R/C Sailboats

My main hobby other than photography is building and sailing radio-controlled sailboats. While much less expensive and generally less tiring than full-sized sailboats, these boats otherwise are exactly like their bigger brothers, and will quickly teach you about how to do it right, as well as how easy it is to screw up. Big boat sailors usually catch on to these little boats quickly, but also gain the quick realization that not actually being on the boat can be quite a handicap. It’s much more difficult to tell whether your boat is likely to collide with another, or to make it around the racing mark on the proper side, and so forth. Further, time scales roughly with boat size: these boats are ten times quicker than the full-sized ones.

It gets me out of the house for a couple of hours, twice a week, weather permitting.


Three Victoria-class rc sailboats about to cross through the leeward gate

Three Victoria-class rc sailboats about to cross the starting line. (click on photo to zoom)



The pond on Berry Creek in Sun City, where I do most of my sailing.

One characteristic of ponds where these little boats are sailed is that they are below ground level. And this causes eddies in the wind, which drift downwind for great distances (just like eddies in the water behind a canoe paddle, but there’s less friction so that the eddies last a lot longer). And that causes us little boat sailors all kinds of trouble. I love Berry Pond – a pretty setting, nice shade, nearby restrooms – but it’s absolutely the worst I’ve seen for crazy wind for little boat sailing.