10, 2017, 09:34 PM
Registered User
I thought the initial question asked was one of fact, not opinion. Put another way--is the pie getting bigger or is the same pie just being divided up differently? My understanding of membership numbers show that the pie is basically staying the same size. Would be great to see numbers that say otherwise.
May 10, 2017, 11:58 PM
Registered User
thorsail's Avatar

class member numbers


LeeWeatherHelm
OK, here are some numbers, I pulled out a summer 2000 issue ( # 120) of Model Yachting and the latest issue # 187
from spring 2017.
Year 2000-----------------------------------------------------------2017
Soling..........................369 total owners---------------------------Soling.................776
M..................................322--------------------------------------------M..........................154
US1M.........................270--------------------------------------------US1M................202
EC-12.........................269-------------------------------------------EC-12..................377
Victoria.....................208--------------------------------------------Victoria.............286
Issue #120 listed those 5 boats as top five, so I just lined up with the 2017 numbers
there were 23 classes listed in 2000, 34 classes listed in 2017.
in 2017, the top five are Soling/EC-12/Vic/RG65/SeaWind.
again, this is owners, not amt. of boats.they only listed class owners back in 2000.
.
so in the fall issue # 169, in 2012 they listed boat numbers, along with owners-top 5
2012------------------------------------------------------------------2017
Soling.....................1101 boats-------------------------------------Soling...............1122
EC-12......................648----------------------------------------------EC-12................608
Vic.............................426----------------------------------------------Vic.......................368
US1M.....................335-----------------------------------------------US1M................312
M..............................259-----------------------------------------------M.........................242
.
Allan
May 11, 2017, 12:15 AM
Registered User
Do you happen to have the total AMYA membership from the three periods mentioned? Boat numbers can be deceptive since one member could have multiple boats in multiple classes....
May 11, 2017, 08:53 AM
Registered User
I think that the MYA membership has actually decreased slightly over the last few years.


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